2005 – 2006
Strasbourg (France), Thessaloniki (Greece)
Meeting Europe – Latvia:
– Suspense. The rituals gone wrong. Exhibition
– Blinks. Projected visions – Latvia. Art video
– Changing and unchanging reality. Andrejs Grants’ Photographies Collection. Exhibition
– Art of poster in Latvia. 1920 – 1990. Exhibition
– Meeting Europe – Latvia. Publication
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.
Latvia inaugurated 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…
«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.
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 (curated by Inese Baranovska)
– 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» (curated by Mara Traumane)
In the framework of the cultural season «Etonnante Lettonie» (Astounding Latvia) in France.
In partnership with the Regional Direction for cultural affairs / Alsace, the Alsace Region, the Conseil général du Bas-Rhin, Étonnante Lettonie, the Artists’ Union of Latvia Gallery and the Latvijas Nacionala Biblioteka.
After the exhibitions in Strasbourg (October-December 2005), the cycle «Meeting Europe – Latvia» was entirely shown in The Contemporary Art Centre of Thessaloniki (Greece) between December 2005 and February 2006.