Finally, a real home is discovered
"Vija Vētra has her 90th birthday this year. I promised her firmly to curate the exhibition of hers. We will start with a small exposition, and then we will see if Vija wishes to make some additional changes. In summers, she works in Latvia as she always does," comments Dzintars Zilgalvis, the new project curator who is also the manager of "Noass". He reminds that those works that had been showed at "Noass" a few years ago were also put at Naive Art Museum. "It was some kind of a side project or even an introducing event to Andrejsala as the cultural island. Now the Museum is located at its own private home, "Noass" and "Betanovuss". We are opposite Old Riga view. Besides, it's the very central location of Riga."
By the way, "Es Būšu muzejā" ("I Will be at the museum") is a motto of Naive Art Museum principal collection dedicated to Riga as The European Capital of Culture supporting a creative society. It is noted that "I" and "Will" should definitely be written with block letters.
"We finally have our white walls for exhibitions instead of just the one made of some boards. Now there is a space created specially for art events, the way it should be," tells Zilgalvis explaining why only the principal collection is open for now. "It's this narrow way-out, please, be careful with the sculptures! Those are quite fragile," says Zilgalvis to those guys who bring wooden sculptures up to the 2nd floor.
Places for art interaction
The Museum will be open every day from 12:00 to 18:00. "We thought about closing on Mondays. Now it seems we won't have any holidays. Visitors are invited every day. Though visual arts is our top priority, another small stage will be put in the next room. "Laiks dejot" ("It's time to dance"), contemporary dance festival created by Olga Žitluhina is still ongoing, other activities will be available soon. It was our main strategy, to interact with visual arts, acting, dance and music.
We will try to keep the tradition of an artist's ability to work in different spheres rather than just enjoying music or theatre alone.
Zilgalvis is proud that the new space is wide enough to show fifty sculptures and paintings. A hold and two floors are available for them, the second one is newly built. He also notes that there is another motto added to the collection, it's about naive art in the context of contemporary art. "It's the most important for us. Nobody is discredited. Creativity stands above all else, it's the creativity that matters! I think it's what makes life interesting."
Sweet, nice and close to the heart
What is the definition of naive art? Do professional artists work in this genre, or it doesn't matter who you are? "There is no such thing as naive art or serious art. It's either art or it's not. I would say, it is a creative expression. Many artists, so called naivists, worked in 20th century beginning. Now they are a part of Art history. It was first established by the French. Now it seems that every European city museum is curating naive art exhibitions.
In fact many artists from abroad have given their pieces to Naive Art Museum. So it's not just Latvian artists. "We have Europe, Israel, America, so the collection is quite big at this moment. We are going to change those works later," promises Zilgalvis telling that even a well-known poet Jāzeps Osmanis used to make some naive art pieces.
"Nobody has really resented because of the name "naive art". It's most likely to introduce people to something sweet, nice and close to their hearts. Maybe a bit connected to literature. That's the explanation."
When Riga becomes The European Capital of Culture, Naive Art Museum exposition might be showed at so called "Stūra māja" ("Corner's House"). However, it won't be a permanent museum. "Exposition will be open only in summer. It seems that the house won't have any heating. Still, we have a beautiful collection of works we can show in there. It's called "Par spīti visam" ("In spite of everything") because many authors have survived wars, working camps and The Soviet Union repressions. In spite of that, those art pieces seem so light and optimistic as if nothing ever happened. When asked about this phenomenon, artists said: "We would not survive all those prison years in a pesimistic mood..the exhibition will be just great."