Emilija Škarnulytė is a nomadic visual 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. 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). 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 at IFA, Kadist Foundation and Centre Pompidou collections and have been screened at the Serpentine Gallery, UK, the Centre Pompidou, France and in numerous film festivals including in Rotterdam, Busan, and Oberhausen. 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.
Film / 15 min, looped / 2021
Eternal Return meditates on the ruins and possibilities of humanity as seen across the infinite expanse of time. Set 10,000 years in the future, looking into the past (our present), the artist dives into deep time, from the cosmic and geological, to the ecological and political. The artist based the work on mapping technologies, such as sonar, remote sensing and seafloor scanning, and set out to explore structures in the depths of the sea. Dressed as a mermaid, the artist freedives in an attempt to measure space and time, using her own body as a scale.
The film was presented for the first time as a four-channel installation in the Tate Modern’s South Tank to mark COP26 (the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference taking place in Glasgow).