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.
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.
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.
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.
Ivars Drulle :
Vika Eksta : www.vikaeksta.com
Kristians Fukss : Kristians Fukss (1999) is a young Latvian artist, who lives and works in Riga. He creates installations based on sensibility. Working in video, animation, painting and sculpture, Kristians fuses a hyper-sensitive imagination and a childishly playful gaze with an autobiographical narrative. By visually playing with the image of Mickey Mouse, which forms the basis of Fukss visual language, he transforms his characters into fairytale characters who narrate themes of complex human relationships, intellectual themes and dreamlike insights, making a new wave of romanticism in Latvian contemporary art.
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
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.
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.
The solo exhibition by Danish artist and writer Amalie Smith was presented at the ALMA Gallery in collaboration with Riga Photography Biennial as part of the off-year program.
The large double screen video installation "Michanikos" takes it`s title from an odd Greek folk dance from the island of Kalymnos. The name means ‘mechanical’, and the dance is also known as ‘The Sponge Diver Dance’. One of the video screens shows a dancer in a white space wearing a motion capture suit performing her interpretation of the dance. On the other screen the movements of the dancer are mirrored by an animated digital figure of a diver in a diving suit, who convulsively struggles while trying to move his body on a digital seabed.
The island of Kalymnos has a long history of sea sponge harvesting – the industry is extremely significant for the island, which plays a central role in the development of this trade. However, sponge diving was also a tremendously hard and highly dangerous profession; many men lost their lives hunting for the sponges or returned crippled for life from the lengthy expeditions that could last for up to half a year. The Greek sponge divers were the first to use industrial diving suits in the mid-19th century, but diving with the use of an oxygen supply had a downside. Therefore, the Greek sponge divers were also the first to experience the phenomenon of decompression sickness, which at that time was a feared and unexplained divers’ disease. It is caused by nitrogen bubbles that form in the blood, when a diver resurfaces too rapidly, and among the symptoms are hallucinations, pain in the limbs or all over the body, skin itching, cramps and paralysis, and sometimes death follows. In the folk dance The Sponge Diver Dance the lead dancer impersonates a diver suffering from decompression sickness. Unable to control his legs, the dancer moves with an aid of a stick and uses his arms to push his legs forward.
Amalie Smith has used motion-capture technology to track by sensors the movements of the dancer, and then transformed the data into the digital image of a sponge diver. With her video installation the artist explores the relationship between the human body and the spaces created by digital technologies.
The exhibition also included sculptures Boy and 3D.
Boy is created from a digital 3D scan of an ancient Greek sculpture found on the bottom of the sea, which today can be viewed at the Archeological Museum in Athens. A story tells that in the year 1900 a Greek sponge diver sees a heap of decomposed bodies on the bottom of the sea. However, they were not dead bodies, but remains of ancient Greek sculptures from a sunken Roman ship that had carried them in its hold. The ship sank in the first century BC. The brain had tricked the sponge diver caused by exhaustion and a lack of oxygen. Amalie Smith did a 3D scan of one of the sculptures, a young boy, at the Archeological Museum in Athens, and then made a model in polystyrene foam through 3D milling. Finally, the sculpture was cast in plaster.
The sculpture 3D has its shape from Cartesian coordinate system with axes X Y Z created of neon tubes. Cartesian coordinate system is a tool in mathematics as well as other disciplines including computer graphics and 3D animation, where it is used to create illusion of three-dimensional space, which the sculpture refers to. It thus merges the digital and the physical space.
As she explains: “I am interested in the potential and the limitations of the digital space and the effect it has on the human body, because it still seems a very underexposed field despite the fact that we all are in touch with it, but also because it is a field that is closely related to fiction in art and literature.”
In the work of Amalie Smith the body becomes image, and the images come to life, which is a recurring subject in her work. Images are ambiguous – they are at once material and immaterial, they exist both as, and in between, material objects, as well as in the mind, and they live in, transform and are generated by media. Therefore, the human body is also a medium for images, as well as a potential image itself. The artist is thus interested in the evolution of images, their nature, meaning and our perception of them, as well as in images across different media. She works in a wide range of different media including text, photography, video digital media and installations and objects.
According to Smith “I have always been interested in what happens in between the different media – how they supplement or oppose each other. When I was studying at the Danish Academy of Creative Writing,
I was working with film parallel to writing, and later on when I was studying at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, I was writing in addition to working on visual art. We live in a trans-media world, therefore I find it beneficial to make use of multiple media and approaches when working with a certain subject – this opens it up, and makes it possible to encompass additional facets.”
Amalie Smith not only works across different media, but also interdisciplinary and drawing in her work on such scientific fields as natural sciences, art history and archaeology.
Michanikos is the result of extensive research, and started off with an essay by the artist, which was a part of an exhibition The Sponge Diver (2014) about a sponge diver, who finds the wreck of a ship loaded with ancient sculptures at the bottom of the sea, and a novel Marble (2014), about the colour of the ancient Greek sculptures. They were in fact originally painted in colours and not white – an assumption that has been fundamental for the Western culture for centuries.
Currently, Amalie Smith is working on a decoration project at a secondary school in Copenhagen: “My plan is to make three digitally woven photographic collages created with a help of an image recognition algorithm. Weaving is an extremely interesting field to enter, and it has appeared to be closely connected to the digital. It is also very exciting to have a chance to work in the social space that is architecture, and with an extended time horizon in mind.”
Amalie Smith was born in 1985, and lives and works in Copenhagen. She graduated from the Danish Academy of Creative Writing in 2009, and the School of Time-Based Media at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2015 with a video installation Eyes Touching, Fingers Seeing that considers the phenomenonology of digital touch interfaces.
Since her graduation from The Danish Academy of Creative Writing, Amalie Smith has published seven hybrid books.
In October 2015, Amalie Smith received the Danish Crown Prince Couple’s Rising Star Award.