The gallery Kairė-dešinė started its activity in 1995. Its opening was symbolically marked by a joint exhibition of artists from the Graphic Art Department of the Lithuanian Artists’ Association – many of them were the founders of the Vilnius Graphic Art Centre (VGMC) and its gallery. Since its inception, the gallery has been an independent space for creating art. Both local artists and artists from abroad had their works exhibited here; they also conducted masterclasses, sharing their technological knowledge and experience. Over time, the exhibition space set up by the artists themselves has become a favourite venue for cultural events, and it remains such today.
The exhibition halls of the gallery occupy the first and second floors of the VGMC building. The premises also house the administration and a commercial area, where one can buy original graphic works or art publications. The gallery is the place where the bulk of the VGMC strategic programme is implemented: exhibitions of Lithuanian and overseas artists, meetings with artists and curators, book launch events, and educational activities.
In addition to solo shows by individual artists, the gallery holds a significant number of exhibitions related to the ongoing projects, which reflect the key directions of its art programme. One of them is a long-time project called Stories of Graphic Art. These exhibitions and publications rely on art research, presenting hitherto unexplored episodes of Lithuanian art history. The project unites art researchers of different ages and interests. Thanks to them, more than one memorable and valuable project, enabling the evaluation of the national cultural heritage, has been carried out.
Since 2006, the gallery has been running a cycle of drawing exhibitions, which gives an opportunity to investigate the less visible art archives of artists working in various fields. Highlighting the relevance of this art genre makes it possible to access and understand a broader and, often, a very personal domain of an artist’s creativity, to amplify the context of an artist’s work.
The gallery consistently implements the programme of disseminating artwork by young artists. This project aims to draw attention to the young generation of artists and the expanding range of contemporary graphic art, which encompasses traditional solutions of graphic art and its links with interdisciplinary field of art.
The VGMC gallery holds open-entry juried exhibitions: international triennials of small-form graphic art and triennials of book art. The purpose of these art contests is to overview the recent developments in print making and book illustrations, to present them to viewers in Lithuania and abroad.
The gallery collaborates with foreign art institutions and international events in organising exhibitions and implementing joint continuing projects with the international biennial Splitgraphic, Tallinn’s graphic triennial, the Władysław Strzemiński Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz and the Lodz City Gallery, with ENDEGRA (European Network for Development and Education in Graphic Art), with the National Institute of Graphic Art in Rome (Instituto Nazionale per la Grafica) and others.