Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT 2023 Award winners to be congratulated with an exhibition opening and special events

  • 2023-05-09

On May 11 at 6 PM, the solo exhibition “Uprooted” by Ieva Baltaduonytė, who received the main prize of the Riga Photography Biennial - NEXT 2023 (RPB - NEXT 2023) Award "Seeking the Latest in Photography!”, will be opened at the ISSP Gallery. The exhibition will be on view from May 12 until June 29. After the opening, presentations of works by five award applicants will follow at 7 PM. On May 12 at 6 PM, ISSP Gallery will host the opening of Latvian artist’s Armands Andže photobook “29 landscapes”, presented as a special prize by the independent publishing initiative “NoRoutine Books” (LT). Latvian artist Anna Dzērve has received the special award from the foundation “VV Foundation” and will have the opportunity to work at the artist’s residence “PAiR” in Pāvilosta, Latvia from May 23 to June 23. 

The award for the young Baltic artists “Seeking the Latest in Photography!” is presented in the framework of the RPB – NEXT program every other year since 2016. Its goal is to discover and appraise the creative efforts of young artists who demonstrate the power of the image in their works, offering an original point of view and conceptual depth reflecting our current times. 

The Award "Seeking the Latest in Photography!” offers an opportunity for artists to be included in the biennial’s program. The competition for this year's biennial took place in October 2022. The winner of the award – the lithuanian artist Ieva Baltaduonytė with the series “Uprooted” – received the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at the ISSP Gallery. Commenting their choice for the main award, the international jury of experts says: “In an ongoing photographic work "Uprooted" (2022-), the artist thoughtfully engages with complex ripple-effects of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Working with ukrainian female refugees in Lithuania and using a humanistic style of photography in an exploratory way, she brings to light unphotographable trauma of forced displacement and war-related PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). It results in a memorable reminder of a universal importance of empathy in a time of crisis.” The exhibition is curated by the latvian artist and curator, the head of Riga Photography Biennial Inga Brūvere.

Ieva Baltaduonytė (1988) is an emerging lens based artist. Informed by her own personal experience of displacement, her work engages with topics and issues relating to migratory culture. Ieva is preoccupied with revealing personal and collective narratives where trauma, memory and identity encourage a deeper engagement with cross-cultural dialogue. By using photography for both personal expression and to foster a critical dialogue with contemporary society, she invites the viewer to participate in societal debates, foregrounding human experiences, and exposing what is otherwise obscured or ignored. Her carefully constructed projects combine politics and aesthetics inviting a dialogical relationship with the viewer. Ieva is currently based in Lithuania, where she very recently returned after seventeen years of living in abroad in Dublin, Ireland where she graduated from the Photography BA programme at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

For his series “29 landscapes”, latvian artist Armands Andže has received the special prize from the lithuanian independent publishing initiative “NoRoutine Books” – an opportunity to publish the series in a photobook. 

Armands Andže (1988, LV) works in analog photography. A great part of his work is related to researching photographic processes and trying to find a more modern and ecological approach towards them. As part of his MA studies, Andže is researching historic photographic printmaking techniques. He mostly works with large-format glass plate cameras and uses various forms of light-sensitive materials – self-made glass plates, scientific materials, daguerrotypes, etc. His main interest lies in landscape photography, particularly its social and psychological aspects, and the landscape’s influence on us on a collective level. 

For her work “I’m glad he died”, latvian artist Anna Dzērve has received the special prize from the foundation “VV Foundation” – a cash prize of 1000 EUR and the opportunity to spend a month from May 23 to June 23 at the artist residency “PAiR” (Pāvilosta Artist in Residency) in Pāvilosta, Latvia.

“The author has transcended her personal experience in the language of art, through which the viewer can recognize many contexts prevailing in the modern era, such as the issues of women's rights, the Foucaultian panapticon principle of total observation and the imprisonment of society, the presence of the absurd phenomenon of physical and emotional violence in the course of the entire evolution of humanity. The works are visually powerful and multi-layered, revealing the human body's relationship with itself and the society that consumes it and where it fits into. And also, these works stimulate the imagination, they ask questions and look for answers, but - now in the personal life experience of each viewer,” they comment their choice.

Five of the contestants – Ieva Baltaduonytė (LT), Ieva Maslinskaitė (LT), Kristīne Krauze-Slucka (LV), Līga Stibe (LV), and Hedi Jaansoo (EE) – were nominated to present their works during the exhibition opening.

The winners were determined by an international jury comprised of the founder of the “BZH Photo” festival and coordinator of the “Photo Days” event in Paris Camille Gajate (FR), art critic, historian and curator Adam Mazur (PL), artist, professor and Head of the Photography Department at the Estonian Academy of Arts Marge Monko (EE), artist and curator Paulius Petraitis (LT) and artist and teacher Ieva Epnere (LV). 

Riga Photography Biennial - NEXT 2023 program events span various exhibition halls, galleries and cityscape in Riga from April 27 until July 23. The festival-goers can already view exhibitions at the exhibition hall “Riga Art Space”, LOOK gallery and the Experimental Art Space “Pilot” of the Art Academy of Latvia. On second part of May, exhibitions will be opened at the Latvian Museum of Photography and the Gallery of Latvian Artist’s Union. From May 29 until June 11, Riga public transport stops will showcase a solo exhibition of the ukrainian artist Elena Subach, “Grandmothers on the Edge of Heaven”. A special “pocket format” exhibition of nine young Ukrainian artists is featured in the biennial’s annual edition that is available at the event venues. 

In June, several events dedicated to development of photo industry will be held. On June 3, ISSP Gallery will host an international conference on “awkward” topics. On June 8, “Pilot” gallery will host a discussion on the role of curator in today’s art ecosystem. On June 10, at the exhibition hall “Riga Art Space”, a creative workshop with latvian artist Līga Spunde will be held for children aged 5-12. 

For more information please visit: www.rpbiennial.com; www.issp.lv

Supporters and partners: State Culture Capital Foundation, Riga City Council, ISSP Gallery, “NoRoutine Books” (LT), “VV Foundation”, Estonian Embassy in Riga, Embassy of Finland in Riga, Hibnerstudio, Rixwell Hotels, Valmiermuiža Brewery, Printing house “Adverts”, Arterritory.com, Echo Gone Wrong, Noba.ac, BLOK