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Foundation will become the long-term main supporter of the Venice Art Biennale Latvian Pavilion

December 10, 2015

The ABLV Charitable Foundation will become the long-term main supporter of the Venice Art Biennale Latvian Pavilion, and, in future, artists will be awarded EUR 50,000 co-financing for the creation of the Biennale work.

Today, on 11 December, the Ministry of Culture, together with the organiser of this year’s Latvian Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale - the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art and its principal supporter - the ABLV Charitable Foundation, announced that visitor numbers for “ARMPIT”, the Latvian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Art Biennale, have been impressive. The pavilion has been visited by 200,000 people. In years to come, the national competition will benefit from at least two positive changes: an earlier call for entries and guaranteed co-financing from the ABLV Charitable Foundation.

Minister for Culture Dace Melbārde explained that, “Latvia’s exposition at this year’s Venice Art Biennale has been a great success due to the positive response it has elicited from visitors to the pavilion, addressing a wide audience with its easy to understand message, and among the sector’s professional media, in which the Latvian Pavilion has frequently appeared on the list of recommended pavilions to visit. Participation in the Venice Biennale is of great importance to the artists themselves, for whom it opens up new opportunities, and for Latvia, which enriches the overall European cultural scene with its participation and inspires representatives of other countries to discover Latvian contemporary art. I am delighted that, from the next exposition onwards, the Ministry of Culture will have a permanent partner: the ABLV Charitable Foundation, which will make the work of the Ministry and the participants in the Venice Biennale much easier. Thought has also been given to how we can give Biennale participants as much time as possible to plan the development of the pavilion. Therefore, in future we will announce the national competition at the start of the year; nine months earlier than in previous years.”

The forthcoming changes are highly appreciated by the representative of the artists responsible for this year’s Latvian Pavilion - the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art and its Head Solvita Krese: “We feel that we’ve earned this. Latvia has proved itself in the international world of contemporary art – the pavilion was visited by what was virtually a record number of visitors and we have received serious offers from international collaboration partners. This year’s artists Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis have already been invited to take part in the major Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India and at one of the world’s most famous music and arts festivals, “Coachella” in California, parallel to which we are conducting various other important negotiations.”

In turn, the ABLV Charitable Foundation and the Republic of Latvia’s Ministry of Culture have concluded an agreement providing long-term support to the creators of the Latvian Pavilion exposition at the Venice International Art Biennale. The memorandum of intent regarding this collaboration, which was signed by Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde and the founders and Board Members of the ABLV Charitable Foundation, Ernests Bernis and Oļegs Fiļs, confers co-financing from the Foundation worth a total of EUR 150,000. It is planned that this grant will be used in three equal parts, ensuring Latvia’s participation at three consecutive Venice Biennales until 2021.

“The decision to become the general sponsor of Latvia’s participation in the Venice Biennale is related to the Foundation’s long-standing support for the contemporary art sector. The ABLV Charitable Foundation is also the co-founder of the initiative to build the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art using private funding. It is planned that the newly built museum will open its doors in 2021. The museum’s strategy envisages it playing an important role within the cultural infrastructure network of the Baltic Sea region; therefore it is important that the achievements of Latvian artists resonate internationally,” explains ABLV Charitable Foundation Member of the Board Romans Surnačovs.

We remind you that Latvia was represented in Venice this year by artist couple Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis with the multimedia installation ARMPIT.

About the artists and the Venice Art Biennale

This is the first time that the artist couple of Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis have collaborated on a joint work, with each drawing on the skills of creative expression in which they are most proficient.

Katrīna Neiburga works with video, which she uses in socio-anthropological research art, multimedia installations and cinematic works of a narrative nature. In 2009, she won the Purvītis Prize, which is the highest award in Latvian art.

As far as his choice of media is concerned, Andris Eglītis is a traditionalist whose desire to experiment with painting and new forms of sculpture have prompted him to turn his attention to architectonic studies as the physically experienced practice of the concept of art. He won the Purvītis Prize in 2013.

The Venice Art Biennale is not only the oldest and most important, but also one of the most visited art events in the world and takes once every two years. The 2015 Venice Biennale was visited by 501,502 people, while 89 countries took part in the official exhibition. Latvia has participated in the Venice Art Biennale since 1999. The 56th Venice Art Biennale took place from 8 May to 22 November 2015. This year’s Latvian Pavilion was visited by 200,000 art lovers from all over the world.

Since the early 1990s, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) has been one of the most important contemporary art institutions in Latvia. The LCCA produces contemporary works and events, encouraging the development of new art forms and means of expression, facilitating the interaction between society and art’s processes, as well as creating an open and critically thinking social environment. The LCCA seeks the connection between art and current processes within society and responds to changes in the global art space; commenting, analysing and inviting dialogue. For many years, the LCCA has informed and educated society, implementing informal educational projects, conducting studies, creating publications, collating and distributing information about contemporary art. Alongside regular exhibitions, the LCCA develops inter-disciplinary and innovative cultural initiatives, as well as encouraging the integration of Latvian artists into the international art world. Since 2009, the LCCA has organised the most important festival of contemporary art in Latvia, “Survival Kit”.

The ABLV Charitable Foundation was founded in 2006 by ABLV Bank’s shareholders Ernests Bernis and Oļegs Fiļs, in order to fulfil their basic values in practice and to encourage the corporate sector to take responsibility for society and the environment. The Foundation functions as ABLV Bank’s principal partner in the charitable realm, supporting creative people and outstanding organisations that invest their efforts and knowledge in achieving goals that are important to all: to build a united, prosperous and safe society. The Foundation primarily focuses on supporting contemporary art, children and adolescents, education and civic society, as well as the upgrading of the urban environment in the City of Riga. In recent years, the Foundation has supported over 270 projects, allocating funding worth over EUR 2 million to them. In October 2014, the LR Ministry of Culture and the Foundation of  the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art , which was founded by the ABLV Charitable Foundation and the Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation, signed a memorandum of intent regarding the establishment of the Latvian Musuem of Contemporary Art. The agreement envisages that the construction of the museum building will be privately funded, with the Foundation’s founders providing financing in the amount of at least EUR 30 million. It is planned that the museum building will be opened on 18 November 2021.

For more information, please contact:
Marta Krivade, marta.krivade@lcca.lv, 26486312
56th Venice Art Biennale Latvian Pavilion ARMPIT Public Relations Manager
Homepage: www.armpit.lv
Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Armpit.lv
Instagram: instagram.com/armpit.lv

Photo: Andrejs Strokins

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