The Doubled Youth exhibition, which is currently being held at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, presents the work of Lithuanian artist Deimantas Narkevičius’ (born in Utena, 1964). Narkevičius bases his creative explorations on his own experiences as a witness of history who has lived through the times of communism and Lithuania’s transition to democracy.
However, the Green Bridge statues have divided opinion: although they do not fit within the current political milieu, over the years they have become an integral part of Vilnius’ landscape. Some see their removal as necessary and a form of completely freeing themselves from the communist past, while others do not perceive the sculptures to be particularly political at all. It seems that they have become an inseparable part of the Green Bridge — now that the sculptures have been removed, some describe the bridge as looking rather empty.
In the world of heritage practice, not everything that is old is considered heritage. Nevertheless, anything can become heritage if we define it so. Whether or not the Green Bridge sculptures should be regarded as heritage assets is a complicated question. In Lithuania, the Soviet buildings or architectural structures are not usually classed as heritage — they are neglected. There is no right or wrong answer to how we should treat the past and what we should value. In the case of this film, Narkevičius does not force a judgement about what should have been done to the statues, but rather opens up a discussion.
I believe it is fairly symbolic that the exhibition is titled Doubled Youth. It not only shows the socialist sculptures of the Green Bridge, reflecting on the time that has already passed, but also reminds us that a new generation is emerging with the film about young musicians. It is these dissimilar social and historical experiences of different generations that currently define Lithuania.