International group exhibition (LV, LT, EE, FI, DE, ES)

Latvian Museum of Photography is pleased to present a Riga Photography Biennial 2020 international group exhibition Wunderkammer, which will be open to visitors from July 24th until August 23rd. The exhibition features artists from Latvia, Spain, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania and Finland, curated by Selda Pukite (LV).

Gaining inspiration from the curiosity cabinet tradition that flourished in the 16th century, the international exhibition Wunderkammer turns to the phenomenon of collecting in the creative practice of contemporary artists.

The idea of the exhibition was influenced by Biennial’s thematic focus is archeology of reality, inviting us to discuss new visions and perspectives of today’s digital heritage while examining different layers of the past. The cabinet of curiosities as a collection of rare or strange objects intended to be displayed for guests, were an integral part of the life of noblemen and aristocrats. Collecting can encompass the idea of the world as a universe of different stories, knowledge and miraculous objects in itself. The action has at various times also served as a source of inspiration for artists, enabling personal, visionary and undeniably beautiful micro-worlds to be created. Wunderkammer displays a range of curiosities from artists’ collections of animal photographs to procedural performances.

A vivid example of collecting and displaying not only objects, but also daily experience and life is the procedural work of the Estonian artist Flo Kasearu Flo Kasearu House Museum. The artist has turned her home into a living museum, constantly supplementing it with new projects. On the other hand, Finnish artist Iiu Susiraja uses herself and her environment to create performative image collections. She offers an unusual perspective on representation of the image of women and gender roles, at the same time questioning accepted ideals of beauty.

For the Estonian artist Jaanus Samma, the forbidden and abnormal in society serves as a source of inspiration. He has created a collection of prints that reflects the artist’s interest in history, male sexuality, archetypes of image culture and the semantics of private and public space. Margit Lõhmus’ white dog series, once started to train photographic vision and skill, shows how an obsession with a strange idea can grow into an art project. Meanwhile, the curiosity of Lithuanian photographer Visvaldas Morkevičius is reflected in his desire to create special souvenir collections or portrait zines, revealing the identity of the people he has encountered.

Diāna Tamane’s works are based on personal stories that come from combining and collecting her own day-to-day experiences, habits and memories, as well as those of her relatives. Somewhere in the periphery of sight, there are the wonders of nature never perceived by the busy urban dwellers but caught on camera by the writer and photographer Rvīns Varde as part of his observation process.

For Joachim Schmid who, since the 1980s, has been gathering images found on the streets, in flea markets or elsewhere, the act of collecting manifests itself in a very common way, like the accumulation of specific objects, later carefully selected and placed in works of art. The Spanish artist Andrés Galeano, who owns more than 10 000 analogue photographs, works in a similar way. Having collected and combined similar pictures taken by amateurs, just like pieces of a puzzle from different sets, Galeano creates meta-landscapes that unite these anonymous views.

The Riga Photography Biennial is an international contemporary art event, focusing on the analysis of visual culture and artistic representation. The biennial covers issues ranging from cultural theory to current sociopolitical processes in the Baltics and the wider European region. Using the format of an art festival, Riga Photography Biennial attempts to record changes taking place all over the world and invites us to collectively interpret them – something we not only need to see but also imagine whilst translating the complicated and oversaturated contemporary visual language into meaningful relationships between our daily reality, the camera lens, historic material, contemporary art, technologies and the future.

On Thursday, July 30, at 6 p.m. Latvian Museum of Photography and Riga Photography Biennial 2020 invites you to an Artist talk and exhibition walk-through with curator Selda Pukite. Event language: Latvian.

We would like to express our special gratitude to State Culture Capital Foundation, Riga City Council, Goethe-Institut Riga, LG Electronics Latvia, the Embassy of the Republic of Estonia, Rixwell Hotel, Lux Express, printing house “Adverts”, Hibnerstudio, “Kokmuižas alus”,  Arterritory, LSM, Mgazine IR, Satori, Punctum, Literatūra ir menas (LT), Latvijas Radio, Radio NABA, and design artist Ieva Stūre.