Sunken Cities

Emilija Skarnulyte

HYBRID Box Ausstellung 2022/23
Foto: Sunken Cities 2021_still_courtesy-emilija-skarnulyte

HYBRID Box presents “Sunken Cities” (2021) by Lithuanian artist and filmmaker Emilija Škarnulytė.

Her videos and multimedia installations combine both documentary film and fiction. They reflect on the invisible relationships between the physical world and our social imagination – from the perception of geological time and its influence on our relationship to history, to the way violent conflicts inscribe themselves into the structure of the earth. 

The exhibition presents Sunken Cities as an immersive video-installation, in which the mythological figure of the siren, “representative of the magic and the mystery of quantum mechanics” (according to Roger Penrose) appears. In between nature and technology, human and non-humanoid creatures, the siren seems to return from the future in order to look at “the ruins of human activity seen from a distant future”, as Škarnulytė explains.

In her films of the last few years places often appear in which contemporary political issues are negotiated, fluctuating between human and non-human worlds and erasing the boundaries between geological, ecological and cosmic powers. She touches on fundamental problems of our historic period: climate change and the future of humankind. She confronts these with the filmic exploration of varied narratives, which at the same time remain open but merge with one other. The artist takes herself on a search for truth, showing us an anthology composed of different histories. 

Duration of the installation: 16.06. – 02.07., one hour before and after the events in the Festspielhaus.

Škarnulytė received an undergraduate degree from the Brera Academy of Art in Milan and holds a masters from the Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art.

She represented Lithuania at the XXII Triennale di Milano and was included in the Baltic Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture. With solo exhibitions at Tate Modern (2021), Kunsthaus Pasquart, Den Frie, National Gallery of Art in Vilnius, CAC and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, she has participated in group shows at Ballroom Marfa, Seoul Museum of Art, Kadist Foundation, and the First Riga Biennial. In 2022, Škarnulytė participated in the group exhibition Penumbra organized by Fondazione In Between Art Film on the occasion of the 59th Venice Biennale. Her numerous prizes include Future Generation Art Prize 2019, the National Lithuanian Art Prize for Young Artists (2016) and recently she is nominated for the Ars Fennica art award 2023. 

Her films are in the IFA, Kadist Foundation and Centre Pompidou collections and have been screened at the Serpentine Gallery, UK, Centre Pompidou, France, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York and in numerous film festivals including in Rotterdam, Busan, and Oberhausen. Most recently she concluded her tenures at Art Explora and Cite des Art, which occurred on the heels of another significant residency at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. She is a founder and currently co-directs Polar Film Lab, a collective for analogue film practice located in Tromsø, Norway and is a member of artist duo New Mineral Collective, recently commissioned for a new work by the First Toronto Biennial.

The exhibition is presented by PYLON and is sponsored by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony.  This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament.