Jurga Barilaitė Lithuanian, b. 1972

Jurga Barilaitė (b. 1972, Lithuania) is one of the best-known Lithuanian painters, interdisciplinary and performance artists. After obtaining her BA in Painting Studies at the Vilnius Academy of Arts in 1996, Barilaitė became actively involved in creating interdisciplinary works and projects, including videos (which she herself describes as “moving pictures”), installations, visual projections and performances. 

The artist’s early work is characterised by a neo-expressionist style and special sensitivity, an emphasis on self-reflection and monumentality. She has also explored a critical view on painterly media and the possibilities of its expansion into other forms. Barilaitė’s current work shows an on-going influence of pictorial thinking and the contextualisation of painting problems. Drawing inspiration from the so-called “action” painting style, she applies unconventional materials and techniques as well as performativity, highlighting elements of movement, the act of performance and bodily participation.

A personal, intimate, “tactile” relationship with the work is highly important in Barilaitė’s work, as well as the semantics she creates with the help of her own body and its actions. The ideas and imagery which form the basis of her work originate from the artist’s immediate environment: childhood memories and adolescent rebellion, motherhood and nomadic experiences are combined with the history of art, pop culture, and a feminist approach. The artist employs striking elements of shock and irony which she combines with the deconstruction of artistic action, highlighting repetition and evoking a sense of closedness, shamanism and ritualism. Her works are permeated with emotional diversity: sentimentality and sensitivity entwine with anger and aggression, Barilaitė’s reflections of her inner states contrast with her public image and fragments of her social life.

Jurga Barilaitė has been organising solo exhibitions and actively participating in group shows both in Lithuania and abroad since 1995. Her works are included in the collections of Lithuania’s National Gallery of Art, MO Museum in Vilnius and some private collections in Lithuania as well as other countries.