States of the Arts


Girl with Sunglasses

by Ella Kruglyanskaya

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A group of grownups enjoy a coastal picnic, sporting swimwear and lounging by an open hamper. One woman squints, shielding her eyes from the blazing sun, as the others grin on. We see them in the reflection of a young girl’s sunglasses, with the two lenses showing the scene from slightly different angles. It is not the adults that first capture our attention, but the girl’s reaction to them. She seems to exaggerate her expression for her audience. Open-mouthed, she holds her hand to her cheek, as if in shock. Yet the reason for her response is not immediately obvious. By leaving us to speculate, Ella Kruglyanskaya urges us to consider the world as seen through a child’s eyes.

Words by John Wadsworth

Rocks in My Pockets

directed by Signe Baumane
Feature film

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At first, the title of Signe Baumane’s animation seems to suggest the whimsy of a nursery rhyme, its playful assonance distracting from the words’ bleak connotations. Such double-edged phrasing is wholly appropriate for the work, which the director describes as ‘a funny film about depression’. Mental health issues are explored with sensitivity and curiosity, by means of a fantastical aesthetic. Proportions are prone to instability, ballooning or shrinking unpredictably. Surrounds are infiltrated by queasy, dream-like imagery. The visuals appear to falter and flicker before the eye, as though half-perceived or with key frames missing. Baumane seeks to fill in the gaps of her family history, one hand-drawn panel at a time.

Words by Elizabeth Brown

The corner of Isaac and Esther Street, Kazimierz, Krakow

by Ingmāra Balode

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In a café in a historical district of Kraków, ‘a handle creaks / a shoulder cracks / parquet squeaks’. Amid the hustle, the bustle, and the ‘scraping strings’, secrets are shared. A confession ‘goes whispering across the candle’s wick’, with the reader positioned on the receiving end. In its evocation of lowered voices, the line gives the encounter an air of intimacy. A man admits to eating the narrator’s chocolate, which had been squirrelled away for another day. A corresponding footnote refers to a poet known for snaffling his partner’s plums. In the background, Tom Waits sings about a religious man who shuns church on the Sabbath, opting instead for an immaculate confection.

Words by John Wadsworth

Mouse Song

by Dzeltenie Pastnieki

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A synth line sweeps upwards, covering the interval of a minor third, before scurrying back down to its original pitch. The closely huddled notes, cut from the chromatic scale, suggest the small steps taken by the animal of the song’s title. The motif repeats in stops and starts, fittingly redolent of a scampering rodent, its paws pausing periodically to check for safety. At the two-minute mark, a foursquare beat is added. Marking out every crotchet, it calibrates the remainder of the running time with relentless regularity. In his dry delivery, the vocalist channels the Mouse from Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, capturing the morbidity and murine puns of the character’s ‘long and sad tale’ in equal measure.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

Girl with Sunglasses: View a short interview with Ella Kruglyanskaya on the Tate website, and read another on the Harper’s Bazaar UK website.

Rocks in My Pockets: Watch the trailer here.

The corner of Isaac and Esther Street, Kazimierz, Krakow: Read the poem here.

Mouse Song: Listen to the song here.

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