2023 05 25

The most intense part of the international theatre festival “TheATRIUM”, the Lithuanian theatre showcase, started not only with the reception of guests from abroad and two performances but also with an impressive performative performance by the artist, jeweller Neringa Poškutė-Jukumienė on the balcony of the theatre.

The magnificent balcony on the facade of the theatre, overlooking the square of the same name, in the city’s memory, is usually referred to as the place from which A. Hitler, who visited Klaipėda in 1939, gave a speech to citizens. According to N. Poškutė-Jukumienė, even if this place is marked with an indelible stain, it is not a reason to ignore it; on the contrary, the balcony and its trail of associations arouse a strong, artistic impulse to inscribe new meanings in it. The artist appeared on the famous balcony on the evening of the first festival day, surrounded by thick, wind-blown smoke. The figure of N. Poškutė-Jukumienė, dressed in a headdress reminiscent of the Pope’s mitre, evoked the feeling of a conclave in Theatre Square – after a secret meeting of cardinals voting, the election of a new pope is usually announced precisely by white smoke for the community of believers, waiting in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. On the balcony, N. Poškutė-Jukumienė will appear two more times – on May 26 at 7 p.m. and June 17 at 6 p.m.

“Why the figure of the Pope?” In my work, this is a recognized and much-criticized character. The question of why a woman cannot be the Pope, and all the scandals surrounding the church institution, for me, that is all related to the theme of this year’s festival, „The Light Side of Darkness. “Religion is ritual flashes of light. However, there is much darkness and wounds in that light: constant scandals about sexual abuse, power, “fakes”, etc. It includes many aspects of cultural and social politics, which means all related with us as well,” said the artist about faith, which has become one of the key accents of the “Brilliant Green Wine” project presented in the theatre. She emphasized that even if she uses religious symbols loaded with deep meanings in her work, she never mocks faith itself, “I am a believer, but my faith does not conflict with what I do; I never mock social or political processes – I interpret them ironically.”

Invited to join the theatre festival, N. Poškutė-Jukumienė chose to focus on two accents: brilliant green and faith. The artist has settled installations in the foyer of the ground and first floor of the theatre, which will be visible throughout the festival. On the ground floor, theatre visitors will find the Pope’s throne, surrounded by strelitzia leaves, and on the first – a circle of memes, a kind of today’s inclusions, “for the installations and performance, I have chosen spaces where, in a sense, the transitive action of time takes place, the most sacred moments in which everyone gets involved, crosses the line at their own will, and exits marked. Visual ritual roles involve and expose the viewer”, said N. Poškutė-Jukumienė. “The theatre always inspires, and there are such situations when a phrase spoken on stage can turn into a visual project; in the theatre, I feed not even on images but on its content itself, and it leads to further references from which my work is finally born”, the artist named how she feels the inspiring and transformative effect of the theatre.

The colour of this year’s festival is greenish, so both the motto of “TheATRIUM” and the colour tone responded to what is recently very alive in N. Poškutė-Jukumienė’s work. “I wish to expand the boundaries of jewellery art in Lithuania; several years ago, I started to be interested in brilliant green in my work. When you have chicken pox, you decorate your whole body with it. It is a kind of body art, so I started painting jewellery with this material, and it does not harm the skin, which some precious metals can do. On the other hand, brilliant green can also be used as a weapon – a means of attack; in the countries of the Eastern Bloc there is still a scornful tactic of attacking another (democratic) opinion by pouring it with a preparation of brilliant green.
People who believe in Light are attacked and marked, but in this case, it is not wrong to be marked – the marked ones are the ones who carry Light. During my performative events, I will mark grey cardinals”, concluded the artist.

For the third year already, the organizers of “TheATRIUM” include representatives of non-performing arts in the festival – this is another way to open the broadest and most diverse horizon of inspiration and ideas to festival visitors and guests.