The Realities of Occupation. Posters in Lithuania during World War I and World War II Giedrė Jankevičiūtė, Laima Laučkaitė-Surgailienė

The Realities of Occupation. Posters in Lithuania during World War I and World War II

Published: 2014

ISBN: 9789955796077

Number of pages: 228

Publisher: VŠĮ Vilniaus grafikos meno centras

This catalogue created by Giedrė Jankevičiūtė and Laima Laučkaitė is an exclusive publication. The research on cultural life and artistic expression during World War I and World War II is a very recent phenomenon. For a long time the countries occupied during those wars have been approached solely from the perspective of the political or military history. However, the time range – the recently commemorated 100th anniversary marking the start of WW I and 70th anniversary marking the end of WW II – has liberated our visual and reflective perception.

The catalogue of posters during the two world wars has breathed new life into the posters largely neglected until now. Initially, they were put up in the streets – threatening, cheering for a moment or just informing or warning – yet destined to end being dirty, torn or plastered with new posters over them. In the catalogue they become the subjects of a scientific research – the introductory texts and analytical comments feature them in the war time reality, relate to the strategies of propaganda, and add information on the analogous unpublished examples. A unique annex to the catalogue looks innovative – the stenograph of the discussion held at the exhibition.

The catalogue images may come as a surprise: triumphant solders of WW I featuring the apotheosis of German expansion, instructions for the “locals” written in the contemptuous tone, the portraits of Hitler during WW II, anti-Semitic texts, and next to them come warnings about parasites and elegant announcements about art exhibitions, concerts… Such the combination may be shocking but it represents truly eloquent evidence that violence, oppression and poverty become the only dimensions of human being under no circumstances.

Giedrė Jankevičiūtė

Prof. Dr. Giedrė Jankevičiūtė is a chief researcher at the Art History and Visual Culture Department of the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute and lectures at the Vilnius Academy of Art. Her current field of interests lies in the artistic culture of occupied countries. She has been studying this topic with in-depth focus on the Lithuanian realities in the mid-twentieth century. Her research results are published in the form of academic articles and exhibitions, also she gives presentations at conferences.

Her monographs include “Art and State: Art and Artistic Life in the Lithuanian Republic, 1918-1940” (2003), “The Graphic Arts in Lithuania 1918-1940” (2008). She edited the catalogues “Under the Red Star: Lithuanian Art in 1940-1941” (2011) and “The Realities of Occupation: Posters in Lithuania during World War I and World War II” (2014, with Laima Laučkaitė). She organized an international conference “Art and Artistic Life during Two World Wars” (Vilnius, 2011, with Laima Laučkaitė) and built up a collection of articles of the same title on the basis of her presentations (2012, with Laima Laučkaitė). Currently she is writing a monograph on the Lithuanian art and artistic culture from 1939 to 1944 and compiling a book on the art historian Mikalojus Vorobjovas (Nikolai Worobiow, 1903-1954) who was active in Lithuania in the mid-twentieth century.

Laima Laučkaitė-Surgailienė

Dr. Laima Laučkaitė-Surgailienė is a senior researcher of Art History and Visual Culture Department of Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, actualy she is the head of this department. Her field of academic interest is the art of the early 20th century. She is an author of the books Art in Vilnius 1900-1915 (2002 in Lithuanian, 2008 in English); Expressionist Rider Marianne Werefkin (2007, in Lithuanian), Rafael Chwoles: the search for Jerusalem (2012) and others. Since 2011 she is making the research on the art of World War I in Vilnius, was one of the editors of Art and Artistic Life during the Two World Wars: Dailės istorijos studijos, vol. 5 (2012, with Giedrė Jankevičiūtė, in English,) and published articles on German art of World War I in Vilnius. With Giedrė Jankevičiūtė she curated the exhibition “The Realities of Occupation. Posters in Lithuania during World War I and World War II” in Vilnius in 2014 and edited its catalogue.


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