An Image that Stays Alert and Slips Away from the Present: A (Non-)fixative Medium in the Creative Practice of Agnė Jonkutė

Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis


  • Evelina Januškaitė



image, time, mimesis, imprint, present, medium


The article explores the work of the artist Agnė Jonkutė, who actualizes the multiplicity of reality and its trace in the flow of time, emphasizing the meaning of mimesis as a repetition of reality arising from individual experience. In contemporaneity, various media depicting and reproducing reality actualize the fluidity of the image and reduce the continuity of time, thus when analyzing the works that record or reflect the experience of reality and time, mimetism still seems to be underlying in contemporary art practices in muted form, and temporality is one of the essential aspects of their expression. The article discusses mimetism inherent in the changing image and asserts the fluidity of modern mimesis, which manifests itself in art as a momentary reflection or as an imprint of reality, the perception of which is fluid, because the perceiver can no longer relate mimesis to the imprinted reality. Emphasizing the subjective involvement and participation of the perceiver in the perception of such an imprinted and temporal reality, as well as the directionality of modern mimesis towards embodied subjectivity, the author of the article refers to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s theory of sensory perception and Danutė Bacevičiūtė’s analysis of the transformation of the phenomenological concept of time. Mimetic works of art become continuations of the ever-passing present and reality in time, which, as if “awakening” the objective reality in images, actualize the issue of mimesis and the ensuing problem of visual experience and its verbalization. In contemporary culture, mimesis reduces time to a single moment and shifts the semantic load from the work to the perceiver experiencing an impression, thus opening up the multiplicity of the impression and the possibility of its multiplication. Therefore, it is assumed that today mimesis also functions as a (non­)fixative medium and is one of the states of contemporaneity, which is not simply the relevant present, but rather the present that will turn into the future (where transformation is positioned as volatile), perceived as a promise of the future reality. With the aim to emphasize the processuality and duration in art practices that mark the intangible traces of the image, and while employing the reduction of time to an ever-passing moment and the reduction of the image to the mimetic experience in Jonkutė’s work, a new definition of ephemeral mimesis, in which the spontaneous and temporal nature of the image staying alert and slipping away from the present, which is called volatile, is formulated in this article.

Author Biography

Evelina Januškaitė

is an art critic, curator, researcher, and doctoral student in Art History at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. She explores and interprets the viewer’s experience and self­perception in works of contemporary art, contemporary theories of art and media, philosophy, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, perception of time, space and reality, and the interaction of art and science. Her field of research includes the interpretation of reflection as a spontaneous, temporal and ephemeral experience and the category of contemporaneity, based on which she revisits the concept of mimesis by defining it in contemporaneity through the concepts of a (non-)fixating medium and images staying alert in the present and slipping away from the experienced reality.



How to Cite

Januškaitė, E. (2023). An Image that Stays Alert and Slips Away from the Present: A (Non-)fixative Medium in the Creative Practice of Agnė Jonkutė: Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis. Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis, (110-111), 549–570.