Rising star Gedvile Bunikyte, also known by her art alias Grace B, is a philosophical thinker. Her work has already caught the eye of British fashion designer Paul Smith who adorned the walls of his Mayfair store with her canvases (some of these are also up for sale, for those keen to snap up her swirling patterns and ethereal geometric fortresses). Lithuanian-born, Goldsmith University graduate Bunikyte now lives in a loft-style apartment in Vienna. She has exhibited in London alongside Jake and Dinos Chapman, Jessica Albarn and Damien Hirst. Can art be like meditation? Here she discusses.
Art can be like yoga
Of course yoga is yoga and art is art. But if we look at the etymological meaning of the word yoga, which from Sanskrit can be translated as union or to join, and in terms of a system that facilitates tranquility and promotes transformation, you could say that art is also a system that is powerful to the same effect.
Unity and transformation – that is what art is to me
Of course art can be many different things to different people. But right now, I believe, the true function of art is healing and transformation. That is what is most needed right now.
I try to notice how things make me feel
I focus on the things and feelings that I find pleasing. We are all influenced by everything around us at all times whether we are aware of it or not. Our senses are constantly exposed to information, whatever it is – colour, sound, smell, taste, touch, all of if affects us. Every form and every colour, every sound, every thought and every emotion shapes our reality. I have particular sensitivity to all of the above.
Different colours make me feel differently.
Very often I even choose my meals by colour. There will be certain days that I will be more interested in a particularly coloured fruit or vegetable. So one day I will be interested in green and then on a different day I will want something orange or red or maybe I will be looking for a certain combination.
These are strong primary colours and they are very important to me. The most I can say is that I use them because they represent the themes that I am interested in right now. I won’t go into a more detailed explanation about any cultural meanings and semantics. The spectator’s mind does not need to understand it to experience the work, so I will leave it open for you. But I can say that those colours are for a reason and it is important that they are there.
I have clear memories of how I was feeling when I was a child
I remember that I thought it was strange that people were treating me as a child, because I never felt like one. I understood that my body is of a child, but my perception was not of this body and I was aware of it. This caused a lot of discomfort. I felt trapped in several spaces and realities at the same time. So the need to somehow deal and explore this concept of space, the relationship between the micro-cosmos, macro-cosmos and multi-dimensional reality is something that was present as long as I can remember. At the start of my artistic practice I explored this using my body through performance and dance, and later through the language or shapes and forms on paper, which I continue to work with now.
My work is my language, my ritual and my prayer
In her book 33 Artists in 3 Acts, author Sarah Thornton quotes artist Maurizio Cattelan, he said: “I don’t know what art does to those who look at it, but it surely saves the people who make it”. So to follow this line of thought, whatever my intention might be I can only speak about myself with any true authority. I know what it does for me, because that is my experience. It is a way to communicate, to express and to expand. It is a meditative, calming and healing experience. It makes me happy, stronger and more aware. I hope that by interacting with my work one can find space to experience some of this. Nevertheless, I am an artist and the discipline of art in itself is my priority, its effects and the discourse that might follow is really up to the viewer.
I use objects that I find around the house
I see these household objects around me everyday. I like the familiarity of the proportions. I like to physically feel the connectivity of it all. For example, right now, I am making this round shape using the lid from the jar of olives that on paper is becoming a black circle, which makes me think of the beauty of the planets and the magnificence and vastness of the universe. It is a ritual that helps me to remind myself that all is related and all is relative. Our earth can be described, as a large, diverse and beautiful planet spinning in perfect proximity to the sun, or a round object suspended in space, or a tiny blue dot. All of those statements are true. So all depends on your point of view and your proximity to it, whatever you look at, an olive, an olive jar or the universe.
I see all my work as fragments of each other
At the same time they are forming one ever-expanding larger work. Like cells if you like. You can look at one or if you put a few together they form a different organism, like a mosaic. My intention is always the same, I am interested in the core that is a constant and unchanged, even in the midst of movement and expansion. I like to look at the harmony in chaos, the infinite in the finite, find connectivity in contrast. That is what I like to remind myself of.
Art is a powerful tool that poses questions and gives answers
Other disciplines are limited and too confined by their own rules. Art can speak of truth, freedom, love, serenity, beauty, in an authentic way. Art has a power of transformation. And all of that is good for the mind. It is good for humanity.
For more information or to view art works for sale visit studiogedvilebunikyte.com
Photography by Helena Wimmer.