PLAY NO EXIT November 23 – December 08, 2016
at the “House of Nation”, Kaunas, Lithuania
‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor’ – Desmond Tutu
Discrimination against women is humiliating, is difficult to escape from and can lead to a permanent state of indignity. Mutual understanding between people is not always possible, because social and moral values are vague and unstrung. Therefore, this exhibition focuses on women and their experiences with inequality. What circumstances exist which give rise to these critical situations of indignity and negative consequences? Do emotional scars heal and disappear from memory? How does fear and shame manifest? What kind of existential abyss opens up? Are there possible solutions?
In this exhibition, the title „Play No Exit“ is a play on words which opens up possible scenarios for actions and solutions. Women who have been discriminated against do not receive community support when it is much needed and often ignore their own problems. Such a deadlock turns into a spectacle “No exit”: humiliation lives inside although it appears if nothing wrong has happened. How do we change the scenario of these stories, an unchosen, forced game, with life, injustice, and fight social stereotypes?
The authors of this exhibition look at women’s self-image, gender roles and images of today’s society. Their works provoke viewers to an open discussion about discrimination, violence, forms of abuse, about fears, tensions, as well as possible choices, freedom and independence.
Participating artists: Elena Balsiukaitė-Brazdžiūnienė, Greta Grendaitė, Jurgita Juodytė, Audronė Petrašiūnaitė, Auksė Petrulienė, Arūnė Ščiupokaitė, Marta Vosyliūtė, Eglė Zioma. The band “Bombo Feminista” will conduct an action “VooDoo” in solidarity of women during the exhibition opening.
Created by Jūratė Jarulytė.
Kūnas kaip subjektyvi patirtis: jo vientisumas ir pažeidžiamumas kūrybinėje praktikoje, “Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis” Nr. 80-81, 2016, 204-216p.
THE BODY AS SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE: BODILY INTEGRITY AND VULNERABILITY IN ART PRACTICE
Referring to Alain Badiou’s notion of subjective body I present my art projects, highlighting the importance of personal participation – being present in a particular place and taking its specific traits into account, and using synesthetic sensibility and body receptors to construct the meanings that allow for the experience of the world as a whole. I discuss two collaborative projects: a several months assistance work for traditional healer Mohammed Khasim (2009, Mysore, India), and collaboration with Haitian woman Rosé Marie Paul in her living environment, a so-called ‘ghetto’ (2011, Port-au-Prince, Haiti).
These activities demanded absolute and unconditional engagement and an open dialogue with the community. During the active engagement with reality an outward environment impacts on the inner self, which in turn searches for ways to manifest. The body is a certain supple mediator that absorbs the environment in order to operate upon it. The experience and meanings created through participation gain social importance, and to illustrate this I mention other examples of my collective work: regular meetings with a group of people with disabilities (2004– 2008, Bochum, Germany) and a project with a group of teenagers (2013, Kaunas, Lithuania).
My text on the body as subjective experience aims to highlight the vulnerability and fragility of the body (applying the ideas by Judith Butler and Paulo Freire), and to examine the body and life of the other through my own creative work.
While preparing this essay I found myself in the middle of polemics on gender equality that involved the Vilnius Academy of Arts. It brought out certain aspects of the vulnerability issue I was researching on and exposed endemic problems in higher education institutions in Lithuania, in particular concerning the behavior of the academic staff in relation to each other. At the end of my text I comment on this with the expectation to instigate a discussion on gender, equality, and how we can impact on these issues.
The Body as Subjective Experience: Bodily Integrity and Vulnerability in Art Practice
by Jūratė Jarulytė
Friday 22 May at 4:30pm at CAC Cinema
Being present in a particular place, taking its specific traits into account, using synesthetic sensibility and body receptors to construct meanings allow for the experience of the world as a whole. The body is a certain supple mediator that absorbs the environment in order to operate upon it. Jūratė Jarulytė’s collaborative art projects highlight the importance of personal participation: a several-months assistance work for a traditional healer Mohammed Khasim (2009, Mysore, India); a collaboration with Haitian woman Rosé Marie Paul in her living environment, so called “ghetto” (2011, Port-au-Prince, Haiti); meetings with a group of disabled (2004–2008, Bochum, Germany); a project with a group of teenagers (2013, Kaunas, Lithuania). In her talk the artist will show excerpts from videos on these transforming activities, which have demanded for absolute and unconditional engagement, and open dialogue with community.
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.
Jūratė Jarulytė: to Go and to Discover
Dovilė Stirbytė interviews the artist and traveler Jūratė Jarulytė on her creative projects, on migration and media, on people around the globe she met and on abandoned places she visited, and many other things.
“I think that to experience such confrontation is almost mandatory for everyone. After all, we are all in one way or another (news, photojournalism, etc..) involved in the global change, our views are constructed for us without asking, without giving us a choice. So the only reliable way is to go to a place and discover the reality for yourself.”
Constellations of the hyperreal in Jūratė Jarulytė’ painting
Inspired works of art draw multidirectional highways of associations toward other works, phenomena and states of mind, distilling reality’s incessant interconnectedness. Such works become sciagrams, detecting and revealing the core level of reality that shines through the cracks in the daily routine’s substance. Jūratė Jarulytė’ paintings, presented in the solo exhibition appropriately titled Still Life, are vivid example of such sciagrams that point to something more fundamental than they actually portray.
In Vladimir Nabokov’s literary poetics, seeing is a sacral act that uncovers the real view of reality, the Platonic world of pure ideas, not their delusive shadows. Seeing clearly liberated the subject from the twilight of camera obscura – the metaphor for a limited and distorted view of reality. Jūratė Jarulytė’ paintings embody expanded and intensified vision; they concentrate visible reality in a way that makes it hyperreal. Art historian Horst Bredekamp explains hyperrealism in terms of concentrating a fragment of reality to such density that the reproduction of reality effectively becomes “more than real”.
Jūratė Jarulytė concentrates the depicted fragments of reality by allowing the spectators to experience reality in the way that usually escapes their vision. Still forms rarely crystallize in reality – motion, constant flux of forms and their configurations is observed far more often. The eye follows endless transitions from one state to another; consciousness synthesises a form from these transitions, a form that it knows but does not literally see, thus creating an illusion that reality is experienced as stable and integral. Yet it is but a vague silhouette of reality that says little about its true features, since it is always fleeting. Every single instant, balancing on the border between two states in time, reality exists in an infinitely short stasis; that is indeed its primary state. When the eye sees reality in such an unfamiliar state of absolute rest (at the same time intuitively recognising this state as the most natural one), an intense experience of the hyperreal overwhelms the viewer.
The captured moment in the impressionist’s paintings is fragile, held together only by scattered reflections of sunlight, eager to dive into the stream of instants, from which it was torn off by the painter against its own will, again. It has stopped for a while, but it will move on the next second, since static state is not its natural one. Jūratė Jarulytė’ extracts of reality are monolithic, almost monumental in their timelessness. The painting titled Geometry evokes a sense of unbearable reality; the image of a dead bird, which time would eventually erase from memory, on canvas becomes a timeless fact, a riveting dark spot too real to be ignored. This and other newest paintings by the artist are materialised constellations of fundamental layers of reality, held together by inner ties. They are hyperlinks to some unknown and spanless absolute that, as in the philosophy of American transcendentalists Thoreau and Emerson, fills each cell of reality as a Pythagorean khora.
The exhibition’s title, Still Life, is more of a play on words than an indication of the painting genre. The intrigue embedded in this polysemantic combination of words fully unfolds when one reads the English and Lithuanian (the painter’s native language) versions of the eponymous piece, Still Life. The English art term, read verbatim, would suggest a form of life that is motionless yet “alive”, a reality without the time vector, even though it traditionally indicates the visual genres involving compositions of inanimate objects. In contrast, natiurmortas, the Lithuanian version of the same term, adapted from French nature morte, is unmercifully finite – it suggests dead nature. Linguistic theories that study the relationship between language and cognitive schemes state that this relationship works in both directions – not only do the thinking schemes form the language’s semantics, but the fundamental structures of a particular language itself influence the mechanisms of perceptions. In such case, it is not coincidental that the English term is selected for the whole exhibition; the painter portrays inanimate or dead objects as belonging to an infinite and unwavering reality.
Alessandro Baricco incorporates an analysis of Claude Monet’s last and oldest painting, Les Nympheas, in his City. In a way, this painting can also be considered hyperrealist: the canvas of an impressive size, exhibited in several pieces on broken planes, depicting an object that can look utterly banal at first sight – a pond with water lilies, induces the spectator with a sense of looking at the picture from a nonexistent point of view, or, more precisely, from multiple points at the same time. This expanded mode of seeing exposes a more complex (more fully real) reality than the regular human vision that is confined within a concrete point in space, conditioned and restrained by physical and optical laws. Jūratė Jarulytė manages to circumvent these laws as well. The geometry of seemingly randomly arranged objects in the painting titled Geometry is non-Euclidic; the “objective” and dissociated external viewer is suddenly enveloped in the surface of the canvas, becoming an associated participant of the silent reality of ideal forms. The constellation of still objects in the two-dimensional space unfolds into the three-dimensional space around the spectator, its magnifying glass-like hyperrealism inducting a sense of vertigo. Looking at the pieces of the triptych Still (Palanga) I-III, the viewers find themselves in a point of view where they cannot be – right above the still water, just as in Monet’s Les Nympheas. These insights possibly reveal Jūratė Jarulytė’ desire to see and portray an authentic reality that the human eye and consciousness do not know yet, but already intuit its existence.