Major art exhibition on First WW theme being organised

Major art exhibition on First WW theme being organised
10-10-2012 A+ A-
On 10 October the international scientific conference “1914 on Freedom Street [Brīvības iela]” marked the opening of one of the most important 2014 European Capital of Culture programme projects organised by the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) and the French Institute in Latvia, implemented under the Freedom Street chapter.

The project’s central event will be an art exhibition 1914 in the LNMA’s Arsenāls exhibition hall at the beginning of 2014. The exhibition will be a compilation of visual art testimonies about the First World War as a reference point for Europe’s historical, social and cultural development in the 20th century. In turn, the international scientific conference “1914 on Freedom Street” is being organised with a view to promoting public discussion on issues concerning European identity and history, power and freedom, the relationships between war and people and how these have been expressed in the visual arts.

“Rigans’ memories and feelings about historical events and the human destinies they affect are kept alive by cultural processes and works of art. War has its own reflections in the European cultural code having destroyed and forced complete reconstruction. The works of art inspired by major conflicts are amazingly humane and expressive and Latvian culture is unthinkable without the influence of these events. Therefore, themes of war, power and freedom in art are a fundamental part of the European Capital of Culture events for the 2014 programme” emphasises Rīga 2014 Director Diāna Čivle.

“To date, exhibitions about war have been the aegis of historians. The project we have launched places great responsibility on the Art Museum. This will also be a story about war – about the true costs of war and its consequences. But we will tell the story with our own, visual media” explains project manager Ginta Gerharde-Upeniece.

Project Manager Ginta Gerharde-Upeniece:

“Our conclusions, having seen artworks and held discussions in art museums in the Balkans, as well as in Helsinki and Prague: we share a very strong and related sensibility – pride in our national identity as states, shared memories of the presence of major powers. We are kindred spirits with Balkan artists in our interpretation of modernism, both our and Balkan artists have themselves participated in these events, artists fought in real wars, the direct presence of war is a shared experience and we are related in this context. We gained our independence through World War I, the world heard about us. Latvia and its culture jumped onto the European bandwagon, whose ‘passengers’ are united by their personal, national, all of Europe’s experiences. Our Eastern European colleagues have indicated their agreement to participate in the 2014 exhibition.”

Projects are included in the European Capital of Culture programme to reveal Rīga’s and Latvia’s belonging to the common values of European culture at a new degree of quality. In 2014, the whole world’s attention will be on marking the centenary of the start of the First World War.

The idea behind the 1914 exhibition is to combine works by famous European artists reflecting their vision of the First World War with a major contemporary art installation. An education programme on the start of the First World War and its heritage will be run before and during the exhibition.


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