Ēriks Apaļais :
Andris Breže : Andris Breže (1958) graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia’s Design (formerly Industrial Art) Department. He has participated in exhibitions since 1977. He was one of the members of the group of Supergraphic Artists who created expressive works of graphic art in the 1980s in the medium of large format screen printing.
He was nominated for the Purvītis Prize for his most recent personal show “A Life of Peace” (Galerija Alma, 2013). Under the pseudonym Andris Žebers, Breže has published three collections of poems: “Tattoos” (Liesma, 1988) and together “Vodkas/Side Effects” (Neputns, 2007). For these, he received the Klāvs Elsbergs Prize for best debut, the Aleksandrs Čaks Prize and the Annual Literature Prize for the year’s best collection of poems.
Māra Brīvere : Māra’s painting reflects the artist’s path to liberation manifested through rejection of everything superfluous. This is characterized by emotional measurements precisely captured right down to the last millimetre, which are both personal and fragile. In hushed tones, with impressions akin to lines of chalk, and highlighting the value of simplicity and humility, Māra forms a reflection of her own subjective reality. She “portrays” signs or road signs, which help one to see clearly, without the sediment of domestic pollution or the context of the age.
Scrupulously and laboriously conceived large-format paintings or momentary vestiges tell of our unity with nature, the primordial origins of the world, the unjustifiable seismic jolts of fate and the imperceptible expanses of her roots and soul.
Kristians Brekte : Kristians Brekte is socially engaged artist who has participated in projects of various scale and already earned the reputation of a somewhat controversial creative figure.
Brave depicting of differently perceived world which is plentiful of fantasy, is a base for the artist's various activities which have been infuriated numerous fellow citizens. The fact that he pretty often brakes the bounds between sacred and forbidden themes, partly derives from his experience of eager graffiti artist.
The range of his artistic outlets is seemingly endless, from monumental ironic figurative compositions charged with powerful energy and seamlessly combining vast and free painting style, emphasized brutal brush strokes and local colour with brilliantly executed realistic representation in the stencil technique, to experiments in the area of organic sculpture. The dominating feel of the works is clear and easily recognizable: they deal with the line between the human and the animal realms, with death, the mythical element and sexuality.
Brekte has been featured in Artist Directory ``Younger that Jesus`` published by Phaidon Press in 2009. It includes
over 500 of the world`s best artists under the age of 33 and is edited by proffesionals like Lauren Cornell, Massimiliano Gioni (The creative director of 55th Venice biennale) and Laura Hoptman.
Kristiana Dimitere : "Kristiana`s art is live theatre, captured in mid-motion. The vivid colours conceal within themselves an omen of fate, which is also always present in the eyes of the characters and sometimes even outside of the picture."
This description by the artist`s mother, legendary Latvian actress Vija Artmane, helps understand the complicated world of Kristiana Dimitere`s art. She`s equally comfortable sculpting, painting, drawing, illustrating, and creating stage sets and animations.
The trump card of Kristiana Dimitere`s art is the plasticity of her shapes and the recognisable lines which tame the artist`s vibrant, fantastic characters so akin to the aesthetics of naïve art.
Ivars Drulle :
Barbara Gaile : Barbara Gaile is one of the more unorthodox representatives of Latvian contemporary art. The source and solution of her self-expression is in her thorough, complete and self-sufficient brand of minimalism.
THE ORGANIC WORKS OF BARBARA GAILE
It is common to break down contemporary art into various trends, to single out tendencies, establish conceptions and strategies, emphasise discourses, describe contexts, recognise conventionality and engage in other similar analytical procedures. This is normal for professional critics and art historians; it helps the audience of contemporary art to orient itself across the manifold space of the latest artistic culture. However, there are artists whose works are ill-suited for such analytic systematisation. One should also note that these are not outsiders but remarkable, talented artists. Of course, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, Yves Klein and Agnes Martin can be categorised as abstract artists but this does not help us much to understand their works. In addition, this inclusive definition tends to set them apart from the current trends in contemporary art but their art continues to attract us and is perceived as the best in contemporary painting.
It seems to me that the works of Barbara Gaile coincide with various conceptual strategies in contemporary art (such as field painting or salient painting) but first of all they relate to some exceptionally profound and strong artists. Besides those mentioned above, I could add other wonderful and radically different artists: Louise Bourgeois, Kaze Zimblyte, Rachel Whiteread, Mona Hatoum… Each of them features a distinctive evocative quality that is also typical of Barbara Gaile’s works. She, like the other artists mentioned, pays particular attention to the technological side of making an artwork, turning the process of creativity into an ecstatic procedure and expecting the appropriate perception from the viewer.
Barbara avoids a painterly approach, favouring texture instead; while emphasising the origin of colour in light and retaining the self-sufficient value of pigment, she preserves its “sound” but not its materiality. The materiality of Barbara’s works is recreated; it is different - like the materiality of a living organism… At the same time, the question of materiality recedes into the background; much more important is the life of that which Barbara has created and which would be difficult to call a painting in the traditional sense. It is life and interaction with us as spectators. The suggestive character of the works is so strong that they put us in a state of sustained contemplation and meditation. Barbara’s works appear to stand openly before the viewer yet at the same time they are closed in their autonomous existence. There is no open expression or narrative. It seems that we are contemplating some kind of living organisms, bodies with healed scars and opalescent skin… It is no longer either salient painting or still life but salient life – life created by the artist.
I get the impression that Barbara Gaile has now reached a certain peak in her artistic development, so convincingly does she cultivate her mastery, so stable is the technological side of her painting and her organic creative position. The originality of Gaile’s creativity expands the space of Latvian contemporary art; it gives the most recent art in the world added value and undoubtedly has its audience.
Art critic, artistic director of the Russian National Centre for Contemporary Art
Daiga Krūze :
Ernests Kļaviņš : Through the simple / playful use of colour, drawing and animation, the intelligent provocateur has conjured up fables that make us smile and think... The titles of the works are important for decoding the connections – they serve as rejoinders.
Verners Lazdāns : "I'm interested in the incomprehensible in nature – in savagery that contains much undiscovered pre-programmed genuineness.
When creating an artwork, I strive to achieve that the painted character becomes a symbol for an emotional state or trait. Perhaps in this image you will find something I haven’t noticed by myself because of my partly intuitive manner of painting, which is not previously thought out in details.
I avoid explanatory ambience – landscapes and interior because I wish to focus on the image itself. I don’t consider the place where the character stands is so important neither the reality which overwhelms the image, but relevant is the fact of its essence.
The form of my human animals is often inspired by nature - by some animal, piece of rock, part of a bone, piece of wood and ore or even by a natural phenomenon."
Zenta Logina : "The identification signs of Zenta Logina are cosmic themes and usage of abstract shapes. Although both of them seem to be incompatible – there is no need to search for depiction and definite thematic in abstraction – the artist had been obviously interested in both during a long period of time – from the 60ties till the end of her life in 1983.
Besides the interest there was also a hard work that helped Zenta Logina to find her own original way of melting pure arts– enchantment of colors and shapes – togeather with images taken from cosmos research and supplementing it with great share of universalized symbolism
Not only innovative values of composition and extravagant stories but also a quality that is traditionally typical to Latvian art – refined sence of color, a skill of making them attached by special lucidity and ‘sonority’ - are features that make Logina’s artworks able to enchant.
Creating works in similar colouring or more rarely - in contrasting compositions of paint artist has often used glaze, loosening of surface, patina and subpainting techniques and such materials as varnish and bronze and aluminium powders.
Uncommonly consistant focusing on abstraction and choice of themes have raised lack of understanding each during different particular periods and have made mistrustful attitude of authorities of government and art field against works performed by artist. This has inconvenienced her work a lot and restricted posibilities to reach the audience.
Zenta Logina was excluded from The Artists' Union of Soviet Latvia in 1950 because of formalism. Her dedication to abstraction was considered as being too radical in Soviet art."
Ojārs Pētersons : Ojārs Pētersons (1956) is a professor at the Art Academy of Latvia and lecturer in its Visual Communications Department. He has taken part in exhibitions since 1975. He is one of the legendary supergraphic artists along with fellow artists Kristaps Ģelzis, Juris Putrāms, Andris Breže, Normunds Lācis, Vilnis Putrāms and Indulis Gailāns. During the 1980s, Ojārs Pētersons started using the colour orange in his works, which has now become his artistic trademark. In 1999, together with artists Inta Ruka and Anita Zabiļevska, he represented Latvia at the 48th Venice Art Biennale.
Krišs Salmanis : Krišs Salmanis (1977) studied in the Art Academy of Latvia’s Visual Communication Sub-Department and at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. Having participated in exhibitions since 2001, he has twice been nominated for the Purvītis Prize for the exhibition Lost (Riga Art Space, 2009), and subsequently for the video animation “The Long Day” (Festival Survival Kit 4, 2012) and the exhibition “The Fragility of Trust” (Galerija Alma, 2012). In 2011, he was one of the finalists nominated for the prestigious Henkel Art Award. In 2013, together with artist Kaspars Podnieks, he represented Latvia at the 55th Venice Art Biennale with the pavilion North by Northeast.
Reserved, melancholic, intellectually justified and visually filigree - this briefly describes the artist Krišs Salmanis, who is no doubt one of the brightest representatives of contemporary art in Latvia.
Krišs Salmanis uses animation, video, photography, objects as well as his body, trees etc in his art. However, it is neither the media used, nor the unifying themes, but rather the employed method what characterizes his work.
In Latvian there is not an appropriate synonym for the word 'joke' to denote that the element, which in Salmanis’ work can be perceived as irony or humour, is instead mental excersise, intellectual activity, wit as a twist of thought.
Another important aspect is formulated best by the artist himself, using Kurt Vonnegut’s idea of the complicated futility. The making of Salmanis’ work is often seemingly unnecessarily time- and effort-consuming. It is a kind of self-invented craftsmanship, which, even if unnoticed by the spectator, is a vital component of the final piece. The work of Krišs Salmanis is the process of thinking and the way of passing one’s life.
Conceptual clarity and poetic polysemy co-exist in Salmanis’ art. Painstakingly elaborate, the works are thought out to the tiniest detail; they are often quite minimalist as to artistic expression and defined by their unexpected paradoxicality and intuitive quest for the truth combined with subtle irony and existential sadness.
The artist works in a variety of media, including animation, video and object installation, occasionally using his own body in his art.
Aija Zariņa :
Kalvis Zuters : Kalvis Zuters endows his painted images with his life experience – an unusual and peculiar, carefully guarded private world with a certain dose of solitude. He is an artist capable of defending his creative space against the irritants of the saturated outside world for the "full-bloodied construction" of the life of his characters, materialised in metaphysical images.
Psihedēlija Klusajā centrā. 25.02. - 12.04.2006., Psychedelia in the Quiet Centre. 25.02. - 12.04.2006.
Atmiņas par Itāliju. 05.06. - 20.08.2007., Memories of Italy. 05.06. - 20.08.2007.
Kristaps Ģelzis. Home Video. 10.12.2008. - 30.01.2009., Kristaps Ģelzis. Home Video. 10.12.2008. - 30.01.2009.
Kristīne Kursiša. Ārpus kontroles. 26.09 - 22.10. 2009., Kristīne Kursiša. Out Of Control. 26.09 - 22.10. 2009.
Mūsu laika ikonas. 27.10. - 14.12.2009., Contemporary Icons. 27.10. - 14.12.2009.
ARCOmadrid 2010. Gints Gabrans. 17 - 21.02. 2010., ARCOmadrid 2010. Gints Gabrans. 17 - 21.02.2010.
Jānis Blanks. Personālizstāde. 27.03. - 30.04.2010., Jānis Blanks. Solo show. 27.03. - 30.04.2010.
Kristians Brekte. Rīgas madonnas. 25.10. - 17.12.2010., Kristians Brekte. The Madonnas of Riga. 25.10. – 17.12. 2010.
Otto Zitmanis. Otto dusmas. 14.01. - 01.03.2011., Otto Zitmanis. Otto`s Anger. 14.01. - 01.03.2011.
Gints Gabrans. Asinsgaisma. 8.03. - 22.04.2011., Gints Gabrans. Bloodlight. 8.03. - 22.04.2011.
Ivars Drulle. Balstīts uz patiesiem notikumiem. 27.04 - 10.06.2011., Ivars Drulle. Based on True Stories. 27.04. - 10.06.2011.
Zenta Logina. Constellation. 11.07. - 02.09.2011, Zenta Logina. Constellation. 11.07. - 02.09.2011
Ernests Kļaviņš. Karš starp titāniem un rūķīšiem. 28.11. - 02.12.2011 , Ernests Kļaviņš. War Between the Titans and Gnomes
Kristiana Dimitere. Sekulārā rezonanse. 12.12.2011. - 10. 02.2012. , Kristiana Dimitere. Secular Resonance . 12.12.2011. - 10. 02.2012.
Verners Lazdāns. Nativus. 15.02. - 23.03. 2012., Verners Lazdāns. Nativus. 15.02. - 23.03. 2012.
Kristians Brekte. Absolūtais ļaunums. 2.04. - 17.05.2012. , Kristians Brekte. Absolute evil. 2.04. - 17.05.2012.
Krišs Salmanis. Uzticēšanās trauslums. 28.05. - 27.07.2012., Krišs Salmanis. The fragility of trust. 28.05. - 27.07.2012.
Andris Breže. Miera Dzīve . 5.10.2012 - 09.01.2013, Andris Breže. A Life of Peace.5.10.2012 - 09.01.2013
Daiga Krūze. Slēpnis. 11. 02. - 02. 04. 2013., Daiga Kruze. Hideout. 11. 02. - 02. 04. 2013.
Kristians Brekte. 15.04. - 17.05.2013., Kristians Brekte. 15.04. - 17.05.2013.
Ivars Poikāns 9.09-8.11.2013, Ivars Poikāns 9.09-8.11.2013
Ivars Drulle. Jums tūlīt atlaidīs . 22.11.2013. - 24.01.2014., Ivars Drulle. You’ll be pardoned forthwith . 22.11.2013. - 24.01.2014.
Reinis Virtmanis. Nemiegs. 3.02.-7.03.2014, Reinis Virtmanis. Dis-sleeping. 3.02.-7.03.2014
Verners Lazdāns. 14.03. - 11.04.2014, Verners Lazdans. 14.03. - 11.04.2014
Andris Eglītis. Netīrais Modernisms. 6.05.-6.06.2014., Andris Eglitis. Dirty Modernism. 6.05.-6.06.2014.
Molekulārās Dzīves Metamorfozes. 20.06.-15.08.2014, Metamorphoses of Molecular Life. 20.06.-15.08.2014
Kaspars Zariņš. Bez norādēm. 8.09 – 31.10. 2014, Kaspars Zariņš. Without guidance. 8.09 – 31.10. 2014
Kristians Brekte. Beigts nav miris. 24.11.2014 - 09.01. 2015, Kristians Brekte. Dead Ain`t Gone. 24.11.2014 - 09.01. 2015
Ernests Kļaviņš. Nirējs. 19.01. – 17.02. 2015, Ernests Kļaviņš. Diver. 19.01. – 17.02. 2015
Aija Zariņa. RA i nis. 26.02. - 20.03. 2015, Aija Zariņa. RA i nis. 26.02. - 20.03. 2015
Popper Magazine. Virs zemes. 27.04. - 10.04. 2015., Popper Magazine. Above the Ground. 27.04. - 10.04. 2015.
Andris Breže, Krišs Salmanis. 05.05 - 05.06. 2015., Andris Breže, Krišs Salmanis. 05.05 - 05.06. 2015.
Māra Brīvere. Zilās vēnas. 22.06. - 24.07.2015, Māra Brīvere. Blue veins. 22.06.24.07.2015.
Sarmīte Māliņa, Kristaps Kalns . Bailes Nav . 7.09. - 11.11. 2015., Sarmīte Māliņa, Kristaps Kalns . No Fear . 7.09. - 11.11. 2015
Ojārs Pētersons. 22.01.- 11.03.2016., Ojārs Pētersons. 22.01.- 11.03.2016.
Daiga Krūze. Sajūtu mājas un baznīcas dabā .......18.03. - 15.04.2016., Daiga Krūze. 18.03. - 15.04.2016.
Camille Henrot, Māra Brīvere, Daiga Grantiņa. Haosa Harmonija. 9.06.-5.09.2016., Camille Henrot, Māra Brīvere, Daiga Grantiņa. The Harmony of Chaos. 9.06.-5.09.2016.
Ēriks Apaļais. Le Cygne. 07.09. - 14.10.2016., Ēriks Apaļais. Le Cygne. 07.09. - 14.10.2016.
Art, when represented and interpreted in accordance with its depth and scope, is in demand.
The idea and concept of Alma Gallery is built on stable foundations, acquired over many years of professional
activity. The founders of the gallery – artist Astrīda Riņķe and art historian Ilva Krišane.
The gallery was founded in 2005 with the goal of promoting new Latvian contemporary art.
Its characteristic mentality is not exotically vived with a view to being identified in the moment,
but instead reserved in Nordic manner,with a slow sense of time; a poetically conditional – value
in the dialectic between local and global.
Alma Gallery is located in the so-called Quiet Centre of Riga in an Art Nouveau building at 1 Rūpniecības Street.
It is open to visitors on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 12 pm – 6 pm; appointments
can be arranged for any other time by calling +371 67322311 or +371 29155572.
Perceiving the gallerists` ideas on the tasks, purposes, intentions and mission of the gallery it would
appear a "next generation" gallery has been born in Riga. So much idealism on the one hand, so many
constructive observations on the other.
/ Inga Šteimane, Editor-in-Chief of the Kultūras Forums weekly./
Opening Hours 12 pm – 18 pm
1 Rupniecibas Street
|| +371 67322311
|| +371 29155572
|| +371 67274755
30.11 - 20.01.2017
TO MY HOMELAND
In his works, Ivars Drulle often turns his attention to reflecting on ambiguous social processes, of the kind that people find it awkward to discuss in public; contemplating these through those points at which they come into contact with his own private life. This time, the essential impulses for the creation of his works were the artist’s daily life in the Vidzeme countryside, and his observations of the surrounding environment and the lives of those that populate it, which are materialised in several objects. At first, the ironic title To My Homeland gives rise to associations with banal postcards of idyllic landscapes or photographs from “Lauku Avīze” calendars, i.e. images of nature symbolising patriotic pride. The irony is partly concealed in the fact that the installations on view in the exhibition can also be perceived as depictions of landscapes, as well as physically direct impressions of nature, which offer the viewer the chance to consider the romance of rural life through the prism of its social reality, as opposed to via aesthetic contemplation. The cross-sections of homeland scenes created by Ivars Drulle also pose a rhetorical question about the patriotism of the average Latvian, which is so often expressed through the attitude, “I love this land, but I don’t love this country”. The differences between both are becoming ever more pronounced, just like those that set rural and urban lifestyles apart, which exist as two parallels, one constituting an exotic world for the other. The mechanisms of global economic and local political power have transformed the countryside into a landscape of ruins, but this does prevent national ideologies from presenting “the fields of the homeland” as assets integral to the Latvian self and wisdom, whose connection with real everyday rural life is tenuous in the extreme.
All of these processes can be observed and recorded through the passive view of a tourist, trying to seek sanctuary from his everyday routine amidst the landscapes of his homeland. However, Ivars Drulle has been driven by anthropological quests for local identity (which crucially should not be confused with national identity), begging the question of whether that which is most frequently designated with the trendy term of “site-specific” can actually exist under conditions of globalization? For the artist and many of us, classical Latvian rural houses, their standard proportions and scales signify a code of Latvian aesthetics, which we perceive on an imperceptible, almost unconscious, level. To My Homeland depicts how political and economic conditions deform this visual code. Deformations in the form of silhouettes are immortalised on iron plates, somewhat reminiscent of peculiar gravestone inscriptions, as well as in photographs – since 2013, the artist has endeavoured to photograph the abandoned houses, numbering at least 350, located within a 15 km radius of his house in Vidzeme (mentally, try to recalculate these numbers into measurement units of people’s destinies).
Even though the concept of identity is easy to manipulate by transforming it into an empty construct, comprised of words that communicate nothing; a sense of geographic affinity can also serve as psychological therapy. Particularly so in the digital era, when geographical borders now mean next to nothing when it comes to mutual communication, and no longer serve as reference points for social life. On this occasion, Ivars Drulle has engaged in cognitive mapping by incorporating topographically direct, as well as aesthetically and emotionally abstract information within the exhibition’s works. This multi-layered approach is repeated in the visual language of the installations, using materials and techniques that incorporate and emphasise the essence of process. In their slow duration, rust “paintings”, kinetic constructions and slide projections repeat the rhythm of rural life, setting them apart from digital high tech aesthetics and technologically efficient accelerations – instead, giving precedence to artisan forms of expression.
In working on his exhibition To My Homeland, Ivars Drulle has gravitated towards the artistic strategies, which Western art theoreticians described as the approach of “the Artist as Anthropologist” (Joseph Kosuth in the 1970s) or “the Artist as Ethnographer” (Hal Foster in the 1990s). Parallel to socio-anthropological documentation, the works in the exhibition also incorporate the direct personal experience that arises from daily life in the countryside. Accordingly, in the works on show, the artist’s rural surroundings exist not as a passive, geographically specific physical location, but rather as a mental space interwoven with various social, historical and mental processes. On a deeper level, this mutual interaction between the artist and his environment materialises in the garden, which Ivars Drulle has installed in one of the ruins, and above which a video camera has been installed, which films the dawn sky throughout the year, as a dedication to the dreams of the one-time residents of these houses.