“Laidi Legends” is an art event at the PAiR residence in Pāvilosta, where Ieva Epnere exhibits her video works and photographs. In the autumn of 2021, the artist spent two weeks at the “Kuldīga Municipality Creative Artists’ Residence”, staying in the right wing of Laidi School and getting to know people and their skills, as well as started weaving tapestry on the Laidi loom herself.
Ieva Epnere was interested in the non-material evidence of the past and the Spirit of this place revealed in legends. From this, the idea for a play was born that was performed at the Laidi School’s centenary gathering, which was postponed by one year due to the pandemic.
By cooperating with the school dramatic group and inviting the choreographer Elīna Gediņa, five “Laidi Legends” plays were created. About the white lady, the Countess of Laidi, who wanders around the castle due to unfulfilled love as a reproach to prejudices and greed in different social groups. About the foundation sacrifice, or the blood sacrifice of Valtaiķi Church, which is necessary so that the building does not collapse. For the best place in the ravine near the Rudzīši stone where marigolds flourish. About the mystical 70-metre abyss in the middle of the forest where Turlava, Snēpele and Laidi border, and the marsh sedge feeds on the passions of territorial interests. About the red cow that appears once in a hundred years from which money can be shaken.
In the flames of the Russian revolution of 1905, Kazdanga Castle, belonging to the owners of the Laidi manor burnt down. In Laidi, farmers were beaten. The censor Remiķis who came from Laidi shortly before Tsar Nicholas II’s manifesto on freedom of speech had passed through censorship the drama tale “The Silver Veil” written by Aspazija in which the main character, Guna, sets fire to the royal palace with a red veil. The White German newspaper “Düna-Zeitung” (1905, 221) wrote indignantly about the provocation in the New Latvian Theatre. The theatre mingled with life. About 450 German-Baltic castles and manors were burnt down. The buried gold of the censor Remiķis, mentioned in one of the legends, is nowhere to be found.
The information from the Ministry of Education shows that in the last twenty-three years, more than 400 schools have been closed in Latvia; Laidi School was closed with fireworks.
The artist Ieva Epnere, together with the cameraman Valdis Celmiņš, continues to work on the documentary film about the last semester of Laidi School in which the celebration and farewell were mixed in a symmetrical inversion.
About the artist:
Ieva Epnere (born in 1977 in Liepāja) graduated from the Visual Communication Department of the Latvian Academy of Arts (2003), Textile Art Department (2001) and postgraduate studies at HISK in Ghent (2012). Ieva Epnere creates photographs, textile works, video installations and films in which personal and private stories are the starting point for artistic reflections on identity, traditions and rituals. Since 1998, she participates in exhibitions in Latvia and abroad. Ieva Epnere received the Purvītis Award 2019 for her work “The Sea of Living Memories”, she is a DAAD, and The Berliner Künstlerprogramm scholarship receiver in Berlin (2019-2020). Ieva Epnere has had exhibitions in several art residencies, the most recent of which are DAAD, Berlin (2019/2020), Iaspis, Stockholm (2018), Fogo Island Arts, Fogo, Canada (2017, 2018), ISCP, New York (2016). Currently, Ieva Epnere teaches composition and photography at ISSP School and Liepāja Music, Art and Design High School.
The author of the exhibition text: Anita Vanaga
Exhibition project manager: Līna Birzaka-Priekule
The exhibition is open from 27 August to 30 October
The exhibition is supported by: VV Foundation, Kurzeme planning region, Kuldīga Municipality,
Kuldīga Artists’ Residence, LG and VKKF
On August 6 at 4 pm, we look forward to welcoming you to the discussion Art and science: a match looking for heaven which will take place at the PAiR residency in Pāvilosta.
“Interdisciplinary” has now been a buzzword for long enough in order to evaluate its merits. The intersection and cooperation between art and science has been a fruitful endeavour, but it certainly has more potential. This discussion will try to examine and identify the best (and worst) approaches in using science in art (and vice versa) and determine what we can do to facilitate those. Three current residents of the PAiR Residency (Voldemārs Johansons, Kristīne Krauze-Slucka, Lidija Zaneripa) all work heavily in the intersection between art and science, and prof. Antoine Reserbat-Plantey will provide a perspective of a scientist who has addressed these issues.
Participants: Kristīne Krauze – Slucka (LV), Lidija Zaneripa (LV), Antoine Reserbat-Plantey (FR), Voldemārs Johansons (LV)
Moderator: Helmuts Caune (LV)
The discussion will also take place on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vv.foundation/
The discussion will be in English.
The discussion is supported by: VKKF and Kurzeme Cultural Programme 2022
From 9 July to 14 August, the PAiR residence gallery in Pāvilosta will host a solo exhibition of the artist Voldemars Johansons “Storm Sees No Colour”. The starting point of the exhibition can be found in the artist’s expeditions to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. In it, Johansons explores the ways to look at this part of the planet affected by climate change from a point of view in which the experience of observing the physical environment and landscapes has already been partially transferred to the realm of virtual reality technologies.
The ecosystems of northern Norway, the Faroe Islands and the Svalbard Archipelago are experiencing rapid changes, and even the most conservative forecasts indicate that the North Pole’s ice sheet will melt completely in summers in the foreseeable future. In it, Johansons explores the ways to look at this part of the planet affected by climate change from a point of view in which the experience of observing the physical environment and landscapes has already been partially transferred to the realm of virtual reality technologies.
The first part of the exhibition took place in the ISSP Gallery in Riga, in 2021. For the exhibition in the PAiR gallery, new works have been created through which the audience is invited to sense the relationship between humanity and untouched nature, feeling the arctic breath, sound and majesty. Thematically, the “Storm Sees No Colour” exhibition continues Johansons’ studies of the interaction between the physical world and human experience, which he started in his earlier works.
Voldemars Johansons (1980) is a composer and artist who in his creative practice combines interest in visuality, sound and science. His installations and compositions are based on data created by the analysis of environmental phenomena with a scientific approach. Johansons studied electronic music composition at the Sonology Institute of the Hague Royal Conservatory. His works have been exhibited in many places around the world, including the Venice Biennale of Architecture, the ArtGENDA art project (Hamburg), the Ruhrtriennale (Bochum), the BOZAR art centre (Brussels), TodaysArt (Hague), Skaņu Mežs (Riga), Unsound (Krakow), the STEIM studio (Amsterdam) festivals, Wroclaw Media Art Biennale, Ars Electronica Center (Linz) and elsewhere.
Text: Eva Johansone
On 9 July, a tour with the artist Voldemars Johansons will take place at the exhibition.
The exhibition is organised by: VV Foundation
Cooperation partner of the exhibition: ISSP Gallery
The exhibition is supported by: VKKF and Kurzeme Cultural Programme 2022
This year, from 28 May to 30 October, a contemporary art exhibition programme shall be
implemented in VV Foundation PAiR Residence gallery in Pāvilosta (Ernesta Šneidera laukums
11). Until 27 June, the exhibition of artist duo Skuja Braden “Acs ābola dzīru mielasts” (Feast your
Eye) will be on display at the gallery; in July and August, the exhibition of Voldemārs Johansons
will be on display, while at the end of summer, the visitors will be able to see the new works of Ieva
Skuja Braden – an artist duo, which was jointly established in 1999 by Inguna Skuja from Latvia
and Melissa D. Braden from California – is a rather uncommon phenomenon in the art space of
Latvia as a result of direct and critical messages, as well as a baroque-like intensive and lavishly
bright form of expression. “Feast your eye” offers an outlook on the world from the point of view
that is cleared from usual opinions, normative dictate, cliches and prejudice – the eyeball has
become the main hero and its tears about the hypocrisy and evil of the world are transformed into
clear and bouncy notes as they hit the surface of the singing bowl. This year, the artists are
representing Latvia at the International Art Exhibition – 59 th Venice Biennale.
The curator of the exhibition is Solvita Krese.
From 8 July to 21 August, the exhibition “Vētra neredz krāsu” (Storm Sees no Colour) by
Voldemārs Johansons will take place. Voldemārs Johansons is among the infrequent artists of
Latvia, who in the most direct way synthesises forms of visual art, technologies and procedural
research of nature. The starting point for the exhibition lies in the expeditions of the author to the
arctic regions of the Northern hemisphere — Northern Norway, the Faroe Islands and the Svalbard
Archipelago. These ecosystems are subject to rapid changes and even tentative forecasts bear
evidence that the melting of the North Pole ice cap is expected in the foreseeable future. At the
exhibition displayed at the gallery, Johansons will examine the ways of viewing this part of the
planet affected by climate change from the point of view, where the experience of observing
physical environment and landscape has been partially transferred into the area of virtual reality
technologies. In his exhibition at PAiR gallery, Voldemārs Johansons will display his newest video
work “Ūdeņradis” (Hydrogen), where the author continues to research the perception and
experience of sound in connection with the environment and ecology. Photographs and an object
made of coal, as well as new location-tagged photos that will be taken in Pāvilosta during the
residence of the artist there will be displayed to create a dialogue with the existing work that is
based on art research.
Meanwhile, from 26 August to 30 October, a personal exhibition of the Purvītis Prize winner of
2019, Ieva Epnere, will be organised, where the work of Epnere “Dzīvo atmiņu jūra” (Sea of Living
Memories), which received the Purvītis Prize in 2019, will be displayed. In this work, Epnere addresses the precarious nature of identity, as a reaction to post-Soviet society development processes. In the hands of Epnere, fiction becomes a valuable tool to research the awareness of the human being and open identity as a hybrid of made-up myths and historical narratives. The military heritage of the Baltic coast is an object of special interest – she researches the fate of the former military personnel and local residents, who were brought up in the conditions of the Soviet regime and are currently facing the new social reality. The region of Pāvilosta and people living here play a special role in this research. Furthermore, an absolutely new work is being created especially for the exhibition. The exhibition is organised in co-operation with Kim? Contemporary Art Centre.
PAiR gallery is open to visitors from Friday to Sunday, from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. Entrance
is free of charge.
On other days, the exhibition is open for visits when making a prior arrangement by calling the
phone number +371 25456164.
The exhibition programme is supported by: SCCF, Kurzeme Culture Programme 2022 and Latvia’s
From 28 May to 27 June, the PAIR Residence Gallery in Pāvilosta will host the exhibition of the artist duo Skuja Braden “Acs ābola dzīru mielasts” (Feast your Eye).
Skuja Braden is an artist duo created in 1999 by Inguna Skuja from Latvia and Melissa D. Braden from California. It is a rather unusual phenomenon for the Latvian art scene, thanks to both direct and critical messages and the baroque intensity, as well as the insatiably bright form of expression.
At the Venice Biennale, you can see how organically and precisely the exposition created by Skuja Braden in the Latvian pavilion fits into the topic of the biennial, the true tone of which is set by newly discovered powerful and surprising artists working within the framework of surrealism who have been set aside on the last pages of history for a long time. Therefore, I cannot resist the temptation to think of Skuja Braden’s works in the context of the use of surreal language. In the works of these artists, reality is reversed and distorted, dreams and imagination merge with reality, references to mass culture and history alternate with their own mythology and vision.
“Acs ābola dzīru mielasts” (Feast your Eye) offers to look at the world without the application of usual notions, norms, clichés and prejudices — the eyeball has become the main character, whose tears of the world’s hypocrisy and evil turn into clear and springy notes, hitting the surface of the singing bowl.
Geisha, Marilyn, aliens, a young woman, the Buddha and other favourite characters of Skuja Braden are at the ceremonial feast table, affirming the possibility of an inclusive world in which the ideas of feminism coexist quite well with Buddhist theory, in which traditional gender roles do not exist, the distinction between a man and nature disappears, and in which the apples also have eyes.
Text: Solvita Krese
On 28 May at 4:00 P.M. tour at the exhibition with Skuja Braden and Solvita Krese.
On 29 May at 11:00 A.M. Solvita Krese’s lecture on the history of the Venice Biennale and the current 59th Venice Biennale exposition “Selling Water by the River”.
The exhibition is organised by: VV Foundation
Exhibition curator: Solvita Krese
The exhibition is supported by: VKKF and Kurzeme Cultural Programme 2022
From April 1 until May 15, 2022 an exhibition “Sadura”, dedicated to expanded painting is on view at the PAiR residency gallery (E. Šneidera laukums 11, Pāvilosta). The show includes works by Jānis Dzirnieks, Andris Eglītis, Sarmīte Māliņa, Elza Sīle, Jānis Šneiders and Aija Zariņa from the collection of VV Foundation. Curator of the exhibition is Auguste Petre. The central focus of the exhibition is the dialogue that has been developed though the notion of expanded painting – questions and answers about relations that exist between particular pieces of art, between art media, and between painting and the 21st century. Questions and answers existing between those artists of different generations, that have found themselves in one room.
Expanded painting is a concept raised in the world history of arts more than 70 years ago, as artists and art theorists revalued the disappearance of the formal boundaries of painting, the almost literal merger of this medium with sculpture, object art and various expressions of conceptualism, including performing arts. As innovative media have been established, the role of painting has been subject to revaluation and discussion several times – Latvia has not been an exception either, where this medium is perceived as “traditional” and failing to comply with the notion of “contemporary” art. There was a period, when a timid idea occurred, which stated that the era of painting had gone and, in the nearest future, it would be replaced by virtuality with its limitless boundaries.
However, reality shows that the options of painting are also limitless and extensions of painting can be found everywhere. The selection of different material (dirt and mud in the works of A. Eglītis, epoxy resin in the objectual paintings of J. Dzirnieks; wooden boards used by S. Māliņa and J. Šneiders; metal and toothpaste in the creative practice of E. Sīle; or canvas and oil in the painting of A. Zariņa) is only one of the techniques at the disposal of the artist, in order to develop and expand technique. The importance of painting is no longer hidden in the form and content alone; currently technical versatility, awareness of colour and composition have been put on a pedestal alongside the former. Do not live without painting, everything is small without it.
The concept of this exhibition has been designed as a dialogue of three pairs of artists – mutual communication or extensions of art within the “white cube” of PAiR gallery consist of the works from the collection of VV Foundation by Andris Eglītis and Jānis Dzirnieks, Elza Sīle and Aija Zariņa, as well as Sarmīte Māliņa and Jānis Šneiders. Each of these artists addresses the notion of painting and space differently, but all of them are united by appreciation of the architectonics of visual arts and expansion of media. Meanwhile the composition of the exhibition reveals that a dialogue is maintained by all pieces of art jointly and colour can be considered as an unequivocal initiative for this communication.
The word “Sadura” used in the title is borrowed from the building sector, where this word is used to denote the site of connection of two elements of construction. In the context of the exhibition, this emphasises painting as an opportunity for establishing contemporary thought and visualisation, as well as the need for the expansion of inclusive communication, not only between art and the observer, but between different media as well.
Considering current political situation and Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine, VV Foundation has decided to support artists and other creatives from Ukraine, offering PAiR residency space.
We strongly believe that this is the time to support Ukraine citizens in any possible way and exactly this is why we are inviting Ukrainian creatives to live and create in a supportive community in Pāvilosta. We will be able host up to 4 artists in March and 4 artists in April.
The PAiR residency offers a studio, living space, access to library and gallery, we will provide administrative support and, if necessary, materials, tools and research resources. The PAiR residency will cover travel costs to and from Pāvilosta, as well as accommodation. VV Foundation will also help with relocation, legal matters and all the related costs.
To apply please send CV and portfolio to email@example.com
In 2020 VV Foundation founded the first independent creative residency in Latvia called “PaiR”. It is a space for inventive encounters, where artists, researchers, and curators can develop their projects in a stimulating, distraction-free environment of interdisciplinary dialogue. A point of intersection between humans and nature, the local and the global, cutting-edge practices and age-old traditions, PAiR is a place where new meanings emerge via creative experiments and interdisciplinary knowledge-sharing. Diverse in terms of their backgrounds, interests and disciplines represented, our residents are outstanding professionals who share a common passion for creating new meanings — a passion that has driven VV Foundation since its inception. With the great support of Nordic Culture Point, PAiR open call residents have been working on new projects that are dedicated to researching Pāvilosta’s surroundings and its cultural-natural phenomena. Touching upon a variety of issues, including the organization and programming of artist residencies, the participants of discussion share their experience of working in residencies of various formats in different countries, they explain the limitations that they have to cope with, as well as the advantages and unexpected circumstances an art residency can provide. We especially focus on the question of how can we create an environment where artist presence and site-specific works of art can engage with the local community and how to incorporate the goals of the residency into the scope of one’s individual artistic tasks. Also, we specifically discuss the development of the new projects that artists have been developing during the residency.
Discussion moderator: Curator and art historian Līna Birzaka- Priekule
Participants, PAiR residents: Sabīne Šnē from Latvia, Sille Kima from Estonia and Rasmus Myrup from Denmark.
Introduction: The Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia Stefan Eriksson and the Founder of VV Foundation and PAiR residency Vita Liberte
From December 18, 2021 till February 18, 2022 a group show “∞”, in which different generations Latvian artists have turned to reflections of tradition and nature in their contemporary practice, will be on view at the PAiR gallery. In exhibition participates Maija Purgaile, Pēteris Sidars, Mareunrols and Hele, and the Pāvilosta weavers group “Lumstiņš”. Curator of the show is Hele.
Saule auda audeklīnu
Zelta šķiets, vara nītes,
(The sun wove a fabric
On the shore of the lake:
A reed of gold, copper heddles,
A shuttle of silver.)
/Latvian folk song/
Latvian folk art is essentially rooted in observation of nature and natural processes. Cosmic rhythms, change of seasons, every natural event is woven in the form of patterns and motifs into various fabrics – belts, blankets, hair bands and towels. Many contemporary professional artists also draw from this same source of inspiration preserving the typical feature of the Latvian soul. This was the underlying principle in the work of the founder of Latvian professional textile art school Rūdolfs Heimrāts – in his creative work and in his work as a professor at the Art Academy of Latvia. Combination of the traditional and the contemporary is what became the foundation for the professional textile art in Latvia. Two artists participating in this exhibition – Pēteris Sidars and Maija Purgaile – also belong to the so-called school of Rūdolfs Heimrāts, which was formed during the period from the 60s to the 80s of the last century.
Since ancient times weaving has symbolically been associated with the great natural laws of existence. Even the smallest part, i.e. each warp yarn, each thread, is important and can give impetus to something greater, something unknown.
In the same way we begin to prepare for winter in spring, we also prepare for the next life during our lives. Could it be like the infinity, the rules of which we learn only after death, before our birth in a space of light somewhere in between, where time exists no more? Could it be that we can look back on all we have done, think it over, learn there and later even without a memory of it maybe keep a fragment of eternity unconsciously inside of us, growing in each life spiritually, becoming stronger and developing ourselves?
We are all like a filling yarn in the cosmos, strong or weak, with deeper values or without them, golden, silver or aluminium, or maybe even a synthetic yarn. We are all a part of this world, which is like a large fabric. During the time of each life we intertwine with other yarns and create something unique and wonderful. And we also are and will always be inseparable from the yarns of the earth and nature itself. Could the fabric become more beautiful and strong, if it is natural, formed under the light of the sun?
To sum it up I would like to quote Jānis Poruks, “At the heart of poetry (also art accordingly) is beauty and moral, not just simple, practical moral, bet particularly transcendent moral, which comes into being, when the man asks questions about reasons and purposes of the general will in nature… The role the Sun fulfils in macrocosm is the role fulfilled by love in microcosm. They both are creators, both are at the centre and everything revolves around them. Like the sun is everything to the world, so love gives the man the highest meaning..in a word, love is the spirit of the Sun itself.”
On December 18 and 19 open doors will take place at the PAiR residency from 11 AM till 5 PM.
Exhibition is supported by VV Foundation and Pāvilostas Local History Museum.
Exhibition of works by Leonhard Lapin, an Estonian artist, architect and theorist, will be on display at the PAiR Residence Gallery in Pāvilosta until 31 October 2021.
The exhibition in the gallery hall features a series of graphic works by Lapin created in 1971, in collaboration with the artist’s wife, Sirje Runge, at the centre of which is bodily expression and a muted sense of eroticism. The laconic works reflect Lapin’s interest in the conceptual, the geometric and the abstract, as well as art styles such as pop art and readymade, which became relevant in L. Lapin’s work in the late 1960s. At the same time, the delicacy of the series of works and the precision similar to a drawing indicate the artist’s relationship with architecture.
It is exactly the 1970s that can be considered a turning point in Lapin’s work: while sex and eroticism remain taboo in the former Soviet Union, the Western world looks on avant-garde and eroticism art as a self-evident cultural unit. In the 1970s, Leonhard Lapin participated in several major group exhibitions around the world, including in the Vienna Graphics Biennial (1973, 1975), the Joan Miro Prize Exhibition (Barcelona, 1973), the Tokyo Print Biennial (1974), and the New York Print Biennial (1977).
Leonhard Lapin (1947) is an Estonian avant-garde artist, architect, writer, art and architecture theorist and designer. Lapin has created about 200 architectural projects and several thousand works of art of various techniques, as well as compiled 24 books on the theory of art and architecture. He has also published 16 collections of poetry under the pseudonym Albert Trapež. Leonhard Lapin has organised more than 100 exhibitions, including several major group projects around the world.
The exhibition is organised by the VV Foundation.
The gallery is located in a historic wooden building on E. Šneiders Square, built in 1901 and completely renovated in 2021. PAiR Residence in Pāvilosta is an international and interdisciplinary place for creative people – artists and other professionals – where time, space and other resources are provided for research, experimentation and professional development. The aim of the Residence is to promote the emergence of various new art forms based on world research and reflection, bringing together professionals from different fields and promoting intercultural cooperation, interdisciplinary knowledge and the promotion of such art studies that are related to a certain location.
PAiR residency invites art, culture and humanities professionals active in various fields and roles (artists, curators, researchers, thinkers, writers and others) exclusively from or based in Baltic and Nordic states to apply for its second open call. The residency program will take place from November 1 till December 30 2021 and will be dedicated to researching Pāvilosta’s surroundings and its cultural-natural dynamics. Animals, plants and other life forms exist in a permanent state of development and reproduction. The cycle of seasons features moments of growth and withdrawal whose succession might be looked at in association to creative or performative gestures and positions.
We welcome application proposals who develop and engage with agencies, practices and methods cultivating sustainable ways of being that draw from natural processes and rhythms. We aim at exploring the diverse socio-environmental landscape of Pāvilosta, engaging with its rich fauna and flora as well as its particular community and history. Structured as an open-ended process, PAiR welcomes the possibility of public presentation formats which would share the experience at the residency with others.
Two Latvian and two international professionals citizens of or based in Baltic and Nordic countries (countries included: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden) will be selected to participate in the residency program.
To apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org a single PDF containing a conceptual presentation of the project you would like to develop during the residency (no more than 5000 characters) with an indication on whether the specific project is research or process based and whether you require specific conditions and equipment (workshops, materials, etc.). Application should also include an indication of the desired residency period (from 1 up to 2 months), your portfolio and CV. All applications must be received no later September 20.
All residents are welcome to get involved in the PAiR residency educational program. Applications will be considered by the VV Foundation team, in collaboration with an expert from the culture field and residency curator João Laia.
PAiR residency offers a studio, living space, access to library and gallery, curatorial support (at least 2 organised studio visits), provides administrative support and, if necessary, workshops, materials, tools and research resources. PAiR Residency will cover the travel costs to and from Pāvilosta as well as accommodation and administrative support. Residents from the Nordic countries will also receive per diems.
Place and building:
PAiR residency is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea in Pāvilosta. The 500 km long coastline has played an important role in Latvia’s geography, culture and politics and has affected the habits and traditions of local inhabitants. PAiR is located in a 42-hectare area of Grey Dune, the largest dune in Latvia. The residency is situated in a historic wooden building, built in 1901 and fully restored in 2021. The building includes four separate rooms for residents, two studios for creative work, library with several workspaces, an art gallery, as well as a weaving studio used by Pāvilosta local weavers. Each separate room will be supplied with all necessary facilities. There is a shared kitchen and dining room in the building.
PAiR follows Covid-19 national and international regulations. VV Foundation will be in touch directly with each of the selected residents prior their arrival to the PAiR residency.
The PAiR Residency open call program is supported by Nordic Culture Point.
From 5 July till 15 August 2021, the exhibition LOGOS of the text group “Orbīta” will be on display at the PAiR Residence Gallery, in Pāvilosta, E. Šneidera laukums 11.
Windows as dictionaries, windows as logos. In its small, entirely summery work, which depends directly on the sun and its activity, the Orbit reflects the relationship between the inner and the outer as a dazzling interplay of word and meaning.
Text group “Orbīta” (Artūrs Punte, Vladimirs Svetlovs, Sergejs Timofejevs and Aleksandrs Zapoļs) is an association of poets, photographers, sound and multimedia artists, who have been involved in the cultural life of Latvia since 1999, creating performances and installations, publishing bilingual collections and organizing poetry video, contemporary art and multimedia exhibitions. In 2015, text group “Orbīta” participated in the exhibition “Ornamentālisms” (Ornamentalism) within the parallel program of the Venice Biennale with the installation “Divi soneti no Laputas” (Two Sonnets from Laputa), in 2016 the group went on a performance and reading tour in the USA, and were also among the participants of the first Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art. Text group “Orbīta” has received prizes in various book art competitions, the Annual Award of the Latvian Literature and has been nominated twice for Purvītis Prize.
Recent exhibitions and performances:
“I once made an illegal public sculpture in Omaha center in the USA. It was planned as a typical symbol of Western culture – a red, geometrically abstract formation located in each city, remaining unnoticed by everyone. It worked well, even the landowner, who had noticed it, only ordered it to be removed a month later. In the meantime, I watched the sculpture every night as I wanted to see what it was doing, when no one was around.” – Krišs Salmanis
The exhibition “Side View” by Krišs Salmanis is open from June 5 until July 1 at PAiR Gallery in Pāvilosta.
“The multi-dimensional art installation “Side view” by Krišs Salmanis balances on the border of pure truth and absurdity, constantly provoking the viewer to understand the meaning of the red “Western” sculpture. The work provokes a number of essentially logical questions that at first might seem too naive: what does the particular object symbolise? is it really possible that it went unnoticed for so long? and, if it went unnoticed, how is it possible to determine the sculpture’s interaction with the environment?
The different dimensions of the work are revealed through these issues, which offer different views, viewing opportunities and beliefs. Art is a “place” for discussion, because it does not provide only one correct answer, therefore the illegal placement of a sculpture in a public space, in this case, does not speak of the artist as a rule breaker, who dares to challenge the viewer’s feelings (according to the formula “what actually is art”). “Side view” is rather proof of the hyperbolisation of humanism in egocentrism and how little we really are interested in delving deeper into the surrounding environment, processes, and stories. It is no longer about ignoring art, or displaying it in “places not intended for it” (because, what actually is a place not intended for art?) – it is about the simple ability of holding attention.
The installation of such a work is challenging in itself, but it is even more challenging to maintain the neutrality of the sculpture, allowing it to be “invisible”. Here it is – the provocation. Balancing on the border of truth and the absurd actually means the organic fusion, where the absurd proves the truth and vice versa. When looking at the “Side View”, a thought unwittingly creeps into one’s mind – has it all really been like this? Only the artist knows that.” – Auguste Petre
A short talk by curator Auguste Petre with artist Krišs Salmanis about the work “Side View”
What was it that mainly prompted you to create an environmental art work that no one would pay attention to?
I once made a small animation about a monument to the liberators of the Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German fascist invaders. I had some problems with the monument, until I imagined that the monument also felt uncomfortable due to the ideology it carried. Maybe it simply wants to be an example of modernism and sometimes dances in silence.
I continued to pay attention to public art until I decided to make one myself at the US residence.
Why do you think it is that people do not notice changes in their environment?
I think they do notice them. It’s just that everyone has their own interests. I never notice any price changes, others do not pay attention to sculptures, but they notice the plants that have germinated or blossomed. I once figured out an exercise and tried to look at the things between the objects that are first caught by the eye. Next to the advertising post, between the windows, behind the sunglasses, above the second floor.
What is the role of the orchestra and music in your work?
I assigned each musician to play the role of one joint. When watching the animation of the sculpture, the musician had to play only when the assigned joint was moving. The sculpture was both the score and the conductor. Therefore, not only me, but ten more people had to look at it very closely. And it turned out that I am not the most attentive after all. Elīna Endzele noticed moments of sound, that had slipped past me.
What did you reveal in your observations – what did the sculpture do, when no one was around?
If I understood correctly, it stretched out, played the classic “You talkin’ to me?” scene and ran to the nearby nightlife area. It later dragged itself back. Almost no one came up to me during the observation. One woman could not understand, why I should try to make a work of art out of a sculpture, if it is already a work of art. And the arriving police crew retreated without a word, when I invited them to the open day at the art centre.
Can art exist without a spectator?
It seems to me that even in works, where art is intended to exist only when a relationship with the viewer is formed, the first relationship is formed by the idea and its creator. The author of the work is almost inevitably the first evaluator of the work, therefore art cannot even occur without a viewer. After that, the “real” viewers can also enrich the author’s understanding of what has been done, but a work is still art work, if it remains locked in the basement of a bank. It would be interesting to think of a way of how to make a work of art, so that not only could nobody see it, but it could not even be evaluated, and it would remain unseen.
The work has been created within the residency programme of the Art Center Bemis (USA).The animation can be viewed together with a video of the performance of LNSO musicians conducted by the sculpture. The recording features Jānis Porietis (flugelhorn), Elīna Endzele (percussion), Kaspars Majors (tenor trombone), Mikus Runka (French horn), Artūrs Bērziņš (bass trombone), Raivis Māgurs (tuba), Egils Upatnieks (English horn), Mareks Pinta (bass clarinet), Jānis Semjonovs (bassoon), Reinis Burkins (contrabassoon). Sound director – Varis Kurmiņš.
This summer the PAiR residency has opened its doors in Pārvilosta, and while the first residents are already working on their projects, the residency garden is being created in collaboration with the garden art company Galantus.
We invite you to take a look at the first visualisations of the garden in the making!
VV Foundation announces the inaugural PAiR residency open call for art, culture and humanities professionals active in various fields and roles – artists, curators, researchers, thinkers, writers and others – from Nordic and Baltic states. The PAiR open call program will take place from August 30 until October 31 2021 and will be dedicated to researching Pāvilosta’s surroundings and its cultural-natural phenomena. Animals, plants and other life forms exist in a permanent state of development and reproduction. The cycle of seasons features moments of growth and withdrawal, whose succession could be contemplated in association with creative or performative gestures and positions.
PAiR welcomes application proposals, which develop and engage with agencies, practices and methods, cultivating sustainable ways of being that draw from natural processes and rhythms. We aim to explore the diverse socio-environmental landscape of Pāvilosta, engaging with its rich fauna and flora, as well as its community and history. Structured as an open-ended process, PAiR welcomes the possibility of public presentation formats which would share the experience of the residency with others. PAiR offers the participation for two Latvian and two international professionals.
João Laia will collaborate with the residency program, selecting the residents of this first open call program and consulting the research and project development. João Laia is the chief curator for exhibitions at Kiasma – National Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki. Laia holds an MA in film studies from King’s College, London, and an MA in film curating from the London Consortium. He also participated in the post-graduate research program CuratorLab at Konstfack, Stockholm, and a curatorial residency program at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin. He has a background in social sciences, film theory and contemporary art.
“We are extremely happy to announce João Laia as associate curator for PAiR 2021. He has an established experience in the region, including the recent 14th Baltic Triennial. Laia will also foster new intersections looking towards connecting the Baltic with the Nordic Countries. We really look forward to collaborating with João Laia!”
(Vita Liberte, Founder, VV Foundation).
Pāvilosta Residency is an international interdisciplinary place of residence for creative people that provides artists-in-residence and other creative professionals with time, space and material resources for research, experimenting and professional development. The residency is willing to promote the emergence of various new, world-exploring and reflective art forms, bringing together specialists from different fields, in order to develop intercultural cooperation, interdisciplinary knowledge and promotion of location-related artistic research.
To apply, please send a single PDF by e-mail email@example.com containing a conceptual presentation of your project (no more than 5,000 characters) with an indication about whether the specific project is research or process based and whether you require specific conditions and equipment (workshops, materials, etc.), as well as an indication of the desired residency period (ranging from 1 up to 3 months), your portfolio and CV. All applications must be received by no later than June 30.
All residents are welcome to get involved in the PAiR residency educational programme. Applications will be considered by the VV Foundation team, in collaboration with an expert from the field of culture and the residency curator João Laia.
The PAiR residency offers a studio, living space, access to library and gallery, curatorial support (at least two organised studio visits), provides administrative support and, if necessary, workshops, materials, tools and research resources. The PAiR Residency will cover the travel costs to and from Pāvilosta, as well as accommodation, administrative support and per diems.
The building includes four separate rooms for residents, two studios for creative work, a library with several workspaces, an art gallery, as well as a weaving studio where Pāvilosta local weavers work. Each individual room will be supplied with all the necessary facilities. The building has a shared kitchen and dining room.
PAiR follows Covid-19 national and international regulations. VV Foundation will be in touch directly with each of the selected residents prior their arrival to the PAiR residency.
The residency programme is supported by:
Sustainability is a global effort, yet it always starts out small. Each mindful lifestyle choice contributes to maintaining the wellbeing of our planet, so at PAiR, we pursue and encourage sustainable living and ethical consumption.
We seek to give a second life to the things we no longer need by recycling or upcycling them. We sort and compost our waste, minimize the use of paper and keep our energy usage low by employing low energy lighting and appliances.
We encourage our residents to explore the surroundings on foot or by bicycle while staying at PAiR. We also instruct them on sustainable ways to travel to and from Pāvilosta.
Whenever possible, we opt for organic and Fairtrade products. Much of the food on our table comes from local farmers and we promote a self-sustaining lifestyle by running our own garden with a communal greenhouse.
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