Latvian National Museum of Art exhibits new acquisitions from its 21st century collection

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Latvian National Museum of Art exhibits new acquisitions from its 21st century collection
Ēriks Apaļais. Spring. 2007. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art. Photo: Normunds Brasliņš.

by Daina Auziņa

RIGA.- An exhibition from the museum’s collection New Acquisitions of the LNMA. The 21st Century is on view at the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga until 28 January 2018.

Collecting the current art of the period is among the tasks delegated by the state and a priority of building the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA). Over the last 17 years, the collection has expanded by almost 600 works in various media created during the 21st century. The index of new additions during these years has oscillated widely in accordance with the financial means, and, along with purchases, a significant part of acquisitions for the collection consists of items presented by benefactors, artists or as a result of the museum’s own initiative. Bringing together information about all the museum’s new acquisitions representing the 21st century, the exhibition poses several questions: what characterises this period; how is it represented in contemporary Latvian art; what trends does it reveal; with which authors and works is 21st century art represented in the national collection?

The exhibition begins with a look back at significant and decisive events in world and Latvian history of the 21st century, yet at its centre is a reflection on traces of the period in contemporary Latvian art, the artist’s perspective on time, place and her- or himself. The exploration of the subject is structured into the two interrelated parts of the exhibition: one is devoted to observation of the period, the other – to different means of contemporary identity-construction.

The 21st century is characterised by technological progress, social media boom, post-truth and information war, crises of linguistic, ethnic, religious, gender and other identities, aging of the society, universal globalisation and migration. Yet there are few artists in Latvia who critically and directly talk about these issues. More often the impressions generated by the time are captured indirectly in poetic or ironic images and narratives, commenting or paraphrasing different daily proceedings, quoting limited and unlimited information systems or reflecting on collective and personal history.

The artists represented at the show include Ēriks Apaļais, Jānis Avotiņš, Arturs Bērziņš, Aigars Bikše, Māris Bišofs, Ēriks Božis, Andris Breže, Vija Celmiņa, Ivars Drulle, Andris Eglītis, Gints Gabrāns, Ivars Grāvlejs, Kristaps Ģelzis, Mārīte Guščika, Ieva Iltnere, Eižens Janišs, Raids Kalniņš, Kristaps Kalns, Ernests Kļaviņš, Ginters Krumholcs, Daiga Krūze, Maija Kurševa, Leonards Laganovskis, Anda Lāce, Paulis Liepa, Sarmīte Māliņa, Jānis Mitrēvics, Gļebs Panteļejevs, Inta Ruka, Krišs Salmanis, Modris Sapuns, Guntars Sietiņš, Juris Utāns, and Aija Zariņa. The exhibition consists of a selection of 150 works in total – a fourth part of the new acquisitions from this period. Full information on works of art from the 21st century in the collection of the LNMA is provided in touchscreens inside the exhibition.

Alongside the exhibition, the museum is running an extensive programme of events and activities for both adults and families with children including tours, talks and workshops. The free guidebook for visitors is available as well.

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