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Ritums Ivanovs. Portrait. 2008, oil on canvas, 115 x 108 cm

J. Pauļuks always “gets you” with his expression, not paying much heed to the foundation – a juicy explosion of color is often found on a completely worn-out piece of cardboard. This illustrates how a person puts everything on the altar of art, has done nothing for the sake of selling it, has never betrayed himself by accepting an order.

In turn, Boriss Bērziņš confronts with the drollness in his painting. Bērziņš is very deep, the works of his imitators cannot compete. They just can't! It doesn't work! That's because Bērziņš is a genius.

Auseklis Baušķenieks, on the other hand, captivates with his stories. His social irony and philosophy speak to me. The artist, however, did once admit that he doesn't have a good sense of color. That is why he created special color testers, which he then used to try to understand which colors should be used so his work would be consistent and harmonious.

What event in the history of art seems the most inspiring to you?

In the context of Latvia, that is definitely the Riga Artist Group's period of work. Before them we had the three big masters – V. Purvītis, J. Rozentāls and J. Valters. And some others before them. But this period is definitely the most beautiful. As the Italians are proud of their futurists, so are we, with these artists. That is Our Period, Our Classics.

How do you rate today's contemporary art? Or do we need the distancing of time to properly appreciate it?

There's a popular saying in English – No comment! (laughs)

The function of contemporary art is to surprise and entertain. You can agree, or disagree. To entertain, in my opinion, not always. In conceptual art you have to invest a lot of energy by tensely thinking and trying to follow the artists thoughts. Surprise is largely accented. But due to the massive amounts of information now available, it is increasingly harder to surprise today's people.

If an artist hasn't lost anything of that, which was a hundred years ago, if he speaks through himself and from himself, and if he has this connection with the Above, then whether making a classic, a contemporary art object or a video work – that can be read from his work. If it is a solicitation, then it can also be read.

I, for instance, don't think highly of Damien Hearst. A tradesman with his fish and sheep. Nothing more. But the element of surprise is there.

I think that time will put everything in its place.

How do you regard Latvia's art scene today?

On the Latvian art stage, Kaspars Podnieks looked interesting with his levitation photographs in the exhibit “Joined Dishes”. Interesting.