Exhibition of Contemporary Photography from Latvia
Exhibition hall Arsenāls, the Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia. August 20 – October 18, 2009.
Artists: Arnis Balcus, Gunars Binde, Zenta Dzividzinska, Roman Korovin, Inta Ruka, Alnis Stakle, Vilnis Vitolins.
An earlier version of this exhibition was shown in contemporary art center Winzavod, Moscow, Russia in 2008.
Read a review of the exhibition: Janis Borgs, "The Private Lives of Latvian Photos," Studija 68, No. 5 (2009). Download a pdf here.
"– Oh, where I live, – said the Little Prince, – it is not very interesting. – It is all so small. I have three volcanoes. Two volcanoes are active and the other is extinct. But one never knows. – One never knows, – said the geographer. – I have also a flower. – We do not record flowers, – said the geographer. – Why is that? The flower is the most beautiful thing on my planet! – We do not record them, – said the geographer, – because they are ephemeral." (Antoine de Saint–Exupéry. The Little Prince)
The word ephemeral can be used to describe everything we build, collect and construct to last. Taking the Little Prince’s point of view, the illusory sustainability and inviolability of private property can turn out to be as ephemeral as the life of a single rose. What would the Little Prince see if he landed on the planet of property owners in the beginning of the 21st century?
Slightly astonished, he would contemplate the lively hustle. His astonishment would refer to the human situation here and now – appraising each individual’s fragility and smallness, wherein everybody has a wish to confirm and secure his own presence on the planet through things that seem to last eternally. As a remedy against the undefinable Weltschmerz, he would behold houses built and decorated by the inhabitants of the planet, lawns they regularly mow and water, their art collections and libraries, gigabytes of photographic notes they keep in their personal computers, each and every tiny piece of evidence that proves their existence. The Little Prince would be astonished by the beauty that unexpectedly reveals itself in places that busy people living on the planet haven’t even noticed, and by the passion and zeal with which they establish, populate and adorn all corners of the planet with signs marked “Private”. The Little Prince would curiously look into their homes and talk with the owners – just to fit in and understand. Although our artists are living on the same planet of property owners, theirs is the astonished look of the Little Prince – the artists want to fit in and understand as well.
Read more about the artists and their works in the publication which accompanied the exhibition.