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View from Inga Meldere’s solo-exhibition “Vertex” in Helsinki. Photo credit: SIC

The Unified Story of the Vertex 0

Q&A with artist Latvian artist Inga Meldere about the exhibition Vertex in Helsinki

Paula Lūse

Latvian artist Inga Meldere’s solo-exhibition Vertex is on view at the SIC art space in Helsinki, until the 19th of March. The artist explains, that “vertex” means both the peak of a mountain, and it is used as a term in geometry.

Inga Meldere graduated from the Restoration Department at the Art Academy of Latvia and the Department of Pedagogy and Psychology at the Uniersity of Latvia, she has also studied at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. The artist emphasizes that it is the latter educational institutions that have shaped her artistic thinking. Inga Meldere participated in artistic residencies and exhibitions in both Latvia and abroad – as the most significant solo-exhibitions, we must mention “House by the Waterfall or Colouring Books for Adults” at the Temnikova & Kasela Gallery in Tallinn (2016), “Colouring Books” at kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga (2016), “Writer’s Room” Museum of Jānis Rozentāls and Rūdolfs Blaumanis, Riga (2015), and “Berzkalni”, gallery G12, Helsinki, (2015). In 2016 the artist was nominated for the Purvītis Prize and was a finalist for the kim? Residency Award 2016.

As Inga Meldere currently lives and works in Helsinki, got in touch with the artist electronically, to ask her a few questions about her latest exhibition “Vertex”.

Inga Meldere’s exhibition “Vertex” in the SIC space in Helsinki

In June of last year, you had an exhibition at the Temnikova & Kasela gallery in Tallinn. Although it seems that the series of work, exhibited at SIC in Helsinki, has a completely different message, is there some sort of connection to this previous exhibition?

The ways or the methods with which I worked for this exhibition are very similar to the ones I used for the Temnikova & Kasela exhibition. The first impulse or starting point for the exhibition “Vertex” was the SIC space itself, which reminded me of an early Italian renaissance church. Quite compact, vertical to the gaze with a ceiling of dark brown wood. The space was originally used as a warehouse for the harbour. I thought about the exhibition as a spatial installation, where, for example, a mural would emphasize the verticality of the space, and would serve as backing for the paintings. The overall mood, as well as the direction of narrative, was essential to me.

In the exhibition text Stefano Faoro wanted to particularly emphasize the word transparency, and he poetically compared his feeling of viewing at your work, to being the same as looking at an image on your phone on a sunny day. Would you also use the term transparency to talk about your work?

We worked together closely in preparation for the exhibition, and we experienced an intense exchange of thoughts. Possibly, that’s one of the reasons that he’s discussing transparency or the visibility of the process, clarity as the situationist walk through the city. Perhaps also my paintings cannot be read at once, but somewhat gradually, by discerning the multiple layers - the directions of thoughts and conversations. Quite literally, the painting layers are also transparent, resulting in an easily legible original picture underneath - the starting point.

Inga Meldere. Poster Penance. 2017. UV digital print on canvas, acrylic, oil. 120x75cm. Photo credit: SIC

When creating work, do you tend to think about what feelings that will rouse in viewers?

Not really. I don’t actually think about that. Sometimes the audience is divided after seeing an exhibition.

Did you continue to use your grandfather’s photo archive and materials as a source of inspiration for this exhibition?

No, I ended that phase with the “Berzkalni” exhibition in 2015.

Considering that you tend to experiment with various techniques in your art, did you use any new, previously unused methods in this exhibition’s work?

This time I worked with tried and tested means. All the works on canvas partially used UV prints and were painted with acrylic and oil techniques. The order, in which I did this, might have been a bit experimental.

Inga Meldere. Poster Sublime. 2017. UV digital print on canvas, acrylic, oil. 120x75cm. Photo credit: SIC

Inga Meldere. Vertex F. 2017. UV digital print on canvas, acrylic, oil.  220x160cm. Photo credit: SIC

What were the main elements that you used and portrayed in this painting series?

Mostly, references to western European and other art history. The interpretation of individual lines, which "split" my pictures into two parts, brought in an added dimension, influenced by Barnett Newman’s compositions. Or specifically Giotto di Bondone’s oeuvre - compositions, decorative elements, or the use of line, his work also, for example, influenced spatial boundaries for his murals, from which I unravelled the way he depicted the pattern of angel wings.

Do the works in this exhibition create a unified narrative, or is each piece an individual unit, unrelated to the rest?

I would prefer to think of it as a unified narrative.

Inga Meldere. L´Atena di Mirone. 2017. UV digital print on canvas, acrylic, oil.  36x32cm. Photo credit: SIC