“Riga 2014” Exhibitions This Autumn
* “The Epoch of Amber”
(Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, the 20th of September until the 26th of October)
The aim of the exhibition is to study amber as one of the symbols of identity for Latvians and to show manifestations of it from the beginning of the 20th century until today, in a new light. The exposition uncovers the concept of amber in many aspects – amber as an art object, as a design element, as a brand name, as a place name, as a personal name phenomenon, as a souvenir, as the inspirer of literary texts and so on. The exhibition showcases design items, paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations, animations, as well as household items, souvenirs, amateur photographs, various texts, songs, and much more.
The exhibition presents exhibits from a number of Latvian museum collections, with an emphasis on the art and design items in the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design. Museum specialists have also undertaken research work at the National Archives of Latvia’s State Archive of Audiovisual Documents and the Latvian Television Archive. Fragments from documentaries and advertising videos from various periods which were obtained there supplement the exposition.
Painter Edgars Iltners’ canvas “Dzintara meklētāji” (“The Amber Seekers”, 1959), which is currently in the collection of the Liepāja Museum, was one of the sources of inspiration for the exhibition. A number of Latvian artists were invited to familiarise themselves with the research materials, which inspired them to create works especially for the “Epoch of Amber” project. Ieva Iltnere, Sandra Krastiņa, Liene and Maija Mackus, Māris Maskalāns, Modris Sapuns, Andris Vītoliņš and Ivars Drulle participate in the exhibition.
More information about the project is available here:
* “The Amber of Tutankhamun”
(Art Museum Riga Bourse, the 15th of November until the 25th of January)
“The Amber of Tutaknhamun” is an international exhibition project bringing together the Ancient Egyptian art collections of various world museums. The exhibition is one of the most ambitious projects of the “Amber Vein” thematic line of “Riga 2014” Programme, and it marks the most distant point of the Amber Road – Egypt. The main partners in the project are the National Museum of Cairo, the Čiurlionis National Museum of Art (Kaunas) and the Regional Archaeological Museum of Potenza, Italy. Scientific consultation will be provided by the Ancient Egypt Department of the Louvre. Also involved are the University of Latvia, the Latvian Embassy in Cairo as well as French archaeologists.
The exhibition is dedicated to the culture of Ancient Egypt, which will be presented as interplay between the latest technology and ancient artefacts. The exhibition consists of objects from the Ancient Egyptian cult of the afterlife that accompanied the dead for a full life in the next world. The idea of the exhibition is centred around a small piece of amber, the symbol of the Sun god Ra, which was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.
The Tutankhamun Amber is a bridge between the real and the imagined. It is a vision of the past. Technologies of the future allow our eyes to see things that exist in realities but which are not in space. On the other hand, with classical museum-like reverence, we can become acquainted with real and exceptionally valuable artefacts in a concrete space although they were intended for a different environment and time.
* Solo Exhibition by ORLAN “The Icon of the French Contemporary Art. Plan du Film and Other Scenarios”
(Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, from the 8th of November to the 31st of January 2015)
For the first time in Latvia, the exhibition offers the opportunity to meet one of the contemporary art icons, the French artist ORLAN. An artist whose work is always controversial and pushing the traditional boundaries: between classical art and technological innovation, academic values and elements of popular culture, the beautiful and the ugly, male and female perceptions, etc. The personality of ORLAN is always in the limelight, and it is through this publicity that the artist expresses her principles and strives to overcome violence, gender discrimination, masculine ideology, racism, xenophobia and other “roots of all evil”.
The exhibition in Riga will showcase the artist on quest in the world of visual arts and cinematic transformations based on static and moving images, realty and fiction, glorification of the autonomy of the artist’s personality, and irony at the standards of the marketing machinery of the advertising industry. Being at the forefront of contemporary art, ORLAN has nonetheless never cut the “umbilical cord” connecting her to the heritage of classical art. The artist’s works contain countless references to classical antiquity, medieval era, renaissance, baroque, and the aesthetics of surrealism. In addition, ORLAN employs the forms and conventions of carnival rituals, and the phenomenon of celluloid in the real and fictional film world.
More information about the exhibition is available here:
* “Surprising Lace”
(St. Peter’s Church, from the 11th of November to the 18th of January)
“Surprising Lace” is a story of the connection between the traditional (folk art) and the contemporary (social networks, architecture, design, and intercultural dialogue).
Lace can be admired in nature – in the veins of a leaf and in spider-webs, in widow frost and intricate loops of rivers from a bird’s eye view, as well as in the creations of humans. Culture is the strongest network connecting the nations. “Surprising Lace” is an ornamental bridge of culture connecting Riga and Europe. Exhibitions, lectures, workshops…
More information about the project is available here:
* “In Search of Future Art. Voldemārs Matvejs and non-European (African, Pacific, North Asian) Art”
(Great Exhibition Hall of the Art Museum Riga Bourse, the exhibition will run until the 26th of October)
The exhibition “In Search of Future Art. Voldemārs Matvejs and non-European (African, Pacific, North Asian) Art” showcases around a hundred photographs by Voldemārs Matvejs (read the article “Archaeology of Future Art. Who was Voldemārs Matvejs?” here) from the collections of the Latvian National Library and the Information Centre of the Art Academy of Latvia. Along the photo images are displayed more than thirty sculptures from the said regions, which have come from the collections of the leading European museums such as the Branly Museum in Paris, the Leiden National Ethnographic Museum, and Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg.
The main exhibition is accompanied by the exhibition in the Bose Hall “The Voldemārs Matvejs book “Negro Art” and Latvian Artists”, which presents the importance of Matvejs’ theoretical ideas for the development of the artistic practise of such artists as Marta Liepiņa-Skulme, Aleksandra Beļcova, Romāns Suta, Niklāvs Strunke, Ģederts Eliass, Emīls Melderis and others. Furthermore, the exhibition showcases a collection of wooden sculptures that sculptor Jānis Strupulis created at the beginning of the 1970s, inspired by Voldemārs Matvejs’ writings about African art. The exhibition includes paintings, graphics and sculptures from the collections of the Latvian National Museum of Art, Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Museum of Aleksandra Beļcova and Romans Suta, Ģederts Eliass Museum of History and Art in Jelgava, Literature and Music Museum, and several private collections.
* “Gustavs Klucis. The Anatomy of an Experiment”
(LNMA exhibition hall “Arsenāls”, the exhibition will run until the 26th of October)
A comprehensive retrospective of works by the outstanding Latvian artist Gustavs Klucis (read the article “An Exhibition of European Magnitude. The Story of Gustavs Klucis” here) will be on view at the “Arsenāls” exhibition hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art until the 26th of October 2014. The exhibition is part of the “Riga 2014” Programme.
The name of Gustavs Klucis (1895-1938) is often heard in European museums, but the world-famous constructivist’s links with Latvia often go unsaid. However, it is essential for Riga, as the European Cultural Capital in 2014, to tell complete stories about Latvians who have contributed significantly to European culture.
The title of the exhibition reflects Gustavs Klucis’ belief that every artist has the right to an experiment, as Klucis wrote in the mid-1930s when the artist had to defend himself from incessant accusations of being a formalist and having to prove that his creative work was in line with the dogma of Socialist Realism.