Jānis Avotiņš, ~ IBID PROJECTS, London January 26 - March 10, 2012
The new-generation Latvian painter, Jānis Avotiņš (1981), is currently holding his third solo show at the London gallery, IBID PROJECTS; it is scheduled through March 10. Avotiņš is a graduate of the Janis Rozentāls Art High School (1999) and the Latvian Academy of Art (2003), and has also studied at Manchester University, by way of the Erasmus program. The artist lives and works in Riga, even though his career has been international in scope since 2000; besides his native country of Latvia, he has taken part in shows in Munich, Cologne, London, New York and elsewhere. Avotiņš is one of the most promising Latvian artists of his generation.
This latest solo show is his largest in London, up to date. At the root of the exhibition are images from old USSR and post-war publications. The poets, artists and other soviet intellectuals in the photographs lead one to think not of the crimes of the communistic regime, but of the propaganda that these people committed, and which still is deeply buried in the collective memory of society. Having been “transported” to the canvas, these fragments change into a translation of the poetic paradoxes in soviet history. In harmony with the muted emotional tonality, the appearance of the paintings is ascetic; at times, the images completely bleed into the background. Intellectually controlled emotions are an inherent tool in Avotiņš's painting, as the artist himself once said in one of his earlier interviews: “I would explain it as: here, the mind is controlling emotion. And very precisely, at that. But without emotions, there would be no art! (..)”