Indrė Šerpytytė

Indrė Šerpytytė (1983, Palanga) is an artist based in London, UK. Working in a variety of media, Šerpytytė produces conceptual work exploring issues of history, memory, and culture. While dealing with complex historical circumstances, she achieves remarkable openness in her work. Her themes are universal: the ways in which the past affects the present, the ways in which the political influences the personal, and the importance of memory. Šerpytytė studied at the University of Brighton and the Royal College of Art, London. Her recent solo exhibitions have been at venues including the Kunsthall 3,14, Block Universe at the Venice Biennale, the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, the Galerija Vartai, Parafin (2019), CAC Vilnius (2017), and MOCAK Krakow (2015).

This is How We Win Wars
Video, 2018

This work is formed around an ongoing collection of videos that show soldiers dancing. These clips are originally sourced from YouTube and are often uploaded by the soldiers themselves. The soundtrack for the artist’s video is Steve Reich’s Piano Phase, a rhythmic piece for two pianos where a repeated refrain of successive notes shifts and realigns (or ‘phases’) over time.
Reich’s music, with its clear, simple structure complicated by small shifts and alterations, acts as a mirror to the soldiers’ intense expressions of emotion and release, which take place between the strict rhythms of military life. Moreover, the complexity and intricacy that emerge in both the dancing and the music are testaments to the insistent slippages that happen when people attempt to control and organize emotion and feeling, especially in the context of extreme emotional and physical stress.
This work also reflects on the relationship between ritual, war, and trauma, exploring how military systems are negotiated on tacit levels of affect, gesture, and emotion and on explicit levels of rituals and systems. It considers the various ways in which people cope with, organize and express trauma on both intimate and public levels. It also examines the complex, often problematic relationship between these modes of grieving and remembering.