NORTHERN LITHUANIA

Joniskis, Lithuania, 2015-2016

Time forgotten in the notebooks – Jūratė Jarulytė’s Northern Lithuania 

by Kristina Budrytė-Genevičė

In brief: In 2015 artist Jūratė Jarulytė was developing a very personal, an almost autobiographical project Lithuanian North. The personal feeling of the project disintegrated in several layers – it is a geographical, emotional and an artistic experience.

According to Jūratė Jarulytė, “the objective was to explore the identity of the native region, to understand the relationship between the past, present and future through the personal and my generation’s prism, geographical location and rich context.”

In this case, art project includes the people (who have nothing to do with art) living in the selected areas and the special objects of those locations (Soviet bed covers, beds, old window frames left in the premises of old houses; as well as green trees nearby, maybe even too leafy, abandoned untrimmed fruit trees), which could immediately remind of the twenty-something year history with their memories or being.

The community of this project, whatever it is, raises the most questions – whether it is a former school class scattered around the world or the surrounding neighbors. It is possible that now, during the project, a new community is emerging, which is yet difficult to grasp over the memories; hard to define as a socio-political or cultural entity, or maybe it is again only a beautiful vision. Jūratė has been analyzing the concept of community through her works for a long time, as well as by publicizing the old notes.

In Jūratė’s project community sharply contrasts with nature. The first is multi-layered, not easily exhaustible, (un) consciously secretive (who would want to remember and publicize the unadorned childhood and youth?) and even impossible to depict, but it is provided with a voice and writing (conversations, e-mails) as if it would be the title of a created culture, the main character, author or director.

The second one – nature – is homogenous here, layer-less and smooth like the region of Northern plains. It can be a flat plain, a simple opening emptiness without any living forms or a thriving nut foliage covering the horizon in green. But its (nature’s) simplicity and audacity overshadows not only the horizon, it also covers the objects that do not come from “nature.”

It is not a coincidence that the author of the project begins to show her exhibition in her native territory, according to Jūratė, “in the place where I was born and spent most years of my life.” Where the color and form of the walls and the photographed image and the image outside the window would overlap; where the visitors would not only recognize their places, but would also hear the fragments of their stories through headphones. The exhibition will travel in a trajectory of Northern Lithuanian towns and later on it will reach the city of Kaunas.