Paulina Pukytė - Kauno Bienalė

Paulina Pukytė


A memorial to Jan Zwartendijk has been unveiled on the façade of 29 Laisvės Avenue, Kaunas, Lithuania. Jan Zwartendijk, Acting Dutch Consul in Kaunas in 1940, worked in this building. In July of 1940 he issued 2,345 permits for persecuted Jews and their families to travel to Curacao, Dutch island in the Caribbean, thus saving their lives from the Nazis. The memorial is unusual in that it declines to be photographed. It is only possible to not see it if you come and stand directly in front of No. 29 Laisvės Avenue. The memorial to the Righteous Among The Nations Jan Zwartendijk will remain on the façade of No. 29 forever as a refusal: in 2003 the owner of the building rejected the Kaunas Municipality’s request to place a commemorative plaque to the saviour of Jews, therefore the plaque had to be placed on 42 Laisvės Avenue instead.

In Kabbalistic tradition 42 is the number with which God creates the Universe.

If the Jews, running away from death, were able to dig a tunnel straight trough the Earth, gravity would have taken them from Lithuania to Curacao on the other side of the world in just 42 minutes (Paul Cooper’s mathematically calculated “gravity train” effect).

“42” is the answer “to life, the universe and everything,” given to the hitchhikers through the galaxy by a computer called Deep Thought after seven-and-a-half million years’ calculation.

In Egyptian Book of the Dead there are 42 questions asked of persons making their journey through Death. If they are able to give answers to all 42 questions, they can reach the ultimate goal of becoming a Star that gives light to the Universe.

42 is the angle for which we see a rainbow.

If the wall of No 29 was plain, you would be able to see on it, for a few seconds, a 42. Shiny tiles of variable green reject the afterimage.
Paulina Pukytė
29 = 42. Refusal of the Afterimage. 2017
Sign on pavement, press release
Pavement in front of Laisvės al. 29, Kaunas
Look at the number for 42 seconds and then look at the wall.
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