Lithuanian artists Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė took the Biennale—and Instagram—by storm with their indoor beach opera, Sun & Sea (Marina) (2019). Awarded the Golden Lion, the pavilion is a refreshing and magnetic meditation on climate change. Originally performed in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2017, the Venice iteration required a new libretto in English, and offered a rare live performance amid the video-heavy Biennale.
The artists previously collaborated on Have a Good Day! (2013), a musical commentary on capitalism told by cashiers at a supermarket. Together, their expertise spans art, music, film, and theater. Based in Vilnius, Barzdžiukaitė is a filmmaker and theater director who has recently worked on documentaries and operas, exploring the boundary between fact and fiction. Grainytė, the librettist of Sun & Sea (Marina), is a writer, poet, and playwright who has also recently developed site-specific performances and radio plays, delving into social issues, collective memory, and daily routines. And Lapelytė, who is based between London and Vilnius, has a performance-art practice through which she draws upon her background in sculpture and the violin.