“The Green Body”, an installation, 2022:
“To Water My Body”, 2022, an experimental film, 10.30 min
“Vote. Orchids”, 2022, series of b&w photographs
“Her”, 2022, an object (silk fabric)
“Inside Her”, 2022, an object (silk fabric, two ventilators)
In a subtle manner, this art project conceptualizes socio-political, ecological, and feminist issues through the theme of the garden. In her works, the storylines derive from literature, mythological stories, and history.
Her experimental film “To Water My Body” (2022) tells the story of a woman who attempted to ‘sublimate’ into the garden’s vegetation – one who does not need food, needs water. To become a plant. This film’s story is based on excerpts, slightly modified, from Han Kang‘s novel “The Vegetarian” (2007) and a Chinese legend about the tree Davidia involucrata featuring an extraordinary, unusual flowering. This tree was discovered by Irish plant hunter Augustine Henry in China in May 1888. This tree was brought to the British Isles and has become a popular tree, now planted in many parks and gardens. The tree’s branches are draped in thousands of white bracts that look like white doves. The name of the tree commemorates the story of Wang Zhaojun (ca. 52 – ca.15 B.C.), whom Emperor Yuan sent to the North as a political bride. She voluntarily decided to marry the king of a distant northern tribe and spend her life over a thousand miles away from her home and family because she wanted to give her country stability and peace. The Chinese legend explains that Wang Zhaojun, missing her family, sent home letters attached to doves. The doves, exhausted from their long journey, would land to rest on a particular tree outside her family’s home – a tree that was, from then on, always full of white doves.
Other works of the exhibition – photographs and a few objects – continue the theme of emancipation by employing another example of the plant-woman and the garden as a reflection of society. With these works, the artist reminds one of the most famous incidents for women’s suffrage that occurred at the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, United Kingdom in the early 20th century. Then several greenhouses were smashed, orchids uprooted, flower beds damaged, and the picturesque tea pavilion burned down. With this female activists’ vandalism, several suffragettes tried to draw attention to the fact that the gardens were male-dominated areas, representing mid-class wealth and patriarchal power. The role of women is treated here as secondary. Therefore, traditional gardens were not neutral spaces and women provoked a debate about the gender and social inequalities they perceived.
Inčiūraitė‘s works reveal multicultural layers that convey the issue of women’s emancipation, which is still present in many spheres of life to this day. This issue is raised through the artist’s subtle gaze, which questions the objectified and fetishized view of the female body. The artist rarely depicts the female figure, avoiding the tangibility of the subject in question and the voyeuristic gaze of the spectator. In the exhibition, the woman’s corporeality and identity are expressed through the voice-over and plant elements, thus linking the woman to the garden and through the garden to society.
Photographs by Evgenia Levin and Kristina Inčiūraitė