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Latvia at the Venice Art Biennale

March 3, 2015

Today, on 4 March, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art together with artists Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis, Minister for Culture Dace Melbārde and curator Kaspars Vanags announced the subject and name of the Latvian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Art Biennale, which is dedicated to do it yourself exponents with golden hands, who engage in innovation and experiments in their garages, without aspiring to the status of high art.

The work of art will be a sculpturally created system of structures, interwoven with the fragments of a video story. It was inspired and aesthetically refers to conversations recorded in video format with men who spend their free time in creative isolation in workshops installed for the purposes of their hobby. The opportunity to peer into this private existential space prompted the artists to use the environment documented in the garages to create a “distilled” version of this idiosyncratic micro-space for the Venice exhibition. In the work of art, the din of the workshop is generated by a musical composition created by musicians Andris Indāns and Shipsi (Jānis Šipkēvics), in collaboration with the Riga Cathedral School’s Boys’ Choir and the men’s choir “Gaudeamus”.

“Who are these folks who spend their free time messing about with engines, dismantling and reassembling mechanisms and inventing them themselves? This year, the Latvian Pavilion in Venice will be dedicated to innovative forms encountered in everyday life. In garages resembling home laboratories and workshops installed in rural yards, these men prove that our attitude towards technologies and the world of industrially manufactured products should not be that of passive consumption. Knowing “what’s in the teddy bear’s tummy" is a guarantee of freedom which is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain nowadays,” explains Kaspars Vanags, curator of Neiburga and Eglītis’ work of art “ARMPIT”.

The Latvian Pavilion was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture. Minister for Culture Dace Melbārde believes that the Venice Art Biennale is the best opportunity for Latvian artists to present themselves at the biggest art event in the world, facilitating their international recognition, which opens up new opportunities and offers new professional challenges. “At the same time, this makes it possible to appreciate the most impressive achievements in the international art space, to realise how we fit into the overall context of the current cultural scene and the things that make us stand out therein,” acknowledges the Minister.

Solvita Krese, Head of the project executor, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA), revealed that because of the considerable size of the work of art, the exhibition will first be built and labelled in Latvia. It will then be dismantled, transported to Venice and rebuilt in the Latvian Pavilion. Also involved in the creation of the work of art and part of the project team are professionals highly renowned both internationally and in Latvia: architect Austris Mailītis and graphic designer Edgars Zvirgzdiņš.

The installation of the Latvian Pavilion is possible thanks to its main supporters: the State Culture Capital Foundation and the ABLV Charitable Foundation. Zanda Zilgalve, Chairman of the Board of the ABLV Charitable Foundation explains: "As the biggest supporter of contemporary art in Latvia, we are honoured that we can participate in this major event and offer support to artists Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis. It should be noted that a number of these artists’ most outstanding works have also been included in the collection of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art. From 2006 to 2014, the ABLV Charitable Foundation has invested EUR 533,900 in the field of art. This year, under the auspices of its grants, the Foundation has awarded EUR 100,000 to various visual arts events, including EUR 50,000 in support of the work of art created for the Latvian Pavilion in Venice."

For more information, please contact:
Marta Krivade, marta.krivade@lcca.lv, 26486312
56th Venice Art Biennale Latvian Pavilion Public Relations Manager

Photo: Latvijas Laikmetīgās mākslas centrs

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