Ēriks Apaļais : ĒRIKS APAĻAIS
Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1981. Lives and works in Riga, Latvia
Ēriks Apaļais’ s works deal with language as culturally produced material. He creates visual models, which clarify traumatic experiences through certain linguistic formulae. His work often refers to literature and linguistics (Apaļais has studied English philology), where painterly utterances are critically investigated. Thus, similar to the sounds of speech, painterly articulation may register a diverse spectrum of intonations. His matte black large format paintings stir up chalkboard beauty, where deconstructed elements levitate on the surface as the remains of semantically emptied memories.
Kristiana Dimitere : "Kristiana`s art is live theatre, captured in mid-motion. The vivid colours conceal within themselves an omen of fate, which is also always present in the eyes of the characters and sometimes even outside of the picture."
This description by the artist`s mother, legendary Latvian actress Vija Artmane, helps understand the complicated world of Kristiana Dimitere`s art. She`s equally comfortable sculpting, painting, drawing, illustrating, and creating stage sets and animations.
The trump card of Kristiana Dimitere`s art is the plasticity of her shapes and the recognisable lines which tame the artist`s vibrant, fantastic characters so akin to the aesthetics of naïve art.
Andris Breže : Andris Breže (1958) graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia’s Design (formerly Industrial Art) Department. He has participated in exhibitions since 1977. He was one of the members of the group of Supergraphic Artists who created expressive works of graphic art in the 1980s in the medium of large format screen printing.
He was nominated for the Purvītis Prize for his most recent personal show “A Life of Peace” (Galerija Alma, 2013). Under the pseudonym Andris Žebers, Breže has published three collections of poems: “Tattoos” (Liesma, 1988) and together “Vodkas/Side Effects” (Neputns, 2007). For these, he received the Klāvs Elsbergs Prize for best debut, the Aleksandrs Čaks Prize and the Annual Literature Prize for the year’s best collection of poems.
Māra Brīvere : Māra’s painting reflects the artist’s path to liberation manifested through rejection of everything superfluous. This is characterized by emotional measurements precisely captured right down to the last millimetre, which are both personal and fragile. In hushed tones, with impressions akin to lines of chalk, and highlighting the value of simplicity and humility, Māra forms a reflection of her own subjective reality. She “portrays” signs or road signs, which help one to see clearly, without the sediment of domestic pollution or the context of the age.
Scrupulously and laboriously conceived large-format paintings or momentary vestiges tell of our unity with nature, the primordial origins of the world, the unjustifiable seismic jolts of fate and the imperceptible expanses of her roots and soul.
Barbara Gaile : Barbara Gaile is one of the more unorthodox representatives of Latvian contemporary art. The source and solution of her self-expression is in her thorough, complete and self-sufficient brand of minimalism.
THE ORGANIC WORKS OF BARBARA GAILE
It is common to break down contemporary art into various trends, to single out tendencies, establish conceptions and strategies, emphasise discourses, describe contexts, recognise conventionality and engage in other similar analytical procedures. This is normal for professional critics and art historians; it helps the audience of contemporary art to orient itself across the manifold space of the latest artistic culture. However, there are artists whose works are ill-suited for such analytic systematisation. One should also note that these are not outsiders but remarkable, talented artists. Of course, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, Yves Klein and Agnes Martin can be categorised as abstract artists but this does not help us much to understand their works. In addition, this inclusive definition tends to set them apart from the current trends in contemporary art but their art continues to attract us and is perceived as the best in contemporary painting.
It seems to me that the works of Barbara Gaile coincide with various conceptual strategies in contemporary art (such as field painting or salient painting) but first of all they relate to some exceptionally profound and strong artists. Besides those mentioned above, I could add other wonderful and radically different artists: Louise Bourgeois, Kaze Zimblyte, Rachel Whiteread, Mona Hatoum… Each of them features a distinctive evocative quality that is also typical of Barbara Gaile’s works. She, like the other artists mentioned, pays particular attention to the technological side of making an artwork, turning the process of creativity into an ecstatic procedure and expecting the appropriate perception from the viewer.
Barbara avoids a painterly approach, favouring texture instead; while emphasising the origin of colour in light and retaining the self-sufficient value of pigment, she preserves its “sound” but not its materiality. The materiality of Barbara’s works is recreated; it is different - like the materiality of a living organism… At the same time, the question of materiality recedes into the background; much more important is the life of that which Barbara has created and which would be difficult to call a painting in the traditional sense. It is life and interaction with us as spectators. The suggestive character of the works is so strong that they put us in a state of sustained contemplation and meditation. Barbara’s works appear to stand openly before the viewer yet at the same time they are closed in their autonomous existence. There is no open expression or narrative. It seems that we are contemplating some kind of living organisms, bodies with healed scars and opalescent skin… It is no longer either salient painting or still life but salient life – life created by the artist.
I get the impression that Barbara Gaile has now reached a certain peak in her artistic development, so convincingly does she cultivate her mastery, so stable is the technological side of her painting and her organic creative position. The originality of Gaile’s creativity expands the space of Latvian contemporary art; it gives the most recent art in the world added value and undoubtedly has its audience.
Art critic, artistic director of the Russian National Centre for Contemporary Art
Ivars Drulle :
Ernests Kļaviņš : Through the simple / playful use of colour, drawing and animation, the intelligent provocateur has conjured up fables that make us smile and think... The titles of the works are important for decoding the connections – they serve as rejoinders.
Krišs Salmanis : Krišs Salmanis (1977) studied in the Art Academy of Latvia’s Visual Communication Sub-Department and at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. Having participated in exhibitions since 2001, he has twice been nominated for the Purvītis Prize for the exhibition Lost (Riga Art Space, 2009), and subsequently for the video animation “The Long Day” (Festival Survival Kit 4, 2012) and the exhibition “The Fragility of Trust” (Galerija Alma, 2012). In 2011, he was one of the finalists nominated for the prestigious Henkel Art Award. In 2013, together with artist Kaspars Podnieks, he represented Latvia at the 55th Venice Art Biennale with the pavilion North by Northeast.
Reserved, melancholic, intellectually justified and visually filigree - this briefly describes the artist Krišs Salmanis, who is no doubt one of the brightest representatives of contemporary art in Latvia.
Krišs Salmanis uses animation, video, photography, objects as well as his body, trees etc in his art. However, it is neither the media used, nor the unifying themes, but rather the employed method what characterizes his work.
In Latvian there is not an appropriate synonym for the word 'joke' to denote that the element, which in Salmanis’ work can be perceived as irony or humour, is instead mental excersise, intellectual activity, wit as a twist of thought.
Another important aspect is formulated best by the artist himself, using Kurt Vonnegut’s idea of the complicated futility. The making of Salmanis’ work is often seemingly unnecessarily time- and effort-consuming. It is a kind of self-invented craftsmanship, which, even if unnoticed by the spectator, is a vital component of the final piece. The work of Krišs Salmanis is the process of thinking and the way of passing one’s life.
Conceptual clarity and poetic polysemy co-exist in Salmanis’ art. Painstakingly elaborate, the works are thought out to the tiniest detail; they are often quite minimalist as to artistic expression and defined by their unexpected paradoxicality and intuitive quest for the truth combined with subtle irony and existential sadness.
The artist works in a variety of media, including animation, video and object installation, occasionally using his own body in his art.
Zane Tuča : ZANE TUČA
...But one can never get quiet enough...
“When I was a girl, I was terribly sure trees and flowers were the same as birds or people. That they thought things, and talked among themselves. And we could hear them if we really tried. It was just a matter of emptying your head of all other sounds. Being very quiet and listening very hard. But one can never get quiet enough...”
(A quote by Truman Capote, inspired by real life events, in the reconstructed detective novel In Cold Blood )
For the most part, attempts to depict, subjectivize or even invent silence in works of art are characterised by delicate and fine intonations. Oftentimes, hidden minutiae and details that are initially obscure are of major, nigh on decisive, importance. Art born of the material of silence strives to be unobtrusive, inconspicuous, and requires a more enduring gaze from the viewer, including when art gravitates towards a kind of durability, which is much slower and less familiar to the mind than the everyday rhythm of time. Zane Tuča’s monochrome compositions largely correspond to associations and intuitive visual archetypes about silence. At the same time, they also represent something more, something stemming from the gamma of emotions and feelings that can be contrasted to all that is noisy, challenging and dramatic in the system of binary oppositions.
The paintings in the exhibition ...But one can never get quiet enough are about that silence that can be found, not in the absence of sounds, but rather on softer information frequencies that are perceivable in less verbal ways. They tell of a time that Zane Tuča sought to stop and freeze. Perhaps, this is the only state in which silence can exist. At the simplest level, the artist depicts how various moments in time can simultaneously overlap; this physically impossible state, which has stimulated the creative imagination of so many artists and inspired numerous artistic depictions of contemporaneity, in which the present, past, future and other customary watersheds merge. The depictions of landscape that one sees in Zane Tuča’s paintings reflect this mental time zone, where different principles of space and durability prevail.
Overlays are also formed in the technical execution of the works. Areas painted in acrylic are covered with exquisite drawing, which both clarifies and tonally blends the depicted forms, as well as accentuating the minimalist colour. Thus, the fine and time-consuming working process of drawing is of major significance, because it echoes the meditative deceleration visible in the paintings, which is out of this world. The artist captures restrained laconic landscapes and studies of nature and architecture in glassy reflections, with each depicted detail doubling and toying with the effects of Northern light. Zane Tuča has also used this approach in her previous works, returning to it through various motifs. If we are seeking the classical logic of representation in these paintings, then, as in the Ancient Greek myth about Narcissus, the confluence of brilliance and an object creates a new third image, which is a symbol of transience and imperceptibility. Landscape elements are a way of thinking about moments, unravelling the mysteries of time and physically perceptible silence, which disrupt its consistently foreseeable flow.
The works in ...But one can never get quiet enough were created by Zane Tuča during her residency in Norway. In a reserved Nordic manner, she captures the locale’s instruments of silence – nature and man-made architecture. Seeking the origin of the silence visible in the paintings, one concludes that it does not lie within the anarchically charged silence of 4’33”, nor ethereal metaphysics. In Zane Tuča’s works, asceticism overlaps with the calligraphy of forms. As a result, we can observe references to some decidedly matter-of-fact traditions of photorealism and self-conceived approaches to meditation, which present vision as the content of the work of art and startle the mind through efforts to see reality anew, devoid of the layers wrought by urban urgency and noise.
Kristīne Kursiša _ Ārpus kontroles _ 26.09. - 22.10. 2009., Kristīne Kursiša _ Out Of Control _ 26.09. - 22.10. 2009.
Mūsu laika ikonas _ 27.10. - 14.12.2009., Contemporary Icons _ 27.10. - 14.12.2009.
ARCOmadrid 2010 _ Gints Gabrans _ 17. - 21.02. 2010., ARCOmadrid 2010 _ Gints Gabrans _ 17. - 21.02.2010.
Jānis Blanks _ Personālizstāde _ 27.03. - 30.04.2010., Jānis Blanks _ Solo show _ 27.03. - 30.04.2010.
Ivars Drulle _ Balstīts uz patiesiem notikumiem _ 27.04. - 10.06.2011., Ivars Drulle _ Based on True Stories _ 27.04. - 10.06.2011.
Ernests Kļaviņš _ Karš starp titāniem un rūķīšiem _ 28.11. - 02.12.2011., Ernests Kļaviņš _ War Between the Titans and Gnomes _ 28.11. - 02.12.2011.
Krišs Salmanis _ Uzticēšanās trauslums _ 28.05. - 27.07.2012., Krišs Salmanis _ The fragility of trust _ 28.05. - 27.07.2012.
Andris Breže _ Miera Dzīve _ 5.10.2012. - 09.01.2013, Andris Breže _ A Life of Peace _ 5.10.2012. - 09.01.2013
Ivars Drulle _ Jums tūlīt atlaidīs _ 22.11.2013. - 24.01.2014., Ivars Drulle _ You’ll be pardoned forthwith _ 22.11.2013. - 24.01.2014.
Molekulārās Dzīves Metamorfozes _ 20.06. - 15.08.2014, Metamorphoses of Molecular Life _ 20.06. - 15.08.2014
Aija Zariņa _ RA i nis _ 26.02. - 20.03. 2015, Aija Zariņa _ RA i nis _ 26.02. - 20.03. 2015
Andris Breže, Krišs Salmanis _ 05.05 - 05.06. 2015., Andris Breže, Krišs Salmanis _ 05.05 - 05.06. 2015.
Camille Henrot, Māra Brīvere, Daiga Grantiņa _ Haosa Harmonija _ 9.06.-5.09.2016., Camille Henrot, Māra Brīvere, Daiga Grantiņa _ The Harmony of Chaos _ 9.06.-5.09.2016.
Ēriks Apaļais _ Le Cygne _ 07.09. - 14.10.2016., Ēriks Apaļais _ Le Cygne _ 07.09. - 14.10.2016.
Ivars Drulle _ Manai Dzimtenei _ 30.11.2016. - 20.01.2017., Ivars Drulle _ To My Homeland _ 30.11.2016. - 20.01.2017.
Amalie Smith _ ΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΟΣ _ 10.04. - 19.05.2017., Amalie Smith _ ΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΟΣ _ 10.04. - 19.05.2017.
Kopā viens EVELĪNA VIDA un ANDRÉ VIDA 29. 05. – 21.07.2017., Alone Together by EVELINA VIDA and ANDRÉ VIDA 29.05. - 21.07. 2017
ĒRIKS APAĻAIS Institucionālās spēles 17.11. 2017. - 26.01.2018., ĒRIKS APAĻAIS Institutional Gambling 17.11. 2017. - 26.01.2018.
Gallery was founded in 2005 by Astrīda Riņķe and Ilva Krišane with the goal of promoting new Latvian contemporary art.
Alma Gallery located in Riga at 64 Terbatas Street.
It is open to visitors on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 12 pm – 6 pm; appointments
can be arranged for any other time by calling +371 29155572.
Perceiving the gallerists` ideas on the tasks, purposes, intentions and mission of the gallery it would
appear a "next generation" gallery has been born in Riga. So much idealism on the one hand, so many
constructive observations on the other.
/ Inga Šteimane, Editor-in-Chief of the Kultūras Forums weekly./
Opening Hours 12 pm – 18 pm
64 Terbatas Street
25.01. - 15.03.
Kristiāna Dimitere WOOF, WOOF!
“I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who have not got the guts to bite people themselves.”
There is possibly some truth in Strindberg’s statement if we mean the type of people who get a dog as a stand-in for an alarm or a weapon. However, even the French expert cynic Michel Houellebecq could not resist dedicating one of his solo exhibition rooms at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris to his beloved corgi Clément. The pup was killed in cold blood by hostile Islamists in an attempt to intimidate the writer whom they perceived to be Islamophobic. Houellebecq’s exhibition Rester-Vivant mostly consisted of mockery and misanthropic commentary so characteristic of the writer. Nonetheless, the closing part – the room dedicated to Clément – was doused with artless sentimentality. How would one really remain unmoved looking at the photo of the cute and fluffy corgi who is himself gazing so bittersweetly at the Atlantic ocean and the dunes of France? Art critic Digby Warde-Aldam wrote in his review of the exhibition: “[...] for a half a second, I doubted its sincerity. And then I felt tears start to roll down my cheeks.” It isn’t, of course, as simple as that. For Houellebecq and his ex-wife, Clément was like a child. They loved the pup like their own child. This is what makes this collision, this murder of an innocent creature, comparable to a loss of a loved one.
In Kristiāna Dimitere’s case, dogs also somewhat play the roles of fellow humans. In her childhood, boxer Argo was her protector. And Brīna was a rescue that returned Kristiāna’s favour with immense devotion and trust. It seems that Strindberg must have missed something rather significant. With his forceful assertion, he seems to forget about the unconditional love and loyalty that can only be felt by a dog for its owner and vice versa. Another mistake of Strindberg’s: when it comes to Kristiāna Dimitere, she certainly does have the guts and ability to bite people herself, should the need arise.
Kristiāna Dimitere has created three monuments for dogs. They are all dead now, and these sculptures – the white, matt, monumental forms – are like the reflections of each of the dog’s souls. They have been brought to God by the snow-white bird, but an odd feeling persists that these dogs are not dead at all. The sculptures capture them in a sort of intermediate state. The figures are static and yet incredibly active. The eccentric expressions and fluid shapes of their bodies contribute to a sensation that what we are looking at are living units. However, it is also clear that we are beholding ghosts.
Being surrounded by beautiful things throughout her childhood, Kristiāna Dimitere has turned to equally beautiful escapism. I dare to call this kind of escapism beautiful because it possesses a level of stoicism. It is not intrusive or pretentious. On the one hand, Kristiāna Dimitere is like a noble and wonderful peacock surrounded by a monotonous quacking of ducks. On the other hand, she leads the lifestyle of a saint having given up a great deal of worldly waste. It is not misanthropy but a conscious choice to distance herself from people and society at large. One could say, a kind of self-isolation.
Kristiāna Dimitere does not concern herself with Art Nouveau-like form. Neither is she brutishly fixated on blatant decadence. Her works feature a completely autonomous set of themes based on the events and passions of her lived experience. In a way, Kristiāna Dimitere is classically postmodern. In her works, we can recognize traces of the Russian Silver Age, surrealism and hyperrealism as well as references to ancient religious motifs and storylines, and literary canon. One might assume this sounds like a cacophony of styles and impressions, but Kristiāna Dimitere expresses this myriad of inspirations in her own artistic language with great care and consistency. The exaggeration and deforming of the objects, thanks to the artist’s skilfulness, appear completely organic.
Quite often, the occasional self-proclaimed connoisseur of contemporary art might perceive the ideas of Kristiāna Dimitere as banal. Either way, the courage to be banal is her trump card. The shapes she creates are confident, and so is she when it comes to her message. Her brave gestures point to genuine mastery.
text by Tomass Pārups