Urte Janus, I Grew Up in A Hunted House
I Grew Up in A Hunted House
An exhibition exploring the relationship between trauma, body, and place.
72 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY
Opening evening, Thursday 14th July, 5pm – 9pm
The exhibition is open daily from midday to 8pm until Sunday 17th July.
Urte Janus works with sculpture, writing and video. After studying photography, she taught herself sculpture and video making. In this exhibition the artist investigates how living with trauma relates to the broader cultural and environmental contexts.
Born in 1990 in Lithuania, precisely at the time when the Soviet Union collapsed, Urte grew up in a fragile community where systems of care were not yet in place. The surrounding landscapes swallowed suburban ruins of the oppressive past, and those ruins became children's playgrounds.
Urte explains: "On the terrain was written a memory I could not yet explain as a child. It was distant, symbolic, lurking between the cracks of broken tiles and silent pauses between the words. It was not my memory. It was there before me, yet I was part of it, immersed in it, becoming it. I am interested in the aftershock of riotous history, in the aftermath of the trauma. I am exploring how this emotional upheaval travels between generations and how bodies and places can transmit it without the words."
In her sculptures, she blends raw elements such as gelatine, plaster, charcoal, ash, limestone, natural binders, rubble, concrete, and salvaged metals. Her creative practice is based on exploring the symbolic potential of materials, their properties and how they can manifest fragility, self-destruction, and self-healing.
She adds: "In my mind, I am revisiting my childhood sites, merging them with body parts that usually manifest signs of trauma. I am then creating a new landscape where past and present, body and place merge. I reflect on personal experiences where ordinary logic, time and place do not exist. The past and present are happening at the same time triggering strong somatic and emotional reactions."
As a child, we played in abandoned buildings that grownups considered haunted.
They would say: “Don’t you dare to enter!”
Houses are not haunted, but our bodies could be.
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