Retro 8: 3rd Artist‘s Book Triennial Vilnius 2003


Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius

Retro 8: 3rd International Artist‘s Book Triennial Vilnius 2003

Theme: 23 Sins


Time & Location:
15 May – 15 June 2003, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania;
16 May 2003, Conference in the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius;
5–10 May 2004, Frankfurt Art Fair, Germany;
15 August – 10 September 2004, Thomas Manas House, Nida, Lithuania;
19 September – 10 October 2004, Gallery “Gravicel”, Lilly, France.

Preparation of the 3rd Artist’s Book Triennial in Vilnius

In 2003 the 3rd Artist’s Book Triennial took place in the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius. It was the second time (and the last time…) when artist’s books were exhibited in the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius. 262 artists from 44 countries have sent over 1000 artist’s books. 118 works from 37 countries where selected for the exhibition by the jury. Twenty artists from Europe, Australia and America arrived on the opening of the Artist‘s Book Triennial. Artist’s book conference and a few days trip in Lithuania were organized for the artists from abroad.

Opening of the 3rd International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2003

In May 2004 the 3rd Artist‘s Book Triennial was presented in the “Frankfurt Art Fair” in Germany. In October the 3rd Triennial was exhibited in Lilly, France. The “3rd International Artist‘s Book Triennial Vilnius 2003” was part of the project “Lilly – European Capital of Culture”.

The theme of the 3rd Artist‘s Book Triennial was “23 Sins”. I have got many questions from the artists who wanted to participate, like – “…can I participate in the exhibition if I‘m not a believer?”, “…what do these 23 sins means?” or “…I know only seven, eight or eleven sins…” Maybe it would be possible to relate number 23 with the year 2003 if we just erased two zeros between 2 and 3…

But everything is much easier: 23 sins is only one of the apt provocations.


The apt provocation is testified by the texts of two artists in the exhibition catalogue. The first text by Rimvydas is entitled – “Occurrence”: “Once upon a time there lived an artist and a book. They liked to make 23 sins a day. Finally they got married and became an Artist‘s Book. While the 23 sins have moved to another apartment, because their nerves couldn’t keep up any more.”

The second text by Rasa – “The text is so so. It is about a sin which needs to be condemned the most.”: “Being half asleep Aushra has marked a page of a boring book with a piece of sausage. Tomorrow (again before falling asleep) she will pull it out again from under the pile of dead roses. What a disaster. According to me such disrespect to a nibbled love romance is truly unforgivable. Not only the ones who are not taking care of the appearance of a book, but also the ones who are not paying any attention to the book shelves are making a very big sin. All serious libraries are taking care of the publishing of beautiful postcards. In these you can CLEARLY see that the arrangement of the books is not a plunge of a bear in the North, but a very important and deserving a big kiss thing. A fight for beauty on the book shelf is sacred.”

Photos made with analogue photo camera

Kestutis Vasiliunas
curator of the Triennial

© Circle “Bokartas”, Kestutis Vasiliunas