Artist Ruta Butkute

How to make sculpture move

Ruta Butkute (art) Emily Kocken (text)

Art Ruta Butkute
Text Emily Kocken
Graphic design Eva van der Schans
Printer die Keure
Number of pages 112
Book size 21 x 27.5cm
Binding Softcover
Language English 
Release date July 2022
Publisher Jap Sam Books, and made possible with the support of the Mondriaan Fund, Jaap Harten Fonds, Tijl Fonds/Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst  


Sculpture, choreography, and installation are the main pillars of Ruta Butkute’s art practice. Her method is guided by a reflective approach to the physicality of sculpture and the relation to the performers, audiences, and the spaces in which they interact. Departing from the principle that an object has a function hidden inside, she redefines the origins and functions of materials and forms  in order to evoke their intricate capacity to move. Her education in ceramics affects her use of primal material aspects, such as weight, scale, mass, and gravity.

During her Rijksakademie residency (2014–15) in Amsterdam, Butkute started to translate sculpture into different mediums. Over the course of several years, she developed a new medium she calls ‘sculptural performance’, which places objects, sculptures, and space in a transformative field, enabling the direction of movement. Actions like grounding, falling, jumping, rising and sinking are keywords in a process close to creating sculptures.

In this book, vital elements of her latest work are brought together to create an experience that manifests Butkute’s unique take on sculpture and performativity. New meanings behind the images unfold via a poetic assemblage of linguistic genres, word play and critical references, culminating in conversations the artist had with her peers on ‘how to make sculpture move’

About the makers

Ruta Butkute (1984, Kaunas, Lithuania) studied at Vilnius Academy of Arts, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, and Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. She was artist in residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, Creative residency Arita, Japan, Work Space Brussels, and Rosas P.A.R.T.S, Brussels. Her work has been shown (inter)nationally at many galleries and art institutions: Fons Welters, Amsterdam, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Teruhiro Yanagihara Gallery, Osaka, Japan, CC Strombeek, Grimbergen, Kaaistudios, Brussels, Kunstmuseum The Hague, De Nederlandse Bank, Amsterdam, Valkhof Museum, Nijmegen. Bradwolff Projects Amsterdam presented her at Art Rotterdam AVL Mundo, Atelier Van Lieshout. She received an Established Talent Grant from the Mondriaan Fund, and development grants from Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst. Her work is part of the art collection of the AMC. She is represented by Bradwolff Projects, Amsterdam.

Emily Kocken (1963) is a writer and an artist. Her debut novel Witte vlag (Querido, 2013) about a young couple surviving the art world, was nominated for the Academica Prize of Literature. De kuur was on the 2017 list of De Groene Amsterdammer’s favorite books. Lalalanding (2021) was described in Trouw as a ‘magical web of history and intimate relations’. Other activities include moderating events in the realm of art, performance, philosophy, and literature.


Ruta Butkute: Spell Action

The ambition with the publication Spell Action 2018 is to convert the various disciplines and approaches in which Ruta Butkute works into one publication. The images in the book are from completed projects between 2014 and 2018. Hand-bound and realized by using different formats.

design: Kees Janmaat,
publisher: Bradwolff Projects
review/text: Louise Schouwenberg
editors: Christine van den Bergh, Ruta Butkute foto
edition: 120 ex.
size: 27 x 38 cm
pages: 46 pag.
printing: Jubels
binding: Agia, speciale grafische afwerking
price: €45,-
supported by: Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Stichting Stokroos, Harten Fonds, C&H Gallery, Bradwolff Projects