It is no secret that in the summer, big-city art museums and galleries tend to get lazy by showing parts of their collections, or by significantly lengthening the run of exhibitions. And the consumers of art also seem to prefer exchanging the urban asphalt for the sweet meadows (or at least the freshly-mowed lawns) of the summer season. But at the same time, there are some greatly anticipated exhibitions that are held during the summer, and Arterritory.com has selected four of these (in Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn) for a closer look.
In his latest solo show, “2013”, the artist Kristaps Ģelzis (1962) continues to address, and confuse, his audience with works done in his unique and complex technique – “plastic paintings” – in which he layers one layer after another of various synthetic paints and structures, and which he has now supplemented with the addition of paint pigments and adhesive film. The artist already gave this technique a try in the spring of last year with his solo show “Viela pārdomām / Things to Ponder”, at the gallery “Māksla XO”. A graphic artist by education, Ģelzis has worked with a diverse variety of mediums, including installation, watercolors, digital printing and video. Two years ago he represented Latvia at the 54th Venice Art Biennale, and was also awarded the Purvītis Prize 2011 – the most prestigious award for contemporary art in Latvia.
Ilmārs Blumbers “Es nemiršu / I Will Not Die” LNMM exhibition space “Arsenāls”, Riga 16 August – 6 October, 2013
The subject of Ilmārs Blumbergs' (1943) solo show “I Will Not Die” is totally autobiographical in nature: “To draw what I live through, so as to better understand how I live.” In 1951, Ilmārs and his mother went to Tjuhtet, Siberia, which was where his father was permanently committed after having served five years in prison for “especially dangerous anti-state crimes”. To the eyes of a city-boy, the natural landscape looked as if it contained a secret power: “We ate bear meat, we gathered pine-nuts, we had a goat named Fluff. And just like the chipmunk in Melānija Vanaga's story, I didn't feel the noose that was around my neck,” the artist recalls. Self-portraits are woven throughout the exhibition: with his grandfather, the cobbler; in Siberia with his mother, with a Chinese paintbrush, and with a wasp – which has lived on in the artist's works since 1973; and a self-portrait in the guise of a computer-printed image on fabric – purchased for a couple of dollars in California. Visitors will be able to view Blumbergs' paintings, objects and installations in the large rooms on the first floor of “Arsenāls”, while his prints, drawings and film will be on view in the Creative Workshop on the second floor. More than 100 works will be on on display, created between the years of 1993 and 2013. They will be “all together. Not a lot, but everything. Like one whole,” says the artist. The exhibition is being curated by art historian Anita Vanaga.
In Deed: Certificates of Authenticity in Art CAC, Vilnius 19 June – 18 August, 2013
An international exhibition organized by three foreign curators, and featuring such names as Marcel Duchamp, Sol Lewitt, Liam Gillick, Rirkrit Tiravanija, David Shrigley, Robert Rauschenberg and Yoko Ono, has already opened in Vilnius, and will go on through 18 August. In Deed: Certificates of Authenticity in Art is a traveling exhibition that first started in 2011 and has now come to Lithuania. These well-known names could attract any art-lover, but in order to avoid any confusion, it must be mentioned that the exhibition is not what one may expect – in the sense that it is not a display of works of art, but rather a display of their certificates of authenticity. The conceptual axis of the exhibition is the authenticity of art works and the documents that prove this authenticity. It is like a unique and selected archive of the “papers” that accompany these notable works of art that have been created over the last 50 years. No matter how illusive, untouchable or “whatever” a piece of art may be, it has a certificate signed by its creator that asserts its authorship and originality, and which allows it to enter the market as a product. In this world overcome by globalization and capitalism, it is precisely these documents that become the main proof of the existence of the work of art. Both completely official documents and your seemingly-everyday-kind-of notes have been put on view in the exhibition. Curators: Lorenzo Benedetti, Martha Buskirk and Daniel McClean.
Critique and Crisis. Art in Europe Since 1945 KUMU, Tallinn 28 June – 3 November, 2013
The exhibition “Critique and Crisis. Art in Europe Since 1945” is grandiose and ambitious. Already having been shown in Berlin and Milan (under the name “Desire for Freedom. Art in Europe Since 1945”), it has arrived in Tallinn – its third and second-to-last stop – before it heads off to Krakow (where it will no longer be in its original configuration). On view in the exhibition are the cream of the crop of both modern and contemporary art – Damien Hirst, Christian Boltanski, Anselm Kiefer, Henry Moore, and Christo, among others. In total, 130 artists from 28 countries, all whom have covered the theme of freedom in their works. The organizer of the show (The German History Museum in Berlin) has tried to avoid creating a clear-cut contrast between the Eastern and Western Bloc countries which were once divided by the Iron Curtain. That's why the exhibition has been grouped thematically instead of chronologically, or by the artists' nationalities. Themes covered are “History”, “Utopia” and “The Psyche”, as well as questions such as: How do people wish to live? Exactly what did various political regimes try to fix or improve? Where is the line where individual freedom oversteps the freedoms of your fellow man? These all are questions that are still very topical. In short, a trip to Tallinn this summer is an absolute must if just to see these more than one-hundred excellent works of art gathered together in one place – Tallinn's KUMU museum.