Parallel Vienna 2015 // Artist Gedvile Bunikyte On How Art Can Ignite The Desire To Reconnect
01 oct 2015 by Myrto Katsimicha
On the occasion of Parallel Vienna 2015 Gedvile Bunikyte was invited to exhibit a site-specific large scale work. 'Zero Point Field' is a 10 meter long drawing made out of myriads zeros.
We talked to Gedvile about symbolism, spirituality and the inner space that opens up through her body of work.
MK: What is the significance of the shapes and colours you use in your drawings?
GB: It is symbolic, a language that I can communicate with you from my inner world to your inner world. The compositions are semi-automatic released as much as possible from the confines of the logical and practical mind, but at the same time engaged with full awareness and intelligence. Today, we need more emphasis on symbolic communication. This is the language of the spirit, creativity, intuition, inspiration and inner knowing – it’s direct. Symbols create a matrix that is far more elastic and multi-dimensional than is perceived by the conscious mind, they convey the complete message. The symbolic world allows us to go deeper within ourself and within life. It is a bridge to the mystery of what it means to be a human being, to our divine nature.
Physical/Non Physical II, 2013, paper, ink, acrylic paint, pen, pencil, 42 x 29.7 cm, courtesy of the artist.
MK: Your drawings convey a universal space characterised by a certain clarity and rhythm beyond mere representation. How does your work relate to Malevich and Suprematism?
GB: Malevich and Suprematism have been a tremendous influence on me. Not so much is written and even less is being talked in depth about it, especially in the West. A little more now perhaps with the recent retrospective at the Tate Modern. I was pleased to see that, and also Agnes Martin's retrospective, wonderful; These are the artists that were perceived as problematic to talk about. The difficulty arises because the vocabulary that is being used is of the physical realm, material manifestations and aesthetic nuances. Malevich was talking about the non-physical, the soul and the sacred and that is a territory of a mystic. This is a different kind of knowledge that needs different terminology, where I find that often art discourse tries to stay away from.
An encounter with this work for me was a gateway to freedom. It opened the doors to the understanding of the meaning of what art is. It was a proportionally large piece in my personal puzzle of what kind of artist I wanted to be. Everything in art, literature, music, all that which was pointing to this direction has influenced me, gave me courage to persevere. I am not following any particular proposition or idea, be it artistic or philosophical. Ultimately, I am doing my own thing, finding my own way, my truth.
Compass, 2014, paper, ink, acrylic paint, pencil, 40 x 29.5 cm, image courtesy of the artist.
MK: What is your connection with time and space?
GB: I had a strong connection to my own inner space and my own understanding of time-space reality as far as I can remember. Some popular perceptions were at first confusing and later on amusing, because I had a strong inner knowing that it is not true! For example, I’ve never seen time as linear or space as a physical dimension only. I had my own feelings and ideas about it and I was looking for ways to talk about it, explore it. Our culture systematically tries to eradicate this connection to personal time and inner space and disconnect one from truth and knowledge. These barriers create discomfort, anxiety in many cases, because what is said to be true does not match the inner truth and it makes you question your sanity or even worse lose a sense of the meaning of life. This artificial friction is very powerful, drains a lot of energy and gives a feeling of disorientation. So, to recall this connection is of paramount importance. Art can ignite the desire to reconnect.
MK: What is your intention when drawing?
GB: My intention is to make work that is active and activating. To find ways of working so it is not for the sake of my own or public’s ego, but to work from pure inspiration. I set my intentions not as a visual sketch but as an energetical sketch. Many spiritual traditions point out that the outer world always reflects changes that take place in the inner dimension, so I always ask myself what is the change that I want to see. For me, art has a sacred role in our society. My work is simple, sooner or later it points at the space. What’s there and how far you are prepared to go is up to you.
MK: Tell us about your new drawing exhibited at Parallel Vienna. What were the challenges of going large-scale?
GB: It is called 'Zero Point Field', a 10 meter work on paper made out of myriads of zeros'. Some technical challenges occured, as I was making it during the hottest months of the summer in Vienna. I had to make sure I don’t sweat on it by wrapping most of my body in tissue! Apart from that no challenges really, the same just bigger, large scale takes what people call ‘a long time’, some may see it as a challenge, long hours of complete concentration. In fact, it took me double as long because some spillage came about on the first work, but such is life you start again.
Zero Point Field, 2015, photo credit: Mato Johannik.