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.
Radvila Palace Museum of Art, Vilnius, Lithuania
2022 02 10 – 2024 02 10
Emilija Škarnulytė’s solo exhibition Chambers of Radiance is centred on one of the artist’s most famous works, t ½, which won the 2019 Future Generation Art Prize of the Kyiv Centre for Contemporary Art. Exploring posthumanist mythology, the impressively large audiovisual installation draws attention to issues of the nature-human interface, climate change and nuclear energy – topics that are particularly relevant today.
The work t ½ is a fictional visual meditation on contemporary science from an archaeological future perspective. Reflecting on Škarnulytė’s work, cultural researcher Alison Sperling asks: “What would an alien archaeologist tell about our history if confronted with the atomic and technological ruins of the 21st century?” The exhibition invites us to experience the world through the futuristic lens of such an alien archaeologist. Part of the piece was shot in Lithuania, at the decommissioned Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, and part in the canals of nuclear submarines in the Arctic Circle. The video also captures the Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory in Japan and the particle accelerator at CERN in Switzerland. The installation is complemented by two works, Future Fossil I and Future Fossil II, featuring computer-graphic images of the over-the-horizon radar Duga and the neutrino observatory Super-Kamiokande.