Emilija Škarnulytė (b. Vilnius, Lithuania 1987) is an artist and filmmaker.
Working between documentary and the imaginary, Škarnulytė makes films and immersive installations exploring deep time and invisible structures, from the cosmic and geologic to the ecological and political. Her blind grandmother gently touches the weathered statue of a Soviet dictator. Neutrino detectors and particular colliders measure the cosmos with otherworldly architecture. Post-human species swim through submarine tunnels above the Arctic Circle and crawl through tectonic fault lines in the Middle Eastern desert.
Winner of the 2019 Future Generation Art Prize, Škarnulytė 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 (2021), Den Frie (2021), National Gallery of Art in Vilnius (2021), CAC (2015) and Kunstlerhaus Bethanien (2017), 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 the Kino der Kunst Project Award, Munich (2017); Spare Bank Foundation DNB Artist Award (2017), and the National Lithuanian Art Prize for Young Artists (2016)), and she was nominated as the candidate for the Ars Fennica art award 2023. She received an undergraduate degree from the Brera Academy of Art in Milan and holds a masters from the Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art.
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.
Æqualia, 2023. 4K, 5.1 sound, 9’.
Emilija Škarnulytė presents Æqualia (2023), an immersive installation that swims through the churning waters of the Amazon Basin. A post-human chimera (part pink river dolphin, part mermaid) glides along with dolphins through the six kilometers where the Amazon confluences the Rio Solimões and Rio Negro – one milky white, turbid with suspended silts and clays from the High Andes, and one murky black, heavy with the decays of lowland rainforests. Their endless swirl is a fractal—describable, but infinitely complex and ultimately impossible to replicate. Mirrored onto the reflective ceiling, these visions of the Amazon by Škarnulytė blur the boundary between reality and myth.
Written and directed by: Emilija Škarnulytė
Producer: Emilija Škarnulytė
Editor: Vytautas Tinteris
Architect: Linas Lapinskas
Composers: Jokūbas Čižikas, Vivian Caccuri, Thiago Lanis, Savio de Queiroz
Sound mixing and mastering: Savio De Queiroz
Drone Pilot: Bruno Hayden Barreto
Underwater camera: Michael Dantas
Swimmer: Emilija Škarnulytė
Production: Mirror Matter Productions