«Meeting Europe » is a cycle of significant events demonstrating the extraordinary plurality of contemporary artistic expression on our continent.
«Meeting Europe » by means of innovative proceedings, original gestures and actions, atypical artistic behavior and attitudes emerging here and there out of places that are unrecognized or unexpected.
«Meeting Europe » through an uninterrupted connection with artists, art critics and operatives, through networks and cooperative projects that give special emphasis to peripheral regions and zones.
Directing one’s vision towards the unique characteristics of a country or of a region means touching upon the question of its identity and history. It involves examining the essence and the particular characteristics which are inherent to each country as well as bringing to light its relationship with other European countries and with the world.
Latvia inaugurates this cycle with four exhibitions presented initially at Strasbourg and subsequently in other European cities.
Squeezed into the Baltic region, Latvia has participated actively in the history of Europe, even in those extremely difficult times that were due to its annexation by the Soviet Empire. Its artists have been able to travel and to establish strong links with their European counterparts, and information regarding the international artistic scene has never ceased to flow into the country.
Evidence of this contact is provided by the formation in Riga of the Group of Paris, as well as by the presence and visible influence of movements such as German Neo-Expressionism or the Italian trans-avant-garde.
Over the entire last decade, we have had the impression that time rushes by more quickly in that country, as if the current generations of artists wished to make up for lost time and to lay claim to their own identity and to their place in the world.
These elements are, in effect, clearly visible in a large number of the exhibited works: the domination by the Soviet Empire, the recent gaining of independence, the entrance in 2004 into the European Community… With humor, irony and precision, Latvian artists do not hesitate to call into question several “bedrock assumptions” of their society, or sometimes to take up a position through figurative means with regard to questions involving politics, the media, ecology…
Thus «Surprising Latvia» is divided into two sections:
– One introducing Latvian culture with the «Art of the Poster. 1920-1990» and the photographic works (from 1984 to the present) of Andrejs Grants
– The other presenting the young generation of Latvian artists with the exhibition«Suspense. The rituals gone wrong» and the program of video art «Blinks. Projected Visions – Latvia».
The realization of these exhibitions has been made possible thanks to the extraordinary dedication and energy of the directors of the expositions: Inese Baranovska for the first section, and Mara Traumane for the second.
Thus «Surprising Latvia», the first installment of the cycle «Meeting Europe», exists in conjunction with the festival «Etonnante Lettonie» (Astounding Latvia) in France, and it will be presented subsequently in other European countries thanks to the network and the collaborators of apollonia.
«Meeting Europe» thus means sharing this creative effervescence of Latvian artists with the public and reinforcing the idea of a common space and destiny based on diversity and difference.
► From December 17, 2005 to February 5, 2006
After the exhibitions in Strasbourg, the cycle «Meeting Europe – Latvia» was entirely shown in The Contemporary Art Centre of Thessaloniki (Greece).
October / December 2005 Strasbourg
December 2005 / February 2006 Thessaloniki