KUBAPARIS ATELIER Göksu Kunak
Milda Lembertaitė and Anna Ruth
The joint exhibition Incantations by Lithuanian artist Milda Lembertaitė and Czech artist Anna Ruth interweaves contemporary and historical mythologies, animism and technology in a thick surreal narrative. Tree branches blinking with fake eyelashes and flower blossoms transformed into snake-charming musical instruments – in this mixed reality, bodies have no definitive form and can unfold, merge or disappear right before our eyes. Milda Lembertaitė’s hybrid sculptures are like protagonists with their own character and unique stories to tell. The trees and branches that form the basis of these sculptures were found and collected by the artist in the urban suburbs of London, where these trees absorb car pollution, cleanse toxins, and heal. By combining these found organic formations with synthetic materials, gluing false eyelashes on their surfaces or attaching prosthetic limbs, the artist blurs the boundaries between the living and the inert, the natural and the artificial. Is it us looking at the tree, or is the tree that observes us? A fragment of obsidian stone, integrated into almost every sculpture, is like an organic precursor of the shimmering contemporary technological screen, a reflection of and a portal to all of our modern desires. The canvases of Anna Ruth combine desires, nature and mythologies, placing them in a dreamlike reality. The mythological logic is incredibly capacious, so expect no hierarchy here: flowers, whether sticky or flimsy, are no less a character than a shepherd covered in sheep’s wool or a woman with a head of a bird of prey. These characters, emerging like visions against abstract timeless backgrounds, are ephemeral and sinuous, slipping out of all attempts to grasp them with the instruments of rationality. The two artists, using different media and modes of expression, are united by the search for a relationship with today’s world through self-created rituals, taming reality and making sense of it through their works as if those were incantations. Milda Lembertaitė grew up in Klaipėda (Lithuania) and is currently based in London (UK). The artist’s work operates between sculptural and digital video art, eco-activism and Dadaist performance, investigating our relationship with nature, technology and history. Milda explores what we can learn about ourselves through the non-human, with a focus on materiality and collaboration. Milda Lembertaitė holds an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and a BA in Performance Design and Practice from Central Saint Martin’s (both in London). Selected exhibitions and residencies include: Swiss Performance Art Award (Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland, 2022), Primeval (Unit 1 Gallery, London, 2023), Amada Verde (Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, 2021), VOLUMES (Kunsthalle, Zurich, 2019), Can You Feel It? (Last Tango, Zurich, 2019), Beep (DANCE4, Nottingham, 2019), Swiss Art Awards (Halle 4, Art Basel, 2019), RA Lates: Transcendence (Royal Academy, London, 2019), The Day Of The Dead (British Library, London, 2019), Hamza - Exodus To The Underground (Salon 61, ABA, Berlin, 2019), LABVERDE (The Amazon, Brazil, 2018), I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream (Fondazione Baruchello, Rome, 2017), Perímetro: Cine Expandido (Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico City, 2016), Che c’è di nuovo? (MASI, Lugano, 2016), and Artists-in-Residence/Schools Workshops (TATE Modern and TATE Britain, London, 2016), among others. Anna Ruth is a recent graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where she studied under the supervision of Jiří Petrboek and Martin Gerboc in the Drawing Studio. Anna Ruth’s work bears the hallmarks of what can be described as contemporary neo-romanticism. It has long been defined by her personal mythology, which is eclectically composed of fragments of different cultures. She freely combines real historical events with myths. In her work, we can thus see a reflection of how human society evolves and how it tries to understand its own existence. The environments of the paintings and installations combine a certain timelessness with a strong emphasis on nature, balancing between figuration and abstraction. Her work is characterised by large formats, light glaze painting, earthy colours, and fluid transitions between painting and sound. Her recent solo projects have been presented in Pragovka or in the Brno-based artist-run space Zaazrak Dornych. This year she is also participating in the SWAB fair in Barcelona and the Turkish Contemporary Istanbul. Exhibition design by Monika Janulevičiūtė Copy editing and translation by Alexandra Bondarev The exhibition is partially supported by Vilnius City Municipality.