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Photo: Kristīne Madjare

How life on Earth is squandered 0

Latvia will be represented at the 57th Venice Art Biennale by Miķelis Fišers

When the artist Miķelis Fišers publicly announced his project for the 57th Venice Art Biennale with a special performance, he explained that the title of the Latvian pavilion exhibition, “What Can Go Wrong”, can be read according to one’s own wishes – as a remark, as a question, or as a prediction. Regardless of which meaning one chooses, it will not affect what Fišeris has undertaken – to show how life on Earth is being squandered. The story told by the Latvian pavilion will be broadcast to the viewer via a method typical of Fišers – through provocative artworks containing mystical worlds, conspiracy theories, and illustrations of esoteric experiences – and by way of unreal characters that are well known in the real world (lizard people, extraterrestrial aliens, and folkloric demigods), as well as people from real life. In Venice, visitors to the Latvian exposition will meet these characters through woodcuttings, a light-and-sound installation, and a large-format painting.

Miķelis Fišers’ performance

Miķelis Fišers’ performance (fragment)

Curator of the Latvian exposition Inga Šteimane and Miķelis Fišers

When speaking about Miķelis Fišers, an issue that comes up is whether or not he believes in the things that he depicts. “One shouldn’t believe in anything, especially in the things that I say; any truth should be perceived with an open mind, but with a critical eye,” is how Fišers laconically declares his stance. Inga Šteinmane, curator of the Latvian exposition, adds that this question is often posed with bias: “Of course Miķelis Fišers believes in what he depicts, but it’s not correct to ask this question from only an esoteric context. In spite of modern technologies, the ‘banality of evil’ – as created by an inability to think clearly – is still very much a topical subject in the world.”

Error, sound composer for Miķelis Fišers’ “What Can Go Wrong”

Fišers’ unique characters populating the Latvian pavilion’s exposition at the 57th Venice Art Biennale, “What Can Go Wrong”, will resonate with the Biennale’s universal theme: to state and reinforce, from anew, the uniqueness of art as a territory; to protect art as an ideal place for both freedom and the finding of solutions to fundamental questions that are posed by the artist and viewer alike.

The 57th Venice Art Biennale will take place from 13 May 2017 to 26 November 2017.

The artist Miķelis Fišers (1970) has been creating his system of esoteric characters as a synthesis of opposites since the mid-1990s. It is with these characters that he has become a powerful social voice in Latvian contemporary art. In 2015 Fišers received the Purvītis Prize – Latvia’s highest award in the visual arts – for his solo show “Netaisnība” (“Unfairness”). Fišers’ works can be found in the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Kiasma museum of contemporary art in Finland, in the collection of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary art (currently under construction), and in the holdings of Latvia’s Ministry of Culture.

As for previous Biennales, the ABLV Charitable Foundation is the main supporter of the Latvian pavilion at the 2017 Venice Art Biennale.

Curator of the Latvian pavilion: Inga Šteimane
Commissar of the Latvian pavilion: Daiga Rudzāte
Producer: the Cultural Project Agency INDIE

The Cultural Project Agency INDIE was established in 2007. To date, its largest projects in the field of the visual arts are: the highest and most prestigious visual arts award in Latvia, the Purvītis Prize (in cooperation with the Latvian National Museum of Art, and SIA “Alfor”, patron of the Purvītis Prize); Latvia’s exposition at the 54th Venice Art Biennale, “Mākslīgais miers (Laikmetīgā ainava)” / “Artificial Peace (The Contemporary Landscape)” (2011), by Kristaps Ģelzis; the exhibition “Ornamentalism. The Purvītis Prize. Latvian Contemporary Art”, which was organized as part of the program for diplomacy and culture during Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the EU, and which was selected as a participant in the official Satellite Program of the 56th Venice Art Biennale (2015).