‘Museum of the Objects of Fate’ – bridging life and death

‘Museum of the Objects of Fate’ – bridging life and death
Kaspars Garda, Rīga 2014
Una Griškeviča
23-04-2013 A+ A-
The chair of the project ‘Museum of the Objects of Fate’ Ilona Brūvere is more than busy this spring – her contribution will be one of the largest features in thematic line ‘Freedom street’ in ‘Riga 2014’ program.

Every object comes with a story. Just know how to tell it!

The Museum now in process of being created has already assembled more than one hundred exhibits, but Ilona Brūvere and her two assistants keep the door open to more participants of the project, who are, virtually, anyone ready to offer their personal things of importance along with the stories accompanying them to the Museum. ‘We no longer communicate as much as we used to, which is why the space around feels to be narrowing, regardless of all the opportunities for communication, which amount, and we aspire to be a developed society. But it is not what I see we could be called. Which is why I am convinced that the more things to present we will have, the more interesting the result. 

I think that this is an educative moment just as much as ordering of our urban living environment is, for this collection of things is a chance to learn to communicate with people around whom you do not know. The added value of every exhibit and every object is the story it brings along.

In May, the Museum will begin the process of filming and recording them, as no one can tell a story of a given thing better than its owner herself. There are exceptions, of course, and yet…’ the chair of the project adds, mentioning on the way that the sketches of artist Artis Rutks are ready presenting the outline of the Museum. ‘But I would really invite everyone to offer their personal belongings that are rich on meanings! Please, don’t be shy! Even if there is a sense that no one could be interested… Everyone could, believe me!’ Ilona assures indicating that although the next campaigns of donation will be announced in autumn, the whole process does not stop to wait for that phase.

Nostalgia for the soda machine on the street

When Ilona begins to review the collection already created, she enthuses enough to make anyone interested and a bit nostalgic as well. ‘I am proud that we have received a genuine automaton of the syrup and soda of the kind that we used to have on the street,’ she smiles. It still remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to restore it to working order, but there are chances they will. ‘We are still deciding on this, as it is a heavy and non-transportable thing, so you can imagine what carrying it up to the fifth floor would mean (we will remind, that Museum of the Objects of Fate will occupy the 5th floor of the Corner House – ed.).’

But the exposition will definitely be rich in functioning objects still well remembered by those who lived in Soviet times – the shaving machines, vacuum cleaners and electrical curlers that were used. The exhibition will also offer a chance to observe them in demonstration. ‘The older generations must still remember the way they were part of their everyday, but the younger ones will have to discover this material universe anew,’ Ilona is convinced. 

The widest range of emotions

Ilona oversees the exhibits collected already, while part of them remain with their owners yet and will be taken to the Museum when the structural plan of the exposition will be finished. ‘And I can meanwhile share some of their stories, for example, we have artist Aivars Vilipsons’ jacket and vest he got from his uncle. The suit had been ordered for the visit to then president of the state Kārlis Ulmanis. As a young man, Vilipsons was fond of inherited trousers as his ‘thing’ to wear for the discos in Polygraph culture hall in Riga. The uncle was buried in those trousers, but the jacket and vest are intact…"

The popular tv series also will not remain unrepresented; actress of ‘Conflagration’ Ieva Aleksandrova-Eklone has donated the Gold medal she received finishing high school to the Museum. ‘You might think that a gold medal winner would want to become translator or teacher, but Ieva decided to try and be an actress,’ I. Brūvere muses. ‘And we will also have Andris Bulis’ coat in the Museum. What makes it so special? He wore it on the day when he got into a terrible accident and nearly didn’t survive. So now he considers that day his second birthday…’

Valdis Rūmnieks, in turn, brought the last letter written by poet Alexander Chaks to the Museum. “People use to think that artists and writers are special. But Chaks reminds about closing the ventilation outlet of their stove to his addressee in the letter. Quite down-to-earth…’

Son of actress Eleonora Dūda and outstanding Latvian puppet animator Arnolds Burovs Artis came with the confectionery dish of the stage legend Anta Klints to the Museum, journalist Vidvuds Medenis offered a sculpture of Ziedonis by his mother, sculptor Lea Davidova-Medene, cinematographer Andris Silenieks – the flag of independent state they unfoldedinhis family to celebrate certain occasions in the Soviet era. Sound combine ‘Daugava’ belonging to film set designer Ieva Romānova will also be on display, which has a history of at least four of the period films.


Knowing the aura of Corner House, we will try to make it lighter and brighter. It is one of our most important tasks – to throw a bridge from death to life.

Ilona Brūvere indicates that the website of the Museum is open for visiting, starting this week, where all the activities of the project will be represented. And every contributor to the Museum will be issued a certificate, confirming its responsibility for the object donated. But, what is to happen after 2014 when Riga’s year as European Capital of Culture is over? ‘If the town will consider this project as necessary, it will continue,’ Ilona Brūvere says.



Comments open for registered users only!