Justina Kochansky at The New Artist Fair

For immediate release.

Justina Kochansky at The New Artist Fair
Old Truman Brewery, London E1 6QR
8-10 September 2017

Justina Kochansky will be showing her newest eggshell based artwork at The New Artist Fair. The Summer Exhibition will take place 8-10 September 2017, at the Old Truman Brewery off Brick Lane in London. Over 100 artists will be selling their work directly to the public; a private viewing will be held on Friday from 18:00 to 21:00, and free entry will take place Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 18:00.

Justina's work is a combination of found objects, surface techniques, and the careful handling of eggs. Ranging in size from three centimetres tall to five meters in length, her work explores the balance between strength and delicacy while challenging the notion that art must be big to be noticed.

Making tiny worlds and figures has long been a passion for Justina Kochansky. After studying Wayang Kulit (shadow puppetry) in Bali, she has gone on to perform puppet shows in places ranging from Wilton's Music Hall to Abney Park Cemetery. For five years she ran a sculptural webcomic called Articulate Matter, making tiny vignettes for a cast of sea creatures three times per week. Her current work with eggshells is a result of an artist residency at the Rensing Center and their focus on “ecology, economy, and creativity.”

Thread and Egg Shells


I've just returned home from an art residency at the Rensing Center in Western South Carolina. When I first arrived, I considered making some mementos about small moments of beauty. You can't preserve the spark of joy from the first crocus of the season and, human beings being what we are, even if you could the initial joy would be difficult to maintain, but I wanted to make some sort of homage. My time there was full of such moments and with the quieting of my self-doubts that have been drowning out my creativity I felt more able to absorb them. So my original plan of making sculptures to bring home with me quickly changed into wanting to leave gifts behind.

While I was studying shadow puppetry in Bali, I observed the daily ritual of preparing woven leaf baskets and filling them with gifts for the gods; cooked rice, fresh fruit, flowers, occasionally a piece of candy or a cigarette. This was a very time consuming but important part of each day. The offerings were placed on the family shrines with respectful ceremony and then... it didn't matter what happened to them. The importance was in the presenting, not in the preservation of the gift. More often than not, the offerings were eaten by the stray dogs that roamed about, but that was okay because the gift had been given.

So in a similar spirit, I've made fifteen small sculptures and ornaments for the Alder Trail out of materials that will degrade or rot away. These were inspired by the materials themselves but also by moments of joy I had while at the Center. The peaceful and supportive environment, the lovely people, and the time to completely focus on my work made my stay a thoroughly rejuvenating experience for which I'm very thankful.

And I must say, the placing/giving of the sculptures inspired even more moments of joy than I'd expected. The sculptures were made first, and then I walked the trail to decide where they should go. When it came time to distribute them, they suited the locations so well it surprised me; without even measuring spaces beforehand they fit almost perfectly. It wasn't so much giving them up as putting them where they needed to be.

Notes on the Materials

Egg Shells: I suspect the Easter holiday had some influence on my wanting to use egg shells, but I think I will continue working with them. I've also been influenced by the Fauxberge Egg Series of Kasey Smith.

Orchids: I share my grandmother's love of orchids, so I had to use some dried ones in my work.

Lichen: Lichen is frequently ignored, but I find the variety of forms fascinating and beautiful.

Gold Thread: I remember hearing that sometimes birds will use colourful thread in their nests. While this thread won't degrade very quickly, I hope that the local birds have sparkly nests for the next few seasons!