From M to ZZZ, 19.11.2008 – 11.1.2009 (Langhans Galerie Prague)

26.11.2008. 15:49

Contemporary Art from Latvia

Arnis Balčus, Anda Bankovska, Evelīna Deičmane & Theo Mercier, Andrejs Grants, Ģirts Korps, Katrīna Neiburga, Mārtiņš Ratniks, Inta Ruka, Krišs Salmanis & Daiga Krūze, Alnis Stakle.

Langhans Gallery Prague is proud to present photographs, videos, and installations by ten contemporary artists from Latvia.

M, a video by Girts Korps, shows a formally reduced game analyzing the film medium. The project ZZZ, by Andrejs Grants, is a baroquely elaborate set of photographs, in which he and his students have 'produced' film-stills from non-existent films. Although this cross-section of recent Latvian art makes no claim to completeness, it presents works that reveal much about society as a whole.

Man, a portrait of man, his inner world / The garden as a landscape, as a piece of land, tended or neglected / Society or the traces of society, which we observe in things and in our behaviour.

These are the three topics that appear in the works shown in 'From M to ZZZ'. The individual works are presented without lengthy commentary about what exactly they express, how they could be interpreted, or why they were chosen. The exhibition is, instead, concerned to present the works so that the visitor grasps them as a whole.

The exhibited works constitute records of the private lives of their artists or the people who appear in the works. This private sphere is open (or the work itself creates an opening up) to the public, shared, common sphere. Also important is their polarity: the works are radical in that they are not radical – they are complicated and count on the complexity of the world, but are not frightened by that complexity; they work with it, yet the subsequent photographs, videos, and installations are quite easily comprehensible to the exhibition visitor. Experience and aloofness have led the artist to reduce his or her means of expression and to be interested in facilitating the reading of the ideas.

Despite these common features, the works stand in a certain tension to each other: each speaks its own language, tells its own story in close proximity to each other, sometimes installed in a single space to suggest overlaps in meaning.

I would even go so far as to say that the Czech and Latvian milieus are now at a similar stage of the participants'– the artists' and the viewers' - maturity and knowledge. The chief motivation of this confrontation of oneself with one's cultural community is not to wrestle with the past or to catch up with some imaginary 'missed boat', nor is it to satisfy the desire to assert one's ego. It is as though we have reached a stage where artists have experience, are free of hysteria, and are focused, and where the viewer, too, is able, thanks to standing back from the details, to read the language of contemporary art. It is as though the artists and their audience have signed a non-aggression pact and an agreement to search together.

That's how we can, figuratively speaking, reflect the relationship to the past and the present. The question then arises, what does this art say about the future? For today, we can state that artists and viewers are engaged and demanding, but also sensitive, understanding, and inquisitive. Welcome to the exhibition!

David Korecký, curator

The following artists have works in the exhibition: Arnis Balčus, Anda Bankovska, Evelīna Deičmane & Theo Mercier, Andrejs Grants, Ģirts Korps, Katrīna Neiburga, Inta Ruka, Krišs Salmanis & Daiga Krūze, Alnis Stakle.

As part of the opening, the animated film Independence Day 18, by Martins Ratniks, will be screened.

Ines Baranovska, a curator of contemporary art in Riga, will give a talk to accompany the exhibition, at FAMU, Smetanovo nábřeží 2, Prague, on 19 November 2008, 8 p.m.

Od M do ZZZ / From M to ZZZ

Photographs, videos and installations by contemporary artists from Latvia: Arnis Balčus, Anda Bankovska, Evelīna Deičmane & Theo Mercier, Andrejs Grants, Ģirts Korps, Katrīna Neiburga, Mārtiņš Ratniks, Inta Ruka, Krišs Salmanis & Daiga Krūze, Alnis Stakle.

curator: David Korecký      

collaboration: Inese Baranovska & Rolf Wismer

texts and production: Kateřina Kloubová & David Korecký (Langhans Galerie Praha), Inese Baranovska (Riga Art Space), Rūta Aukšmukste & Solvita Mašková (Embassy of the Latvian Republic in the Czech Republic)

translations: Petra Key & Derek Paton

graphic design: Robert V. Novák

technical assistance: Pavel Břach & Václav Kubela

gallery director: Zuzana Meisnerová Wismer

The patron of the exhibition is Her Excellency Argita Daudze, Latvian Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

The exhibition was organized by Langhans Gallery Prague in close collaboration with the Embassy of the Latvian Republic in the Czech Republic and Inese Baranovska (Riga Art Space).

Source of information: Langhans Galerie Prague