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Text: In conversation, people called these “Stalin’s Cakes.”

A Video About the VEF Culture Palace 0


The seminar The Art of Nonexistent Experience and a presentation of the video A Monument to Time Past: The Story of the Culture Palace.

The seminar The Art of Nonexistent Experience, devoted to the relationship between art and history, will take place in the reading room at the kim? Contemporary Art Center in Riga, Latvia, on May 19 and 20 at 18:00. The lector will be the Italian curator and art theoretician Simone Menegoi.

The closing of the seminar, on Friday, May 20, at 20:00, will feature the premiere of Maija Rudovska and Shirin Sabahi’s video about the VEF Culture Palace, A Monument to Time Past: The Story of the Culture Palace. The video came about through a collaboration between art historian and curator Maija Rudovska (the film’s author), the Iranian artist Shirin Sabahi, and two cameramen from the film studio Tritone, Māris Zommers and Mārcis Ābele. The video was made in 2010 as part of Rudovska’s studies in the international curator program CuratorLab at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm. invited Rudovska to tell us a little bit about the film that we will see on Friday evening at kim?

What will we see in this video?

The video is a ten-minute-long film about the VEF Culture Palace, which documents the interior of the Culture Palace in a visually poetic manner, revealing in close-ups the stylistics and uniqueness of Stalinist architecture. The video is enhanced by a story about the history of the VEF Culture Palace.

Why VEF?

I’ve been studying Soviet-era architecture in Latvian for about three years now. This interest came about while writing my master’s thesis on Stalinist architecture at the Latvian Academy of Art. In the context of 1950, the VEF Culture Palace is one of the brightest examples of ideology’s obsession with constructing cultural buildings. The VEF Culture Palace has had an unusual fate—the building was never recognized by Socialist ideology, because it was completed in the Khrushchev era, when this type of architecture was criticized. Later, too, the building was mostly perceived as a foreign body in the city of Riga.  

Please introduce us to Shirin Sabahi. 

Shirin Sabahi (1984) is an artist of Iranian descent who has lived in Sweden for several years now. Shirin works with video, photography, and texts. She uses artistic media as instruments to construct various semantic layers, turning particular attention to surveys of history and its created “truths.”

What was your most memorable recent experience in art?

The exhibit Night Work: Robert Mapplethorpe, curated by the group Scissor Sisters, at Alison Jacques Gallery in London (January 19 – March 19, 2011).