From 1 June to 22 September 2019, Iceland’s Northern Capital, Akureyri, will host the exhibition of Latvian contemporary art Talaðu við mig! / Runā ar mani! / Talk To Me! representing works from the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art.
Part of the programme of the Latvian Centenary, the exhibition in the new spaces of the reconstructed Akureyri Art Museum is organised by the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) in collaboration with the Akureyri Art Museum and Icelandic curator, Associate Professor at Reykjavik University Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir. The nucleus of the exposition consists of works from the LNMA collection by artists Arturs Bērziņš, Andris Breže, Vija Celmins, Zenta Dzividzinska, Dace Džeriņa, Ieva Epnere, Kristaps Epners, Kristaps Ģelzis, Maija Kurševa, Leonards Laganovskis, Ģirts Muižnieks, Inga Meldere, Katrīna Neiburga, Kaspars Podnieks, Mārtiņš Ratniks, Krišs Salmanis, Raitis Šmits and Rasa Šmite, Vilnis Zābers.
The idea of the curators Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir and Astrīda Rogule was to create a visually and contextually diverse platform for the conversation between Latvian artists and the exhibition’s visitors in Iceland. This task corresponds to the aims of the centenary of the Republic of Latvia – to tell the Latvian story and build the Latvia of the future. The title of the project is taken from Rasa Šmite, Raitis Šmits and Mārtiņš Ratniks’ multimedia installation Talk To Me, which was chosen as the key of the story of the exposition of Latvian contemporary art.
The thematic arcs bringing together the stories created by the artists encompass Latvia’s current political realities, historical reminiscences, daily life and poetics of the Latvian countryside, they reveal life stories, personal manifestations and endeavours, turn to the revelation of the existence of life and its values. The selected works represent a plurality of visual art’s media – the show includes painting, graphic art, sculpture, photography, video, multimedia installations, net art. So far, an exhibition of Latvian art of such scale has not taken place in Iceland, and hence the celebration of the centenary of the Latvian state is an excellent opportunity to thank Iceland with an impressive selection of contemporary art for the support in the restoration of our independence.
Iceland was the first country recognising the restoration of the independence of Latvia on 22 August 1991.
Honoured by the presence of the Icelandic Minister of Education, Science and Culture Lilja D. Alfreðsdóttir, on 1 June the exhibition Talaðu við mig! / Runā ar mani! / Talk To Me! will be opened by the directors of both museums – Māra Lāce and Hlynur Hallsson. The opening ceremony will take place with the participation of artists Dace Džeriņa, Ieva Epnere, Kristaps Epners, Raitis Šmits and Mārtiņš Ratniks, who also is the designer of the catalogue.
The exhibition’s catalogue in Icelandic, Latvian and English includes Helēna Demakova’s essay on the representation of our times in the exhibited collection of art, Icelandic art historian and curator of the exhibition Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir’s look at the interplay between the trends in Latvian contemporary art and global art, LNMA curator Astrīda Rogule’s overview of the processes of formation of Collection of Contemporary Art in Latvian National Museum of Art as well as an illustrated part.
Alongside the catalogue, anthology A Bigger Peace, A Smaller Peace (2016, compiler and editor-in-chief Helēna Demakova) will also be presented during the exhibition, providing a multifaceted, in-depth look at the course of development of Latvian contemporary art and its current processes.
The public programme of the exhibition Talk To Me! will begin already before the opening of the exhibition – on 31 May at 15.00 Akureyri Art Museum will hold a meeting with Latvian artists, led by art historian, Head of the LNMA’s Museum of Decorative Arts and Design Inese Baranovska. Meanwhile, a row of events is planned for September in collaboration with Akureyri Music School and Botanical Garden.