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Illustration: Daniela Treija

Let’s get Dimiters moving! 0

Variations on the works of Latvian artist Juris Dimiters

Illustrations: Daniela Treija

“Behind the Curtain of Hide and Seek / Priekškara paslēpes”, the solo show of Latvian artist and legendary creator of political posters, Juris Dimiters, will be on view in the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art through 29 January 2017. In addition to poster art, the exhibition also features some of Dimiters’ works done in other genres, namely, painting, set design, and photography.

With his peculiar stream of characters and unique method of painting, Dimiters is viewed as having one of the most original minds working in surreal stylistics. As the artist says himself, he doesn’t attempt to put any superhuman ideas into his works. “The plots are relatively simple – a play on objects, not unlike the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. Undoubtedly, the deeper one looks, the more one finds something that others don’t.”

In order to free the viewer’s imagination, Dimiters heavily relies on the moment of surprise and the unexpected. Consequently, he uses such expressive aids as paradox, cleverness, humor, irony, and metaphor. Cementing this surprise effect found in Dimiters’ “theater of things” is the accented shape and size of his characters, a technique that serves to knock down the traditional notions of surrounding space, dimensions, and an object’s true size. Using the same objects repeatedly is quite characteristic of the artist. “I’ve always had a certain urge to try to say things more sharply and more precisely,” Dimiters revealed in an interview with a couple of years ago. The unaccustomed staging of everyday objects is Dimiters’ figurative way of commenting on the mutual relationships between individuals, society, and authority – and especially between men and women.

In a congratulatory gesture, and inspired by Juris Dimiters’ exhibition at the Latvian National Museum of Art, presents interpretations of Dimiters’ most iconic works, as executed by designer Daniela Treija: “Environmental Protection / Dabas aizsardzība” (1980); “For Quality / Par kvalitāti” (1984); “Theater / Teātris” (1983); “Still Life / Klusā daba” (2011); “Think Global”; “Make Agricultural Production Simpler... / Jāpadara vienkāršāka agrorūpniecība...” (1983); and others.

Juris Dimiters (1947) was born into a family of artists – he is the son of painter Džemma Skulme and actor Artūrs Dimiters, and his grandparents were the painter Oto Skulme and sculptor Marta Liepiņa-Skulme.

Having graduated from the Janis Rozentāls Riga Art High School (1965) and the Latvian Academy of Art, Department of Stage Design (1973), Dimiters has actively worked in various fields of the visual arts since the late 1960s. He has had 20 solo shows and has participated in more than 200 group shows both in Latvia and abroad, with his posters having garnered the most recognition. Let us recall that during the Soviet era, it was specifically state-commissioned graphic posters that, with their original and figurative metaphors, often outgrew the narrow confines of their ideological propaganda, sometimes even contradicting the intended message.

Juris Dimiters has also worked as a set designer, creating scenography for the Latvian National Theater, the Valmiera Drama Theater, and the Dailes Theater; at the latter, the legendary productions of Kārlis Auškāps – “Džons Neilands” by Ādolfs Alunāns, and “Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle – became golden theater classics of the second half of the 20th century. Dimiters’ works can be found in the Latvian National Museum of Art, the emerging Latvian Contemporary Art Museum, the museum collection of the Latvian Artists’ Association, the Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow, Museum Ludwig (Cologne), the Cremona Foundation in Maryland, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Nancy and Norton Dodge Collection, and the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick, as well as in private collections in Latvia, the USA, Russia, Germany, Sweden, and elsewhere.