Monika Janulevičiūtė, 'BENCH, VOL. 1' (2023)
BENCH, VOL. 1
Gathered by Monika Janulevičiūtė
This volume contains 378 screenshots of benches found in real estate listings – from summer houses, homesteads, barns, garden houses, timber sheds to wash houses and saunas – in provinces and towns of Lithuania.
The archival volume presents a variety of small wooden benches, without removing them from their usual spots nor forcing them into strict typologies. Most photographs are taken by realtors, some by the house owners or relatives. The houses and their benches are from peripheral villages and towns in Lithuania, listed on real estate sites costing “under 50,000 Euros”. These images capture the life and state of the house, the layers of refurbishments and updates, as well as the occasional cosmetic touches for their sale. In most cases, as you will see, it seems like life was removed quite recently, or not at all – the soup is still warm. Life is retained as it is and with benches in the margins. Bags, tools, blankets, apples, snow – the daily clutter of life – are found undisturbed. Each photograph gives many clues: the entrance bench is both private and common; the kitchen bench is both for work and pastime; the shed bench is for sunbathing and yard chores. They accompany the household and are as energetic, stubborn and capricious as horses, lambs, goats, and guardian dogs.
Monika Janulevičiūtė is a Lithuanian designer and artist. For her, the frankness of bench-making binds design, craft and art practices together. The bench takes centre stage to the extreme. A multifaceted quotidian subject swivelling around its vertical axis, showing the elastic attachments to life and functionality.
Co-published with TLTRPreß