“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
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.
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.
On August 20 a talk about performance *Time Present, which happened on August 14 and 15 in Hanzas Perons, in Riga, took place at the PAiR residency.
Composer Krists Auzenieks, artist duo Krista and Reinis Dzudzilo and Evarts Melnalksnis participated in the conversation. Questions about contemporary symphonic music and its overlays with performative arts were discussed.
The talk in latvian language is available on VV Foundation Instagram.
A co-work – contemporary chamber opera “Time Present (Tagadne)”, created by the visual artists Krista and Reinis Dzudzilo together with the composer Krists Auznieks, will be demonstrated in two exclusive performances on 14 and 15 August 2021.
The play “Time Present (Tagadne)” is revealed in four scenes, taking the road from silence to the birth of the opera. “The core of the new work is the concept of time and its simultaneity”, says Dzudzilo. “About the expansion of time to both sides, reaching equally deep into the future and into the past. About the unity of everything and man as an eternal traveller who is seeking enlightenment, encompassing waiting as an important part of the road”.
The contemporary chamber opera has been created under the influence of the composition “Fire and Rose (Uguns un Roze)” of Krists Auznieks, which had won the Big Music Award, inspired by the poetry “Four Quarters” by Thomas Stern Eliot. The composition “Fire and Rose (Uguns un Roze)” is a part of “Time Present (Tagadne)”, while the culmination of the new performance is the Auzniek’s new work “There is one (Ir Viens)”, which will be premiered by the chamber orchestra “Sinfonietta Rīga” under the direction of the conductor Normunds Šnē together with the soloist – countertenor Jānis Šipkēvičs, who is also known as the participant of the band “Instrumenti”.
“You can be aware of the time present, you can talk to it in the language of love, you can touch it, as you touch a subject, but you cannot escape the Time Present”, says Krists Auznieks. “I am sitting on its shoulder and whispering in its ear about the eternity that I have given it…”
The co-work of Dzudzilos and Krists Auznieks is created in cooperation with the motion artist Elīna Gediņa and performers – Rūdolfs Gediņš and Ģirts Bisenieks, as well as the light artist Oskars Pauliņš and video operator Toms Zeļģis. Dzudzilo and Auznieks have worked together before in creating the work “ZRwhdZ”, which represented Latvia at the Prague International Quadrennial of Scenography and Theatre Architecture in 2019, when the co-work became one of the winners.
Krists Auznieks is one of the most significant and world renowned Latvian young composers, who has received many international awards and commissions for new works. Auznieks Quintet “Piano” was once declared one of the best moments of classical music of the week in the newspaper “The New York Times”. His music has been performed on the world’s most famous stages – Kennedy Center in Washington, Lincoln Center in New York, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, the Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts, and others. In 2018, Auznieks was the youngest composer in history to receive the Big Music Award in the category “New work of the year”, which was awarded for the already mentioned composition “Fire and Rose (Uguns un Roze)”.
This year’s finalists of the Purvītis Award, Krista and Reinis Dzudzilo, are a creative team that is actively engaged in visual arts, theatre and opera. They have been recognised for their activities both internationally and locally. In 2017, Dzudzilo created their visual and musical theatre debut play “Pathetic one. On the visible language (Patētiskā. Par redzamo valodu)” for the International New Theatre festival “Homo Novus”, while in 2020 they created the concert performance “One (Viens)” in Ventspils Concert Hall “Latvija”, receiving several awards, including the nomination for the Big Music Award for a creative, brave and innovative artistic activity.
The new performance “Time Present (Tagadne)” is created within the framework of the contemporary stage art event series “Switch (Pārmija)” in cooperation with the culture site “Hansa Platform”. “Time Present” plays are a continuation of the “Switch”. The series was started last spring in cooperation with the performances announced by the International New Theatre festival “Homo Novus” and in autumn with the stage performance “Grandmother country (Vecmāmiņu valsts)” created by the theatre association “Kvadrifons”. The new work “Time Present (Tagadne)” was created with the support of the State Culture Capital Fund target programme “Development of Musical Theatre Genre” and “VV Foundation” established by Vita Liberte.
The contemporary opera “Time Present (Tagadne)” will be demonstrated at the culture site “Hanzas Perons” for two days only – 14 and 15 August, at 19:00 o’clock. Tickets are available at bilesuparadize.lv.
From 9 July till 11 August 2021 at the ISSP Gallery in Riga (Berga bazārs, Marijas Street 13 k. 3) the solo exhibition “Looking Forward to Meet Me” by the winner of Riga Photography Biennale – NEXT and ISSP Gallery competition “Seeking the latest in photography!” award, the young Lithuanian artist Visvaldas Morkevičius is open.
This project is created in the form of (narcissistic) introspection, it is a self-analysis of the artist transformed into visual and spatial work. The title of the project “Looking Forward to Meet Me” projects a moment in the future, an expected meeting with oneself. The collection of the project works also includes a self-portrait of Morkevičius, however, this photograph is barely visible as it is framed under coloured glass. This project is a portrait in its “creation process” and uses well-known symbols in art history, the tropics borrowed from classical mythology, psychoanalytic interpretations and personal memories.
Morkevičius also received the VVFoundation award – an opportunity to participate in the PAiR residence in Pāvilosta.
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:
On June 19 an online discussion about Hermann Nitsch and his solo show at the Decorative arts and Design museum in Riga took place at PAiR residency.
Laine Kristberga, Līna Birzaka-Priekule, Igors Gubenko, Vilnis Štrams and Evarts Melnalksnis participated in the talk where diverse topics of Nitsch’s art and the meaning of art philosophy were discussed, along with the exhibition “Orgies and mysteries theatre”.
he talk in latvian language is available on VV Foundation Instagram.
“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.
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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PAiR Public is a rich programme of events and workshops aiming to engage a diverse audience in dialogue with contemporary art, and strengthen Pāvilosta’s status as an essential cultural destination on the west coast of Latvia.
PAiR gallery offers Pāvilosta locals and visitors high-profile curated exhibitions highlighting notable developments in the arts in the Baltic region and beyond.
Past exhibitions have included works by Krišs Salmanis, Leonard Lapin, the Orbīta text-group and Toms Harjo.
The PAiR public programme aims to establish a meaningful connection between professionals in arts and culture and locals and visitors to Pāvilosta .
Panel discussions, public lectures, book readings, theatre and music performances seek to prompt the transfer of insights and experiences between members of the art world and the wider public.
At PAiR, members of the Pāvilosta community are invited not only to learn, but also to teach. We appreciate the knowledge and skills that have been nurtured over the ages as part of the local identity, and look at weaving and foraging for healing herbs as sources from which inspiration can be drawn in the 21st century as well.