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© Isabelle Wenzel

Riga Photography Biennial 2016 – a new internationally significant event to launch in spring 0

The launch of Riga Photography Biennial 2016 will take place from 14 – 24 April, with the Biennial continuing for several months afterwards.

The Riga Photography Biennial (RPB) is a new international contemporary art event, focusing on photography as a fine art practice and prioritising Latvian, Baltic and European regions in particular. The Biennial will be held every other year and it will also host a range of events on a regular basis.

The first Riga Photography Biennial will explore the geopolitical peculiarities of our region – memories, dreams and reality, while simultaneously addressing questions about the role and significance of image in our present day world.

‘As a result of a rapid development of modern technologies, we are forced to re-evaluate the significance of images and their conveyed meaning. Today photography is everywhere. Traditional photography as an aesthetic and documentary medium has been supplemented with numerous other notions, requiring us to survey this new content’, says Inga Bruvere, Director of the Biennial, while reflecting on the themes explored in this event. ‘The aim of the Biennial is to create a dialogue, highlighting the question – how has the understanding of photography and its presence as a work of art changed over the time space?’

The Biennial’s programme will be two-fold: various exhibitions located across several venues complemented by an intellectually educational programme, featuring a multidisciplinary symposium, lectures, presentations and creative workshops. A special attention will be given to young emerging artists with the award – ‘Seeking the Latest in Photography!’ The work of the three winners - Viktorija Eksta (LV), Andrejs Strokins (LV) and Alissa Nirgi  (EE), selected by an international jury, will be exhibited at ‘Riga Art Space’ ‘Intro’ Hall.

Paul Herbst (LT/DE). Untitled, 2015

‘Restart’ - the major exhibition of the RPB 2016 will open to the public at ‘Riga Art Space’ on 22 April, featuring work by eighteen internationally recognised artists searching for a connection between the past and the present. The main idea behind this exhibition can be described as a desire to deepen our understanding of the world we currently live in by highlighting its dialectic relationship with the past and the future. We can all but fantasize whether the future influences today, whilst attempting to guess what will be the shape of our future memories? Until 12 June Rigans and city guests will be able to appreciate the work of following artists: Amalia Ulman (USA), Agnieszka Polska (PL/NL) and Witek Orski (PL), Eva Stenram (SE/UK), Natasha Caruana (UK), Isabelle Wenzel (DE), Alexander Ugay (KZ), Camille Laurelli (FR/EE), Zane Mellupe (LV/CN), Meggy Rustamova (GE/BE), Danila Tkachenko (RU), Jana Romanova (RU), Laura Prikule (LV), Karoliina Paappa (FI), Katinka Goldberg (SE/NO), Paul Herbst (LT/DE), Arnas Anskaitis (LT) and Uldis Briedis (LV).

© Isabelle Wenzel

Several educational events will take place as part of this exhibition, including a lecture on the history of Latvian photography by Katrina Teivane-Korpa (4 May) and ‘Meet the photographer’ event with Uldis Briedis.

A multi-disciplinary symposium at the co-working space ‘The Mill’ from 22-23 April will present talks, analysis and discussions about the role of image and photography in the post-digital era. Delivered in various formats by artists and curators Amalia Ulman (USA), Ivars Gravlejs (LV/CZ), Alise Tifentale (LV/USA), Agnieszka Polska (PL/NL), Asha Levine Schechter (USA), Camille Laurelli (FR/EE), Inga Lace (LV), Jennifer Allen (CAN), Jorg Scheller (DE), Juste Kostikovaite (LT/UK), Viktors Timofejevs (LV/NL), Mishka Henner (BE/UK) and others. ‘Nowadays, when an art exhibition can be experienced online and the identity of an artist has become unimaginable without the virtual environment, image has acquired more significance than ever before – it is the main tool of communication and representation, turning out to be the central contestant and determinant of political and social discourse. The question about the role and power of image in this constant flow of information is something that we will explore during this symposium and its creative workshops’, emphasises Maija Rudovska, curator of the symposium.

Uldis Briedis. Dance With a Cook - Former Prosecutor in the Spirit of Zorba the Greek, (1975, October)

The RPB 2016 will also feature a number of solo exhibitions: Protick Sarker’s (BD) work will be showing at the Latvian Museum of Photography until 15 May and Alexandra Navratil’s (CH/NL) at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art until 20 May. The Gallery ‘Alma’ will exhibit work by Stefan Sava (RO). Latvian artist Baiba Rubine’s exhibition will show at Kuldiga Art House until 14 May, while Ivars Gravlejs’s (LV) urban intervention at twenty public transport stops in Riga will take place from 18 April until 1 May. The Biennial’s Closing Event will be on 17 June at ‘Art Station Dubulti’, where the work of Ansis Starks (LV) will remain on display until August.

The event is organized by association ‘Rigas fotografijas biennale’. Programme organized and cureted by: Inga Bruvere, Maija Rudovska, Ieva Epnere, Aiga Dzalbe, Marie Sjovold (NO), Uldis Petersons, Inga Steimane, Maira Dudareva, Santa Micule and Elina Sproge.

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