Place for testing joy, fear and beauty
Waiting for the poetic backbone
‘In order to find balance and equilibrium, human beings need to see the horizon from time to time. But the city does not offer it, in fact, there are only replacements available. This is why our emerging exhibition pictures are ones where horizon is difficult to perceive, because what exists is illusion of its view given by support of hands or railings of the bridge,’ Ieva explains the concept of her project as we start on the conversation, accentuating that, no doubt, the main event of the project is international exhibition, which will open in Railway Museum of Latvia next spring.
‘We are actively working on the exhibition at the moment, which is why our main objective is to work with seven poets who create theme or chapter-oriented poetry selections each, where they are free to use their own or colleagues’ work as well as translations. And, rather than on written concept, the show will be hinged on a poetic backbone. Therefore, asked about the content of the exhibition, I answer that it will offer poetry to see,’ curator smiles and enumerates the tasks given to poets: Uldis Bērziņš will treat ‘Primeval sound, first born element,’ Edvīns Raups will engage with the matters of soul, Inga Gaile – interpret ‘Everyday mystifications or the stretch of error’, Kārlis Vērdiņš will address ‘Radial acceleration and purpose,’ Pēteris Draguns – ‘The Black Spot,’ Amanda Aizpuriete – the territory ‘Beyond the Horizon’ and Knuts Skujenieks – the ‘Counterpoint or polyphony.’
Meanwhile, as poets create the poetic backbone of exhibition, Ieva engages in experiments and travels the world selecting artists and art work, which would resonate with this project, in her opinion. It is already quite clear that the exhibition will present work produced by American, Austrians and Russian artists, and Ieva is hopeful about participation of Lithuanian and Estonian creators as well.
Our senses are alive
Parallel to this process, in turn, ‘Totaldobže’ art center organizes creative laboratories, searching for answers to specific questions, which have engaged Ieva as a curator-practitioner for ever and which she has experimented with in her biography as a curator. ‘And then, what occurred to me was – why should we experiment in exhibitions if we can approbate difference in form in advance? For example, test purely formal and technical nuance – the height of the gaze and different modes of presentation: whether perception changes or not if you change the height of the object presented? In order to test it, your opinion alone is insufficient; others need to be involved, which is why we have organized creative laboratory – Ieva says – ‘as a test ground for strange ideas,’ some of which are not that strange in the end.
Beauty was the first to be tested, as Ieva was very interested to find out how someone from the public can be made to stop to perceive the beauty, appreciating the plain-air work of Raimonds Līcītis, created in a la prima technique.
„Our senses are very much alive. If someone steps, unprepared, into a gallery where incredible artistic beauty is displayed, the first reaction is turning away because people are stricken by its force. We feel uncomfortable pulled out of our everyday range of feeling, because absolute beauty is an extreme.”
In the same stride, fear has been tested in ‘Totaldobže’ center, while such themes as anger, surprise and calm still await their turn. ‘We are observing different modes of influence and ideas. But it is quite possible that some of the works created in laboratories, will be picked for the exhibition,’ adds curator of the project.
Joy is open for test as well
Turing to creative laboratories of Saturday, May 11, Ieva underlines that success or failure of an art object largely depends on working with the space. ‘Artists who will participate in this creative lab, could take draws regarding succession or to come to a decision otherwise to enter a concrete space and perceive it as one they can fully subordinate to themselves, but – in sensitive key, respecting what is already there. Thus, for today’s laboratory, they will work, but I won’t reveal – in what order as it will be one of the questions we will pose to our audience – whether or not they can identify the order, in which the artists have acted. Moreover, our artists must be flexible in their approach and ready to change their idea as what has been done by the predecessors must be taken into account,’ curator explains adding that joy is defined as the underlying theme of their ideas.
„I am convinced that joy is related to success, in professional art. If something has been successful, you experience joy verging on happiness.”
What follows this will be entirely in the hands of the viewer. As Ieva Kulakova says, from 4 o’ clock in the afternoon everyone is welcome to ‘Totaldobže’ art center to assess the achievement of artists Gundega Evelone, Jānis Filipovičs and Edgars Jurjāns and answer the questions of the authors of the project afterwards. ‘We prefer a personal conversation as it yields more information,’ Ieva Kuloakova is convinced mentioning that you only learn what you really are interested in live communication.
Meanwhile, the fate of the questionnaire data is yet unclear, but it enables the authors of the project – and, especially, the curators – to think on the up-coming exhibition and understand what would be the best way to address it? ‘There are many ways to present the visual art – with musical accompaniment, for example. Now, we are trying to understand what the best one would be. Maybe, sound should be used, but the its source cannot be found too close to the object; other solutions are required, as music is the most powerful of arts,’ Ieva Kulakova comments, emphasizing that before the answers to these questions are found, the whole picture of the project will not be complete. ‘So, we are waiting for the next spring!’ she says as we part.