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Latvian artist Kristaps Ģelzis. Photo: Zane Iltnere

Moving Toward Silence 0

Interview by Vilnis Vējš

An interview with Kristaps Ģelzis, Latvia’s representative at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.

Tell us about Venice! By now everything is surely thought out… What can we expect to see there?

That’s the weightiest topic. Nothing is clearly, everything changes… There’s a resistance taking place.


For example, size. I had to get new paper, which was brought in rolls from Germany. The space requires that the width be two meters. The whole time I had painted on vatmen, but this paper hasn’t been tested. It absorbs water, therefore it’s hard to flood the surface. You really have to wet it, particularly on account of its great size—while one end is wet, the other has already caught. Things like that. I had thought that I’d begin the work at home, but now I’ve put it aside—I’ll work on a blank page, onsite.

The entire work will be created in Venice?

The exhibition will be in two zones. One is displayed in blue lights, similar to the original plan; but the other is in the entry zone, which will be lit in the usual way. This will feature “clean” watercolors, which should be in the same manner but without all those electronic effects. I’ve spent this entire time getting a hang of it, but that’s been a blessing. I figured out what to do, so that all the bad things that could happen have already been tried out. The approach will be old-fashioned—it will concentrate on painting. But I must admit that I’m not a painter, and it’s very difficult for me to do it. I’m flirting a bit with the execution, not with painting. That’s usually the case—whatever you don’t know how to do, comes out best. Another object was submitted to the project, in the entry space. This was in a “vizkom” [the Latvian Academy of Art’s Visual Communication Department –V.V.] style, “designerly painterly.” I’ve gotten rid of it. There will only be pure color paintings, which must express some sort of mood. The written announcement part will be in the catalogue, and also partly on one picture.

Have you already tried out the blue lights?

There was a very substantial event in Cēsis [Cēsis Art Festival 2009 –V.V.]. This time the content will come from nothing. 

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