21.04.2017 - 14.05.2017, Triumph Gallery
Triumph Gallery is proud to present the fifth exhibition in the project series EXTENSION, which shows the current art scene of different countries. The exhibition EXTENSION.LV: Meeting with Ourselves will showcase works by contemporary artists from Latvia.
The public programme on the Extension project includes a lecture delivered by Zane Onckule, art historian and curator of kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga, and will take place jointly with the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in the auditorium of the museum on April 17. Master-class by artist Roman Korovin will take place at Rodchenko Art School on April 18.
Most of the artists featured at the exhibition EXTENSION.LV have either been nominated or won the national award The Purvitis Prize. Vilhelms Purvitis is justifiably considered the founder of landscape painting at the Art Academy of Latvia and is one of the key figures in the history of Latvian culture. Founded in 2008, the prize has become a symbol of the current state of contemporary art in Latvia. It is not only a major award, but also serves as an archive presenting a picture of key artists and the directions of contemporary art in Latvia.
The search for identity, characteristic of so many countries in the world today, also determines to no less extent the art scene in Latvia. However, experiments on the construction of identity took place in the 1990s, and it is already possible to observe today a reflection of what has actually emerged and the search for possible ways to describe this reality. A quote from Carl Gustav Jung, which is the sub-heading of the exhibition—“the meeting with ourselves belongs to the most unpleasant things”—describes the current situation perfectly. As a result, a true understanding of the experience requires a certain distance, and in the case of the Latvian art scene this distance can be discerned in the space of myth, mysticism and esotericism. It is no coincidence that the quote from Jung serves as the basis for the project of Mikelis Fisers, who is representing the country at the 57th Venice Art Biennale. The artist, who created provocative art in the 1990s, has already turned today to the topics of esotericism, science fiction and conspiracy theories, in other words, attempts to decipher reality and find the relevant code. The exhibition will feature his large-scale canvas MegaMatter and a fragment of his future project for the Venice Biennale entitled What Can Go Wrong.
The other artists also share an interest in the mythological language of describing and creating reality. In his large graphic works Atis Jakobsons combines elements of sacred geometry and images from dreams, which visualise the search for harmony. The multicomponent sound installation of Voldemars Johansons, made out of thin black granite, creates a meditative sensation caused by the onset of some harmony and the synthesis of sound, space and reality invisible to the eye as a result of the impact of visually structured geometrical shapes and ionised particles.
Kristaps Epners and Liene Mackus also address the issue of observation and mediation. While the focus of observation for Epners is perception itself and optics—his video work Windows shows the windows themselves rather than what they enable us to see—Mackus in the three-piece installation Jump into the Cold Water touches on the time-old problem of the harmony of mankind and nature, albeit in the new reality, namely escape from the city and the bustle of day-to-day life, manifested in downshifting.
Andris Eglitis, one of the artists at the Latvian pavilion at Venice Biennale in 2015, tries to understand human’s role in the contemporary world by creating his own illusory reality from installations and objects, which refer to the images of contemporary cities, interiors and nature again. Daily life will become the subject of analysis in the works of the photographer and painter Roman Korovin, who will assemble the installation from small canvases and thereby create the space of new meaning consisting of ingenious and witty references to mundane topics. The pace of contemporary life and the impossibility of documenting specific moments become simultaneously both the topic and working methods of Daiga Krūze, who in her paintings attempts to depict the experience of being constantly on the move.
The acceleration in modern life does not remove the meditative attitude and interest in the past, and this is manifested in the works of Diana Tamane, who shows fragments from the family archive related to personal and corporal emotional experience, and thereby discloses additional layers of memory in the family.
The artists presented at the exhibition are to a large extent united by similar professional trajectories. Almost all the artists graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia, took part in exhibitions in Latvia and abroad, were nominated or won The Purvitis Prize. At the same time the apparent homogeneity of the infrastructure unleashes different types of artistic practice aimed at the attempt to view themselves from the outside and to overcome the discomfort of the meeting with ourselves.