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“Chambers of Radiance” by Emilija Škarnulytė
9 February 2020 - 1 May 2020

The PinchukArtCentre (Kyiv, Ukraine) presents the solo exhibition “Chambers of Radiance” by Emilija Škarnulytė (Lithuania), the Main Prize Winner of the fifth Future Generation Art Prize. It includes a large-scale video and two lightbox photographs specially produced for the PinchukArtCentre. 

An immersive cinematic environment, “Chambers of Radiance” is a meditation on the ruins of humanity as seen from a distant future. A snake crawls through nuclear reactors into a burial chamber. Deep-sea mining companies trawl the ocean floor amid coccolithophore plankton sinking to the bottom, carrying carbon with it. Jellyfish dance through the dark waters. A mirrored black liquid ceiling reflects our actions back to us. A future beyond reckoning drifts into view, where our advanced technology has become wreckage at the bottom of the ocean. In a theatre resembling an Etruscan tomb, we witness it all caught in a cycle of eternal return from life to death to rebirth. 

In “Chambers of Radiance”, Škarnulytė dreams through post-human mythologies imagined through the modes and materials of contemporary science. Sunk into the sea and beyond into underworlds, Škarnulytė dives into deep time, from the cosmic and geologic to the ecological and political, showing us secret places and the otherwise invisible structures that hide there.

Björn Geldhof, curator of the exhibition and artistic director of the PinchukArtCentre: In her first solo exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre Škarnulytė expands her medium through the use of a monumental screen as an architectural structure combined with her signature mirrored walls and ceilings. The artist creates the effect of complete immersion in which one witnesses the world that is to come. In the work, Škarnulytė tackles the controversial issue of deep-sea mining, an up-and-coming industry that risks causing an irreversible loss of biodiversity in our oceans. Her poetic compilation of filmed, 3D constructed or acquired visual materials offers a non-linear narrative of intuitive writing while provoking associations far beyond the images themselves. It is in this play of unspoken interrelations that a dystopian future reveals itself. Škarnulytė proposes a world much like the Chernobyl exclusion zone, where human activity has ceased and nature has taken over. Or as Škarnulytė expresses it: “the ruins of human activity seen from a distant future”.

Emilija Škarnulytė received the Main Prize of the fifth Future Generation Art Prize for her work “t1⁄2”, which stemmed from deep and extensive research, which she translated in a coherent and confident way. Her art was presented as a part of “The Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice 2019” exhibition - an official Collateral Event of the 58th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia organised by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and the PinchukArtCentre.