10 public sculptures were commissioned for the show. A number of site-specific interventions have been placed in different locations around the city.
The fair’s title Everything Was Forever, Until it Was No More refers to the book by the anthropologist and Soviet immigrant Alexei Yurchak. It explores the paradoxes of Soviet life during the period of “late socialism” – and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union. Change, immutable and inevitable, becomes the leitmotif for the many young and established artists’ works presented at the festival.
We’ve chosen the following highlights to tell you about.
Lynn Hershman Leeson
Leeson is American artist who has taken over a number of rooms in Riga’s Former Biology Faculty with her ‘Infinity Engine’. One of her projects involves the participant receiving a DNA composite through facial recognition. Leeson has stated that “the work is about fluidity, revision, mutation, and the impulse to recreate life itself” and she considers it to be a “landscape of our time”.
Katrina Neiburga and Andris Eglītis
The husband-wife duo are two of Latvia’s most well known artists. Their outdoor project, The Nest, was inspired by nature and Latvia’s myths and traditions, as well as the Latvian community. The pair have contributed a number of other works to the fair, including an 11 minute 44 second film entitled ‘Pickled long cucumbers’.
Maarten vanden Eynde
Maarten’s installation sits at the edge of the Andrejsala marina. It is a mechanical representation of the Animal Musician sculpture in Bremen which was inspired by the Brothers Grimm.
Mark Dion will also display his immersive installation in the Former Biology Faculty Building at the University of Latvia. The viewer is required to navigate around three rooms using flashlights. Forgotten or obsolete objects and artefacts, including items from the Zoological Museum at the University, are dimly lit using colored lights throughout.
Artist Saskia Holmkvist has created a tour of Riga that was inspired by a group of intellectuals, including Helsinki-86, NSRD, various rock bands, and filmmakers, who were prominent in the city between the late 1970s and the late 1980s. The tour is designed to draw the participants attention to the way that news and events are told, translated and retold. It uses a series of historical nodes to highlight the transmission of subjectivity and freedom of speech.