Jurgis Paskevicius

When I met with Jurgis Paskevicius, he told me about Jugedamos, a sort of six-legged artist-creation…In fact, Jugedamos is the name for the artistic team that he works with, and consist of himself, Géraldine Longueville and David Bernstein. The three artists, who hail from Lithuania, France and the USA, respectively, began working together when they met in Amsterdam. Their name is a conglomeration of the three names, together with the third person plural verb ending in Spanish, creating a word that sounds almost like “playing” in that language (jugar means “to play” in Spanish, and “jugamos” would be “we play”). This type of play with language and words is typical of the artists’ work. They have even invented a concept: thinging.

Jugedar, the infinitive form of their name, has been described as “a language system based on the looseness of both understanding and misunderstanding,” and the first line from the artists’ text on Thinging demonstrates by example: “You came to me and said let's make a chair. Then you realized the chair could be cheers. And with cheers we have a glass, and we need a place to put the glass so we need a table. But it's perfect too, because chairs are often with tables. So here we are, Cheers and Tables.” As the artists later explain, “You have a very simple thought, starting with a sample, an example: while in the moment of thinging, the mind starts to produce thoughts and the word becomes a world. You turned one letter around and you woke up in a field of blooms.”

Together, the artists often work in this associative way, with one idea leading to the next, and a sequence of ideas or images following one another organically. For example, their performance Superusurpedsupper at the Nomas Foundation in Rome in February 2013. The artists put together a performance based around artworks found in three separate collections, and wove a story through both the artworks and the gallery itself. The performance took the form of a journey through the museum, and although heavily scripted, had the appearance of a natural and organic plot development, based on discoveries made by the artists along the way. The group also enacted a similar type of performance in Amsterdam, the Bible Performance, where they led a group of people on a tour through the Red Light district, ending up at De Oude Kerk (the Old Church).

As a multi-national artistic collective, their work with language, puns and multiple meanings reflects the diverse makeup of the group itself. To say that their performances need to be experienced is really an understatement, because it seems clear that the only way to comprehend the complexity of their work is to witness, and be enmeshed in it, oneself.