Riga International Biennial in Latvia

“Everything was forever, until it was no more” is the announced topic for the first edition of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Latvia

Biennial
Everything Was Forever, Until it Was No More

This is the title of Riga first Biennial. Borrowed from Alexei Yurchak’s book, the headline is a declaration of intents. As the volume discusses the collapse of the Soviet Union, the biennale is willing to reflect on “change”.
The Soviet system was perceived as permanent, immutable and completely natural, but then people were thrusted into a new reality, same goes for what happened to Baltic States. But despite the topic seemly being rooted in past, the curator Katerina Gregos pointed out how this exposition wants to reflect on the present and near future of the human condition, how changes are entangled and interconnected, in attempt of giving a broad picture of these globally contextualised alterations.

Biennial
Photo by Elena Spasova. Courtesy Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art

Artists – mostly from the Baltic and Nordic region as well as international ones – will be the moderators attempting to answer the questions rising from innovation: how will they register the change perceived? How will they imagine the future?

While innovation seems entwined with the concept of metropolis, Riga Biennial wants to walk a different path: not an high performance metropolitan hub, but a human scale and liveable place, where people can start a close relationship with nature, re-focusing on important values such as slowness. It is important to pause and reflect upon the changing present and consider alternative ways of existing.
These are pressing issues and change the way we perceive the world: “topics like the “acceleration” experienced today in urban centres, the transformation of work – and social life-, the impossibility of privacy, the impact of rapid advancements in science and technology and the negotiation of constant crises – such as ecology, capitalism and democracy, will be the fil-rouge marking the exposition”.

Biennial
Photo by Elena Spasova, Courtesy of Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art

Our senses are overwhelmed by such never-ending increase in speed, hence the urge to focus on awareness: a part of the exhibition will be centred on the sensorium, trying to awake senses that have been put on the edge.

Hence the 1st Riga Biennial will both paint a political and a personal/existential portrait of the times we live in, characterised by epochal shifts, “summoning ghosts from the future and recalling prophets from the past”.

IBOCA1 will open to public on:
Saturday 2nd June (running until Sunday 28th October 2018)

Quotes from: the curatorial text by Katerina Gregos

 

 

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