Light + Time = Form. Paulius Nosokas

This time I want to introduce you to my first international encounter with Berlin based Lithuanian artist Paulius Nosokas. He kindly invited me into his home/studio where we started off with a hot cup of tea, as the weather was still a bitch and I was still complaining about it. Nevertheless, my hands, and my brain eventually, defrosted and we could start conversing about Paulius’ art, which he is now practicing in Berlin, after having spent ten years in New York. But as he recalled “the city can burn you if you don’t watch out”, so Paulius decided to return to Europe where he has found his new basis in the slower paced Berlin.

But before digging deeper into Paulius’ technical practices of creating art, I want to make a short excursion to the literal meaning of the word “photography”. It’s a compound of “photos”, which means light, and “graphos”, which refers to drawing, scratching and writing. I think you’ve already guessed where I am heading at with this explanation. Paulius Nosokas transcribes the meaning of “drawing with light” through performances in the woods or in his studio onto photo paper, alone with his camera, his self-made tools, time and the most important factor, light.

„Long fascinated with light, I went out (in mid winter) and brought a number of hand-held fixtures in a variety of wattages and configurations: fluorescent, incandescent, large, small, flashlights — even lasers. My motivating concept was largely about “play,” to discover what might unexpectedly be revealed as my solitary performance with these fixtures was frozen in stop-motion image…

Performing/being alone with my actions—only to let the single image have the final ‘word’—is a big part of what moves me in this project. Also, the fact that I am using very basic materials, with only my cozy apartment for a setting, or near-empty vistas of winter snow. Visual drama, it seems, can be set on a very basic stage.“

Paulius Nosokas would not call himself a photographer, though. The concept, the performance and the technical aspects are more important to him. The camera is solely “an instrument capturing the moment” and used for documenting his light-performances. Above all, the processes of creating new techniques, of building the tools and of playing with different light sources are constituting the artwork. And despite the fact that he cannot influence what the camera captures, he would not call its outcome coincidence, as he controls the material and the knowledge of it, chooses the settings and the time; in accordance, none of the images get deleted from the series. Rather Paulius wants to tell a story, visualize the process, the technique and depict the various paths that his light sources happen to follow. „I found, as you can see, that light isn’t only a source of illumination, but a 
wonderful creator of form.“

So, just like the oil in a painting or the clay in a sculpture, Paulius Nosokas is molding time with light. Not one decisive moment is depicted, but the elapsing of time and light in space. To me it is always compelling to see an artist who is not only passionate about his art, but also dedicated to the process of creation and its ongoing developments. I appreciate that he is not so much concerned about the aesthetically appealing outcome but more about the ways in which he can present his idea of lightpaintings. With as little as time and light he creates form.


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