Neringa Poškutė-Jukumienė. Prussian Blue
9 September 2022 – 16 April 2023
Neringa Poškutė-Jukumienė occupies a unique position in contemporary Lithuanian jewellery: she refuses to concentrate on creating objects for the body, let alone jewellery, focusing instead on the process itself. For her, jewellery is an ever-changing research programme, where the most important is her artistic curiosity and social engagement. Her work is impossible without the viewer, who, instead of a passive observer, is required to be an active participant. The viewer is provoked to follow the trajectories set by the artist, matching in their head the fragments of her installation to their body. Moreover, it is most desirable for viewers to become a part of the installation, as is the case in the work presented.
Neringa Poškutė-Jukumienė’s latest jewellery installation, titled Prussian Blue, tells about the intersection of modernity and history, about the discrepancy between illusions and reality, about politics and sacredness. Prussian blue is a colour born by accident when the Swiss pigment and dye producer Johann Jacob Diesbach, working in Berlin at the start of the 18th century, tried to create cochineal extract. The reaction between blood (it is believed that Diesbach used potash tainted with blood), potash and iron sulfate produced ferrous ferrocyanide, which has a distinct blue hue. This first synthetic pigment was named Prussian blue or Berlin blue. The name has since inspired poets and writers and is still considered to be romantic, although there is nothing romantic about it. Interestingly, many feel disappointed when they see the Prussian blue colour in real life. Poškutė-Jukumienė uses various shades of Prussian blue enamel and epoxy resin to cover the rhombi which is the core element in her installation. It can be said that the artist sees the world through the shape of a rhombus. This is because its shape lends itself well to many various purposes: a yellow-black barrier band is divided into rhombi; it symbolises a diamond and a woman’s womb; it is used in traffic signalling. It is like a modulus the shape of which can be used to express many things. In this instance, the chapel of the Amber Museum turns into one large rhombus, in which, inside a sacred circle, a mosaic made of rhombi is repeated in various ways. The mosaics, previously used in churches, here represent a captured modernity, as a deeper look at images inside the rhombi under the enamel and epoxy resin reveals memes and other insertions from the everyday. Memes, which are visual snippets of our modernity, designed to express a laconic comment or comical/ironic reflection of what is happening right now, have a very short lifespan: one moment, everyone uses and shares them, but there is a chance that a few months later, nobody would understand them anymore. Nonetheless, these symbols of communication retain fragments of information that floods society at one time or another. Poškutė-Jukumienė transfers memes into jewellery rhombi, later turning the rhombi into a part of the installation and encouraging the viewer to recognise what at one moment in time was relevant but later lost its meaning. Those rhombi of Prussian blue come to act like a sort of time capsule. And isn’t amber just such a time capsule? Don’t we attach special value to blue – the rarest – amber, which in reality isn’t blue at all? Doesn’t the colour blue gives a kind of romantic glow to the “Blue Planet” which contains layers of amber inside it and which actually is just another shade of grey? We tend to fill our environment with illusions and get disappointed when faced with reality.
Neringa Poškutė-Jukumienė aims to dispel illusions and pull the viewer out of stagnation – and not only by provoking them to participate in her installation. On the one hand, she restores the sanctity of the chapel; on the other, she takes on the role of the Pope, destroying stagnant religious beliefs. The unacceptable is often precisely what deserves to become an object of art – of uncomfortable, loud, critical, ironic art. Eventually, not only the female Pope becomes a meme but also all of us, walking within the large rhombus of the installation. Just like flies trapped in a piece of blue amber. And, in a sense, we are bound to stay in it forever.
Curator Jurgita Ludavičienė
Coordinator Regina Makauskienė
Architect Vladas Balsys
Designer Lina Bastienė
Project is financed by Lithuanian Council for Culture
Media sponsor LRT
Sponsor Furniture Centre „Šilas“
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