Miķelis Fišers Will Be Representing Latvia at the 57th Venice Art Biennale
It was announced in May 10 that, from the seven submissions outlining the artist's concept for- and execution of Latvia's exposition at the 57th Venice Biennale's International Art Exhibition, the Ministry of Culture's jury has selected Miķelis Fišers' proposal, “Raižu struktūra / Structure of Worries”, as the most suitable.
The 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take place from May 13 to November 26, 2017. In the Latvian pavilion, visitors will be introduced Miķelis Fišers' storytelling skills, the structure of which skillfully mixes elements of contemporary folkloristic fairytales with a critical view of the social and political conventions of the global community. The exposition will illustrate aspects of both identity and the art of living, themes that resound with Carl Gustav Jung's statement that “...People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls”. Fišers hopes to continue his experiments of using a broad palette of forms of expression – painting, woodcarving, and dimensionally drawn scenography. The plot line of the works created for the exposition will also be based on Fišers' characteristic play between modifications of the science-fiction genre, and social existence paradoxes rooted in a pessimistic moral philosophy that is unflattering for a sentient entity.
Inga Šteimane will be the curator of “Structures of Worry” in the Latvian pavilion; production duties for the Latvian pavilion at the Venice Biennale will be undertaken by the “Cultural Project Agency Indie”, with Daiga Rudzāte as commissar.
Miķelis Fišers. Sketch for the wood engraving “Speaker of the Third Planet Begs for the Gift of Mercy at the Summit for Two-Speed Civilizations”. 2016
Miķelis Fišers entered the art world in the mid-1990s with his provocative installations, but over the last ten years has largely given himself over to painting. His solo show “Lielviela / Megamatter” (2012) at the “Arsenāls” exhibition hall had one of the highest attendance records for an art event that year, and for his 2015 exhibition “Netaisnība / Injustice”, held at the Pauls Stradiņš Museum of Medical History, he received the Purvītis Prize.
Submissions to the competition for the Venice Biennale were evaluated by a jury headed by Māra Lāce, director of the Latvian National Museum of Art. The other members of the jury were Andris Teikmanis, Vice-chancellor of the Latvian Academy of Art; Krišs Salmanis, artist; Laima Slava, editor-in-chief of “Neputns” publishers; and Kaspars Vanags, head of the ABLV Charitable Foundation's Art Program.
Coming in at a close second was the art and environmental science interdisciplinary project “Purva radio / Bog Radio”, by Raitis Šmits and Rasa Šmita. Third place went to Voldemārs Johansons' acoustic space composition, “Chorus”.
Miķelis Fišers. Sketch for the wood etching “A Survivor Drying Aliens Who Have Crash-landed. The 20th Year of Nuclear Winter”. 2016
Miķelis Fišers. Sketch for the wood etching “Reptoids Curing the Depression of Sterilized Mermaids on the Sinai Peninsula. 2nd Century BCE.” 2016
A model of Miķelis Fišers' work (partial image)
Latvia's pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale – which featured the installation “Armpit”, by Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis – was seen by 200 000 visitors. In whole, 501 502 people attended that year's Biennale, making it one of the best-known art events in the world. Latvia has been participating in the Biennale since 1999.