Riga Photo Month Gets Under Way! Exhibitions

Riga Photo Month Gets Under Way! Exhibitions
Mārtiņš Otto, Riga 2014
A major festival of photography, the Riga Photo Month, began with “iRIGA”, a joint exhibition of photography professionals and enthusiasts at the “Galerija Centrs” shopping mall on the 1st of May. During the Riga Photo Month, Riga will be visited by several popular photography artists, host various lectures, workshops and exhibitions. Below is a programme of the Riga Photo Month photography exhibitions.

Exhibition “iRIGA”
1st of May – 18th of May
“Galerija Centrs”, Audēju 16

The exhibition “iRIGA” is one of the first events on the Riga Photo Month programme, closing a nationwide photography campaign in 2013 where Rigans were asked to send in their works on various themes determined by the organisers of the campaign.

During the campaign, Riga residents and guests of the city were asked to show Riga as a vibrant and unique city. The photographs show Riga as seen by local residents, presenting not the stereotypical postcards but images of the city’s suburbs, Riga residents and their routine lives. From Bolderāja to Rumbula and from Berģi to Zolitūde. The works, mostly street photography, are the result of a significant civic collaboration – visual testimonies to the present time, created by professionals and amateurs alike.

Participants: Agnese Mūrniece, Aiga Zeltiņa, Aivars Slišāns, Andrejs Strokins, Anta Mainule, Arnis Vuškāns, Arturs Kolovs, Biruta Zeļenova, Edijs Pālens, Elīna Baltpurviņa, Elīna Zvirbule, Ēriks Biters, Ģirts Raģelis, Ingūna Roze, Jānis Janbergs, Jānis Zvērs, Laima Buša, Lauris Aizupietis, Olafs Ošs, Sergejs Babikovs, Viesturs Pinka, Viktorija Eksta, Zane Strūberga, Zelma Brezinska.

Sune Jonsson “Life and Work”
2nd of May – 1st of June
Latvian Museum of Photography, Mārstaļu iela 8, entry from Alksnāja iela

“Life and Work”, a solo exhibition by the Swedish photographer Sune Jonsson (1930–2009), is a collaboration between Riga and Umeå, the other European Capital of Culture this year. The exhibition has been organised by the Latvian Museum of Photography in co-operation with the Västerbottens Museum in Umeå.

Sune Jonsson is an acclaimed Swedish documentary photography artist, also a writer and a documentary film director. The photographs and documentary films by Sune Jonsson depict landscapes, rural residents, farmers – in their usual environment and circumstances. The photographs shown at the exhibition were taken in Jonsson’s native Västerbotten County where the European Capital of Culture Umeå is located. Britta Lundgrena (Sweden) is the curator of the exhibition.

Margit Lõhmus “Room of Love”
On show until the 30th of May
Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Alberta iela 13

The Estonian artist Margit Lõhmus’ project “Room of Love” consists of works created, aesthetically, as amateur videos, depicting people in various socially complicated situations. At first glance it may seem that the videos show personal and tragic situations, however, the theatrical passivity of the author exposes the viewer to immediate provocation by making him or her an unwitting voyeur. This feeling is further intensified by the seemingly-innocent videos. The exhibition is curated by Indrek Grigor.

The author describes the “Room of Love” as “a place where my loved ones and I are right now. There are also foreign cultures and a paedophile there. The presence of love is irrelevant – if there has to be love in the Room of Love, then it is only the love that is there in the room. The “Room of Love” deals with solving family problems and the consequences this causes. There are communication problems behind the walls.”

“Neighbours”. Exhibition in an urban environment
5th of May – 25th of May
Riga public transport stops

From the 5th of May, public transport stops in Riga become the main platform for the exhibition “Neighbours”. The project features photo versions of Riga neighbourhoods by artists, architects and photographers: Kaspars Podnieks, Arnis Balčus, Evelīna Deičmane, Ieva Raudsepa and Ilze Vanaga. These series of photos were shot in various areas of Riga – the city centre, Teika, Maskavas District, Pārdaugava and islands in the Daugava River; the photographs try to find and emphasise the specific and unique atmosphere of every area, explore the common and the different in the people who live there, thus making it possible for them to get to know each other better. The exhibition is curated by Inga Brūvere. A presentation of the project will take place at the Riga Art Space on the 17th of May at 9 p.m.
The project is part of the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation’s art festival “Tête-à-Tête 2014”.

Jan Grarup “Somalia. Caught between War and Famine”
7th of May – 6th of June
Latvian War Museum, Smilšu iela 20

The Danish photographer Jan Grarup (1968) is known for his photo series from war zones and from African countries tormented by famine, illnesses, and religious and ethnic prejudices. The exhibition in Riga centres on Somalia and its people who have been seeing the horrors of war for over twenty years now.
The long-running draught that has taken over the country in recent years has made life even more unbearable for Somalis.

The exhibition is about people caught in a war, between poverty and desperation. Yet the photographer says that Somalis are the greatest and most wonderful people he has ever met, who despite everything have not lost hope for a better life.


Imants Gross “Vintages”
7th of May – 30th of July
“Wine Studio”, Elizabetes 10

The solo exhibition by the Latvian-Swedish photographer Imants Gross shows him – just like a butterfly collector – itemising and arranging time periods, pinning photographs to showcase stands with insect pins. In doing so, he creates his own self-portrait that is, on the one hand, very personal, but at the same time it also portrays his generation and the times he lives in. His method can also be compared to pin-up culture: portraits, self-portraits, memorable landscapes, still lifes, a multitude of snapshots á la popstar images from the 1950s, which are captured under glass like dried insects.

“Vintages” collages tell a story of five generations, furthermore, these generations come from various places around the world. Social media sites (Instagram, Pintrest, Facebook etc.) where pictures from various periods are uploaded and seen side by side give an impression that “all time is eternally present”, that intergenerational gaps do not exist and one’s self can be found both in the faces of the future and the past.

8th of May – 5th of June
Riga Art Space, Kungu 3

The exhibition “ROST/RUST” presents works by Björn Dawidsson (1949), known with his artist’s name Dawid, one of the most famous Swedish artists who works with photography. Dawid’s career goes back to the 1970s, when critics called him the last representative of modernism and the first representative of postmodernism.

He often uses different art media techniques and his works often balance on the fine border between graphic and photographic works. His experiments however always consist of a deep understanding of concept and photography as media.

The exhibition “ROST/RUST”, which once prompted heated debates in Sweden and changed the perception of photography as a medium, is one of the most famous series by the artist. Dawid creates his works in the photograms technique. The first exhibition “ROST/RUST” was presented in 1983 at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
The Riga exhibition is curated by Nina Grundemark.

Viewfinders. Contemporary Baltic and Nordic Photography
8th of May – 5th of June
Riga Art Space, Kungu 3

A major Baltic-Nordic photography exhibition opens at the Riga Art Space on the 8th of May. The exhibition focuses on people trying to find their selves in the contemporary world – the interactions between the private and the public, the local and the global, the mental and the physical.

At the same time, the exhibition will look at the trends in contemporary photography as an art practice because, due to the rapid technological development these days, the importance and message of photographic images needs to be re-evaluated. Today, photography is everywhere, used by everyone. A range of other ideas has joined the classic perception of the photograph as an aesthetic and documentary image, and it is necessary to identify this new content.

Participants: Thobias Fäldt & Klara Källström (Sweden), Sara Bjarland (Finland), Ieva Epnere (Latvia), Ivars Grāvlejs (Latvia), Marge Monko (Estonia), Paul Kuimet (Estibua), Astrid Kruse Jensen (Denmark), Marie Sjøvold (Norway), Pétur Thomsen (Iceland), Mindaugas Ažušilis (Lithuania), Indre Šerpytyte (Lithuania), Sarah Gerats (Norway), Joachim Fleinert (Denmark), Lars Tunbjörk (Sweden). The exhibition is curated by Inga Brūvere.

Māra Brašmane “Time of Change”
9th of May – 1st of June
LNMA exhibition hall “Arsenāls”

Photographer Māra Brašmane has been working at the Latvian National Museum of Art for twenty years (1984–2004), witnessing collections being moved to new rooms, the creation of the Soviet Latvia exhibition and how it was later moved to the “Arsenāls” exhibition hall, repairs to the White Hall and the opening of the Hege Hall.

At the beginning of 2013, while Māra Brašmane was acquainting herself with the museum’s reconstruction plans and their visualisations, visiting the last exhibition and diligently exploring the whole museum building, an idea of a new, voluminous series of photographs devoted to the museum was born.

Its basic concept is to memorialise museum halls at the moment the largest part of art collections, archive and office inventory has left the museum, walls have been stripped and doors of rooms usually hidden to visitors – and often to employees also – are opened. While the museum halls and interior are being photographed, which sometimes discretely turns into a game of pure colours, lines and chiaroscuro, answers are sought to the question -what happens one moment before a new beginning? What is being revealed when exhibits are removed and transferred? How the space changes when it is not occupied, either by collections nor people? What traces of time tell about the history of the museum? Curated by Šelda Puķīte.

Iveta Vaivode “Lap”
10th of May – 20th of June
Venue TBA

Two years ago Iveta Vaivode (1979) visited her grandmother Antoņina’s village of Pilceni in Latgale to find the place she had painted in her mind when looking at the photographs from the grandmother’s youth. “Getting to know the people of Pilcene, I had an odd feeling. Although they were strangers to me, I recognised something very familiar, but forgotten in them – the women of my family. Especially when Anna quietly asked me to listen to the singing of the bees in the evening, or told endlessly long stories of her past. Walking around Pilcene and the nearby villages, I could return to my own childhood and that of my mother – where every person has their own smell and fresh milk is always tasted still warm,” comments Iveta Vaivode.

While trying to find the last vestiges of her family in the village, the author speaks to people who once knew her grandmother. It is through Pilcene residents’ stories that the photographer rediscovers a world long lost. Many of the people she meets continue to live in their very special memories about the past, inevitably moving closer to the point beyond which there is only forgottenness.

Iveta Vaivode is an acclaimed Latvian fashion photographer. For this series she received the “C/O Berlin Talents” award, the “Burn Emerging Photographers” magazine grant, and was selected for the “Sony” World Photography Awards finals.

Mary Ellen Mark, “Frames of America”
10th of May – 20th of June
Venue TBA

The solo exhibition by Mary Ellen Mark (1940, U.S.) presents the classical documentary photography tradition where photojournalism borders on, and overlaps with, subjective documentalism. In terms of plots and themes, Mark’s works hint at the socio-critical perspective of her idol, William Eugene Smith. Formally, the works follow in the footsteps of Henri Cartier-Bresson and the principles of his “decisive moment”, in which it is easy to spot traces of a traditional art education – Mark studied painting, art history and photojournalism at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professionally, she has been working as a photographer since the mid-1960s, and has been publishing books since 1974 about cultural differences, the homeless, the ill and other fate-stricken people. Mark has collaborated with “New York Times Magazine”, “Life”, “Paris-Match”, “The New Yorker”, and “Rolling Stone”, as well as having received a number of prestigious awards. The exhibition is curated by Mary Ellen Mark, Meredith Lue (U.S.)

“European Eyes on Japan/Japan Today vol. 16”
23rd of May – 15th of June
Culture centre “Ziemeļblāzma”

The project “European Eyes on Japan/Japan Today” began in 1999.  Every year, two European photographers are invited by the various prefectures of Japan, to record images on the theme of contemporary Japanese people and how they live their lives, for posterity. The goal of the project is to provide an opportunity for the Japanese to reacquaint themselves with aspects of their daily lives that they have tended to overlook and for Europeans to deepen their understanding of Japan and become more familiar with the distant Far East country.  The glimpses of Japan captured from the unique and new perspective of each photographer are vastly different from those printed in the mass media or the stereotypical images of Japan. To date, 56 photographers have photographed in 35 prefectures around Japan. The project is carried out every year, with the intention of ultimately photographing all 47 prefectures. This year, the photographers participating in the project are Alexander Gronsky from Riga and Nina Korhonen from Stockholm. The exhibition is curated by Mikiko Kikuta (Japan).

The exhibition is organised by the foundation “Riga 2014”. The project is supported by the EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee. 

The entire Riga Photo Month programme is available at www.rigaphotomonth.com.



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