Stories of Things.
Lithuanian Design 1918–2018
National Gallery of Art, Vilnius
– 30 September 2018
To mark the centenary of Lithuania’s (first) independence, the exhibition “Stories of Things” showcases the country’s development of product design, focusing on the links between history, designers, and projects.
Lithuania’s complex economic and political circumstances during the 19th and 20th centuries initially made it difficult for the country’s characteristic design to develop. After declaring independence in 1918, the need for designers increased to create the country’s own currency, stamps, documents, and new uniforms. The national flag and its symbolism were also given a new lease of life. After Lithuania was occupied during the Second World War, the country then became part of the Soviet Union from 1945, where creative design had to give way to ideological, economic thinking. Having regained independence in 1990, Lithuania was once again able to drive forward product design and deal creatively with the country’s turbulent history.
The exhibition is divided into three segments. “Design and the State” presents Lithuania’s potential in the areas of economy and design, for which it is also famous abroad. The section “Design before Design” shows how today’s design and art production developed from the craftsmanship of the interwar period, and in the largest section of the exhibition, “Design Paradoxes”, visitors can view a multitude of past and current household appliances of Lithuanian design. Not only the object itself, but also its history is important. The entire process is discussed: from design, to production, through to naming.