Baltic Triennial (formerly known as Baltic Triennial of International Art) is one of the major contemporary festival exhibitions in Northern Europe. The exhibition was founded as The Baltic Triennial of Young Contemporary Art in Lithuania in 1979 while the country was under the occupation of the Soviet Union. Despite the totalitarian regime’s particular expectations invested in youth, the generation of young artists expressed a critical non-conformist spirit. After the restoration of independent Lithuania in 1990, the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) became its organiser and host, and the Triennial’s international aspect gradually expanded.
In 2002, the Triennial’s 8th edition “Centre of Attraction” curated by Tobias Berger was a powerful manoeuvre dedicated to placing Vilnius on the global map of biennials. Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Raimundas Malašauskas and Alexis Vaillant curated the following edition in 2005 under the premise of elusive and shadow economies; it was given multiple titles such as “BMW”, “Black Market Worlds” and “Ultimiere”, among others. “Urban Stories”, the 10th Triennial (CAC Director Kęstutis Kuizinas and Ann Demeester) focused on narratives inherent to the city of Vilnius.
The 11th edition of the Baltic Triennial of International Art in 2012 focused on performance and film. Countering the general tendency of biennials to be pluralist, all-encompassing multi-platforms, the curators (Benjamin Cook and Defne Ayas with Michael Portnoy and Ieva Misevičiūtė) chose to channel the contributions of artists through a radically minimised vessel – one human being. The Triennial was named after its medium, who in his own right carried one of the most common Lithuanian names, Mindaugas.