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      Laura Stasiulytė

BOUQUET, FOR H. CH. ANDERSEN, framed photograph, 62 x 42 cm, pigment print on photopaper, wooden frame, museum glass

It is thought that Hans Christian Andersen’s melancholic tale The Butterfly was inspired by the blooming flowers he observed along the promenade from Montreux to Chillon during his stay at a pension to treat his tuberculosis. In this partly autobiographical fairy tale, a butterfly flutters from one blossom to another in search of the perfect bride. The butterfly’s journey begins in spring with the first emerging snowdrops, and ends with mint, who hints of winter’s impending frost and their inescapable death. Despite this, the butterfly remains alone as he finds fault with all and fails to remain with a single flower.

The artist follows the butterfly’s ill-fated trajectory and selects the flower-brides mentioned in the text. Some of them die quickly whereas others wither away slowly, scattered in space and time petal by petal. The flora mentioned in the tale can never meet as some flowers perish while others are still sprouting. This challenge cannot be overcome even by the contemporary floral industry, so the artist uses photography to collect all of the flowers into an impossible bouquet.

Each photograph depicts a flower with a particular story. One was grown with the help of a biologist who created a synthetic environment that simulated the seasons to awaken the flower unnaturally; others were frozen to prolong their lives; some were absent and their images were bought from stock photography databases; a few were grown by the artist herself; and the remainder were purchased from a flower shop. As the artist was working with the butterfly’s bride-flowers, she realised that all of them were either white or that their most popular colour was white. The bouquet is thus intended for a bride.

The photograph resembles an old still life, where one is able to move around timelessly as though walking through a flower-laden path across all seasons. The journey begins in early spring and concludes in winter. The arrangement of flowers is a purely aesthetic act – it is creativity from its inception to its end – a parallel that suggest that this bouquet is appropriate for both the occasion of a wedding and a funeral.

GOOD HOPE, work in progress

This is a work that talks about different ways of experiencing and participating in the spaces of a city, about the encounters between consciousness and the city, about spatial configurations that resist being entered into or forbid being exited from, and about the algorithm dictated by these urban spaces. It investigates how the former order is being overdrawn by a multitude of constantly shifting cartographies. The work functions as a moving holographic multiplicity of layers which connects all of the lines from the different epochs of the city – the choreographies of changing times meet on the urban map. An architect’s utopian dream to (re)construct a city into a perfect circle in 1930’s is drawn over by hectic looping tracks of a vehicle. Those are all the possible exits from the Geroji Viltis (lit. Good Hope) roundabout in Vilnius that lead to the outskirts of town. These lines are scribed – as though lost in time – by endlessly driving around the dusk city in a 90’s limo, collecting artefacts and stories from and around the roundabout’s dystopian turns. The latter intersect with the artist’s personal experience of commuting through the transit space daily. Here it is linked to the contemporary teens’ first experiences of going out to the city, which are expanded by the internet, smart technologies and virtuality. People in the city have become knots in an enormous net, since today they themselves are creating new forms of how the space is experienced. 

UNTITLED (extract), projection, text on an  black & white film, loop

This is a follow-up of the artist’s work “Once upon a Time". In this work she appropriated one part of a sentence from the list of impoverished debtors living in Juodkrante

(a small distant town on the Curonian Spit, isolated by water), which was published in 1614 and discovered by the artist at the Liudvikas Reza Culture Centre’s historical exposition in Juodkrante. The list contains the names of Juodkrante’s residents and the way their lives had ended. Laura has chosen the extract common to a number of the names on the list, which states the circumstances of the deaths of the residents at the time. Generally, it states: “… and died in [the year of Death] in poverty”, as if it is a statistical average of everything on the long list.One of the inspirations to do this work has been her recollection of traveling to Kaliningrad for the first time and seeing Kant’s grave, which has been stuck in her memory ever since. She’s written the appropriated extract in the font of Kant’s memorial plaque.The word “extract” has several meanings in Lithuanian – it can signify a part of a longer text or a large hole in ice through which a net is taken out of the water. It is a motionless and silent movie – 24 frames change each other in a second, yet the content stays the same.

ONCE UPON A TIME, sound project, 15 hummed songs played outside, loop 

At the core of this work is the concept of a story itself. The artist is interested in how any narrative or fairy tale starts. The very first words in every story are: Once upon a time... The essence of a human being’s existence and fragility is hidden in these words. Moreover, songs accompany a person all his/her life since the mother‘s lullabies to the funeral laments. The artist is interested in nonverbal language, intonation or humming in various aspects. For humans, as for many social animals, silence can be a sign of danger, and that’s why gentle humming and musical sounds tend to relax them. The work consists of an audio record with 15 songs hummed by one performer and played outside in low volume. The visitors can listen to the sound of someone's tranquil humming mixed with the natural sounds of nature. The songs have been collected during conversations with various invited persons who narrated stories from their lives – the personal and professional lives of these people are closely related to being at the sea. At the end of the conversations the artist asked each and every story teller if he/she had his/her own beloved song, song of the lifetime, and if he/she could possibly sing it, hum it? Surprisingly, the story tellers’ most beloved songs usually had a strong connection to the story that they were telling.

THE BOTTOM  (part I),  2 channel video installation, 2 x 4:3 digitalized 8 mm b/w film, 21 min, sound,  loop