A visit to Agnė Juodvalkytė’s studio in Waldemarstrasse, Berlin. Video and editing by Marijn Degenaar. Concept and direction by Monika Lipšic.
Agnė Juodvalkytė (b. Vilnius, 1987) is a visual artist currently living in Berlin and Vilnius. She graduated in (BA) Painting at the Vilnius Academy of Arts (2010) and studied Visual Arts and Cinematography in Spain at the Universidad de Castilla La Mancha (UCLM, Facultad de Bellas Artes de Cuenca) (2009). Her recent shows include Core at the project space Aesthetik 01 in Berlin; Settling Dust at Si:said Gallery (Klaipėda, Lithuania); Archipelago at Reinbeckhallen with Goldrausch Künstlerinnen 2018 (Berlin).
Agnė Juodvalkytė uses textiles as a framework to understand culture, history and technology. She works with different materials, such as clothes, textiles, natural pigments, graphite dust, fabrics made by her grandmother, plants, and incorporates various mediums. Often presented in an anthropomorphic way, her works breathe their past into the present, becoming multidimensional artifacts extending not only into the space but also into time.
What’s the role of a studio in your art and life? How much private is this space and this state of mind?
Agnė Juodvalkytė: Having a studio is essential to me. Without it I feel disoriented. My working process is very slow in a way, so I need my space all the time, everyday, even if just for a short moment. It is kind of a magic place. Sometimes it becomes a refuge where I disappear for two weeks, but then I also love to have guests over there. It is refreshing to have a change of routines and the studio is the place where I can do that.
I share my studio with other artists from Sweden, New York and France. We all have different ways of working but it kind of blends together into a good atmosphere.
In your work every detail resembles the whole. As if every moment in a painting similar to a drop of paint on the floor of the studio, is a part of the bigger canvas. It creates a feeling of a certain entity. It seems like you found your way of being and painting. When do you think this happened and how do you perceive it yourself?
AJ: I guess I am still trying to find this. On the other hand, it is true that there was a certain period of time when I had put a lot of hours and effort without really thinking about it, just trusting my feeling and slowly going forward through the process of working a lot. After I came to Berlin it took me few years to slowly find my ways of doing things.
You read a lot and visit many shows and events in Berlin. How did you decide to move here and how is this city affecting your creative routines? How do you feel part of the Berlin art space?
AJ: Berlin has so many artists who want to be seen and at the same time just to have fun. I came here in 2011 and it had changed so much since then. I am still learning to navigate the complicated art waters. I don‘t belong to any institutional place, which is a freedom and a hard work at the same time.
It is so easy to get lost in just being busy and not doing much of a creative work. So I am learning to take time and step back sometimes. Vilnius is a good place for me to reflect on what I did and what I want. I couldn’t really say, that I moved to Berlin because I also still live in Vilnius, I spend time being in Austria, in art residencies and moving around.
Being in Berlin gives a chance to work with people that I really admire. My two recent solo exhibitions happened in a project space called Aesthetik 01, run by Kristina Nagel, who is one of these people. Preparing exhibitions together with her was very organic and intuitive, which I really love a lot. Few years ago, in 2017, I had a great experience working with Gruppe Magazine (Fritz Schiffers, Nele Ruckelshausen, Tim Heyduck and Aaron Kalitzki). It is a wonderful project that connects and chronicles young creative underground in Berlin.
Community is important to me. It’s hard for any creative person without it, I think. When one feels heard and understood in their creative surrounding, things tend to have a different speed and energy.