Artist Ruta Butkute

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Ruta Butkute

Selection of Works





Pike Straddle Tuck

p__09 p__10-11 p__12 p__17 p__18 p__33 p__42-43

Building 403 & Tree 187

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p__26 p__41


p__30-31 p__40

R eview, Daniel de Roo


Towers of the Temporary, Maria Barnas


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â—€ Candle 2014

Video still, Project Space South, Rijksakademie Amsterdam p__07


Pike Straddle Tuck 2014

Sculpture installation detail Rijksakademie Open studios, Amsterdam



Pike Straddle Tuck 2014

Sculpture installation Mixed media, 600 x 700 x 170 cm Rijksakademie Open studios, Amsterdam p__11

Pike Straddle Tuck 2014


Video still, 1’00” Rijksakademie Open studios, Amsterdam





Pike Straddle Tuck 2014

Sculpture installation detail Rijksakademie Open studios, Amsterdam


Pike Straddle Tuck 2014

Sculpture installation Mixed media, 600 x 700 x 170 cm Rijksakademie Open studios, Amsterdam



Building 403 & Tree 187 2013

Video still, 3’59” Swing space residency, LMCC, Governors Island, New York


BUILDING 403 & TREE 187 Ruta Butkute’s video work Building 403 & Tree 187 was recorded at Governors island, New York in autumn 2012, during Swing artists residency by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. The video captured historical abandoned island building, numbered - 403, and the tree in the park numbered - 187. The video project she refers to her use of the medium as “sculptural video”, she is looking for physical forms and textures in the surroundings which are open for interaction and have possible transformative qualities. A sense of physicality and a continuous tension between architectural and natural forms are characteristic of these works. Butkute sees her videos as a research of the visual relation between functional and free (non-functional) form. Through often simple transformations of looking a sense of the poëtic language of space is revealed. Translating form into form, the work calls to mind Ranciere’s “poëtic labour of translation”. In his thoughts on learning Ranciere describes how one can learn an entire language by only knowing one poëm; “ By observing and comparing one thing with another, a sign with a fact, a sign with another sign.

p__21 p__23

Building 403 & Tree 187 2013

Video still, 3’59” Swing space residency, LMCC, Governors Island, New York



Monumental 2011

Video still, 3’07” CRIDA residency, Palma de Mallorca

Measure 2011

Video still, 1’41” Bijlmer Artist-In-Residence (BijlmAIR), CBK Zuidoost, Amsterdam



MEASURE The sculptures are based on archeological site research, the materials found from Bijlmer area (parks, streets, construction sites). The Sculptural pieces were installed in video Measure scenography. Bijlmer Artist-In-Residence (BijlmAIR), CBK Zuidoost, Amsterdam.



Heritage 2010

Sculptural installation Mixed media, wooden furniture, high fired clay forms, 720 x 610 x 210 cm end-exam Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam



Performativity, is the key word in Butkute’s works. If nothing else, every object that she appropriates or creates, assumes a specific role in her installation. Dancing around each other, occupying the whole length of the exhibition space, the objects ask to be identified, to be separated from each other. But on closer look, they for the most part don’t reveal their identity and remain anonymous, only to be categorized by very basic premises such as rubber, steel, stone, textile, weight, mass, texture. I don’t know whether it is the work by itself, or my own need for interpretation, but I am tempted with every gaze to search for meaning, subdivide and to trace the origins of these materials. The work invites me to this dance of hiding and seeking, while in the process a very physical, intuitive interaction is born. Strolling between the work, it’s difficult to find a place to pause, as each material shapes and conditions the next. Despite the heavy nature of most of these materials, such as ceramics and plaster, there is a lightness that characterizes her work. A form of play which that is very catching. Merely by their placement, these objects become suggestive, one can imagine various other setups in the given space, other materials could be added or subtracted, and ultimately the installation feels as if it has no beginning nor end. It is limitless. This is the true strength of Butkute’s art. Independently of whatever material she chooses to work with, she manages to transform my sense of these materials and to invite me to a very intuitive and open research of things, where I have nothing to rely on but my own physical senses.

Daniel de Roo

p__34 p__32






TOWERS OF THE TEMPORARY There was a paleness to her skin she had not noticed before. A hint of green and grey lay under her eyes, reminding her of a shallow lake on a cold day in spring. This was the first day of a new life, she told herself, as she often did these days. The hesitating morning light in the window confirmed the many possibilities that lay ahead. She could not bring herself to go outside. White plastic chairs were stacked up in her mind. She had read about them in the novel The Map and the Territory, by Michel Houellebecq. They were garden chairs, the ones you might buy as a temporary solution. The eventual chairs should be functional, she thought. They should offer a certain degree of comfort. They should represent her and what she stood for. Wondering what it was she actually stood for, she told herself that the chairs should last a lifetime - preferably even longer. As long as she had not taken a decision, she sat on a white plastic chair. If she lent her weight backwards, the chair bent with her, giving a strange sense of life and complacency to the object. She could not lean back fully or she would topple over. She and the chair had to work together, in order for her to remain in a seated position. Houellebecq described the chairs in a waiting room of a crematorium. Or was it a home for the elderly? She wasn’t quite sure. It was a space where


death was near. It could be argued that no comfortable chairs are needed in the face of death. It could be argued that the best possible seats should be offered when death is awaited. The chairs were stacked in rows, so high and so abundantly, that the spaces between the legs and the backs of the chairs began to form their own architecture. In these arched and crooked spaces she could only concentrate on the temporary - the product that is designed to be waste material, society with a vision that reaches just up to the next disaster, running after the facts, grasping at something to hold onto. She was strangely detached from her insights. There was no use for opinions or decisions between the towers of the temporary. She did not notice the colour fading from the room. The yellow walls faded into the greyness of the sky just visible in the yellow windowsill that was turning as pale as the pallor of her skin. The carpet that once held bold, primary colours, turned into a half-developed image of itself. It was unclear whether something was lost or added to the space. Some stark elements stayed in place, holding on to their rigid shape as vague plans for a tribute to what remains. They were awkward and seemed overly aware of their presence in a world that was slowly fading out. Maria Barnas


Heritage 2010

Sculptural installation Mixed media: wooden furniture, Lp player, radio, high fired clay forms, 150 x 110 x 90 cm end-exam Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam



Heritage 2010

Sculptural installation Mixed media: wooden furniture, Lp player, radio, high fired clay forms, 150 x 110 x 90 cm end-exam Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam




Ruta Butkute was born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1984. She graduated from Vilnius Academy of Arts (VDA) in 2007 where she studied traditional ceramic techniques. During her studies she was granted for Socrates/ Erasmus exchange studies in Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. She continued her studies in Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam (2007-2010). For her graduation exhibition titled “Heritage� Butkute was nominated for Gerrit Rietveld award. During and after her studies her focus has been developing contemporary sculptural installation methods. She was drawn to the use of video to introduce her sculptural installations to a new medium, as well as applying a sculptural gaze to video. Her works have been shown in various exhibitions in the Netherlands, Lithuania, Austria, France and the United States. In a period of 2011-2013 she participated in various residency programs: BijlmAir residency Amsterdam, CRIDA residency in Palma de Mallorca, Swing Space residency by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in New York, Atelierhaus Salzamt residency in Linz, Id11 residency in Delft. During this period she developed her artistic practice with a support of different residency programs in Europe and USA and in 2012 she was granted with a startstipendium by Mondriaan Fonds, and Lithuanian culture state year scholarship in 2014. In 2014/2015 Butkute joined the residency program of the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, which inspired her to collect the documentation of the works made during 2010 -2014 into a catalog.




Financial Support: Lithuanian culture state scholarship (Vilnius, LT) Mondriaan Fonds (Amsterdam, NL) Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (Amsterdam, NL) Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (New York, USA) Stichting Id11 (Delft, NL) Atelierhaus Salzamt (Linz, A) Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost (CBK Zuidoost – center of visual arts), BijlmAir residency (Amsterdam, NL) CRIDA residency (Palma de Mallorca, E) Anton Reijnders Ranti Tjan Saulius Butkus Video projects: Shurman Chirino “Measure” Jessica Cannon “Building 403 & Tree 187” Daniel de Roo “Building 403 & Tree 187” Mariel Dekker “Pike Straddle Tuck” Renske Endel “Candle” Assistance: Vaiva Butkiene (installation) Daniel de Roo (installation) Emese Csornai (light) Kim Wawer (ceramics) Takao Fujimoto (transport) Marianne Peijnenburg (ceramics Rijksakademie) Barbara, Seamus, Roger (woodworkshop Rijksakademie)


COLOFON Texts: Maria Barnas “Towers of the Temporary” Daniel de Roo, review Photos: Ruta Butkute Shae Rooke “Heritage” Gert Jan Van Rooij “Pike Straddle Tuck” Graphic design: Olga Ganzha Printed at: Knust @AGA (Amsterdam) and Reclameland (Roden)

Amsterdam 2015




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