Publication of Riga Photography Biennial 2020

    The publication of the Riga Photography Biennial 2020 offers deeper insight into the Biennial’s themes. Historian Kirill Kobrin contemplates on how we arrived at the boundless ocean of images not so long after having photogravure as a rarity in the cabinet of curiosities; media theoretician Kristin Klein traces the origins and development of the "post-digital"; art historian Alise Tīfentāle, by analyzing images on social networks, questions whether it is the right time for landscape photography; while historian Guna Ševkina and curator Šelda Puķīte introduce a lesser-known chapter of history of Latvian photography. The generously illustrated publication also provides more information abut the Biennial’s exhibitions, events and artists.


    Toms Harjo’s solo exhibition ‘Prospect’

    Toms Harjo’s photographs can be called stagings, in which successfully generated existential ambiguities have been recorded. The human image in portraits is only a sign, a figurative symbol, and the human bodily shape creates meaning through movement, pose or gesture, or the absence of this bodily shape.


    Exhibition ‘Transformation x 2’

    The ‘Transformation x 2’ exhibition reveals the artistic quest of two Finnish artists at the intersection of the Eastern and Western cultural spaces. Representatives of different generations and genders, they share an interest in the same question: what can a human image relate through photographic and cinematic means, settling in a seemingly nondescript space in an urban landscape and forming some sort of relationship with it?


    Exhibition ‘Wunderkammer’

    Gaining inspiration from the curiosity cabinet tradition, the international exhibition “Wunderkammer” turns to the phenomenon of collecting in the creative practice of contemporary artists. Wunderkammer, or the cabinet of curiosities as a treasure trove of unique collections, embodies the thought of the possibility of countless wonderful worlds, which can be created by collecting various natural and human made objects.

  • 20.august

    ‘(In)visible Authors’. Art interventions in public space

    (In)visible Authors, an art interventions set in the urban environment, is dedicated to unknown – or rather invisible ‒ Latvian cultural heritage. Embracing the movement of women’s history to review and expand the perspective of past events, exploring them through the lens of womens’ experience, the project focuses on works of female photographers in Latvia in the 1st half of the 20th century. Placed in the urban environment, selected photographs from museums and private collections become available to any passer-by.


    Andrejs Strokin’s solo exhibition ‘Cosmic Sadness’

    The series Cosmic Sadness is a visual diary and an experiment in private experience made public. Combining the immediacy of instant sharing and blue, desaturated, grainy filters, the series comments on the analogue nostalgia of the current digital generation and offers a new take on street photography, which embraces technological development rather than turning to the past.


    Marta Przybylo lecture ‘Experiencing the matter: about working with photographic archives’

    For more than a decade the Archeology of Photography Foundation takes care of photographic archives of Polish photographers. Foundation representative Marta Przybylo will discuss aims, problems and challenges of archival work, attempts of taming the chaos, psychological aspects of cooperating with owners of the archives, as well as contemporary artists creating new artworks in response to the Archeology of Photography Foundation collection.

  • 11.sept

    Exhibition ‘6x6/36’

    The 6 x 6 / 36 project, part of the Wish You Were Here! series, materializes the work undertaken by the Nunc Collective (Clarisse Bardiot, Annick Bureaud, Jean-Luc Soret and Cyril Thomas) to explore new forms of digital publishing and new approaches to exhibitions. Each notebook features the work of six artists focusing on a common theme. The artworks, biographical notes, and excerpts from texts selected by the artists can be accessed online using the data matrix.

  • 12.sept

    Symposium ‘There is no such place as destination’

    In 2012 James Elkins published the book What Photography Is. It was, as he says himself: “written, in the first instance, against Roland Barthes’s book. I was concerned that even after thirty years, Camera Lucida is still the central (most often cited) source in photographic theory.” In 2020, forty years passed since the publication of Barthes little book and still nothing has really changed. With that in mind, the RFB really has no other choice but to dedicate its symposium to the anniversary of Camera Lucida.


    Lecture by Guna Ševkina ‘Being a Female Photographer in the First Half of the 20th Century Latvia’

    In the history of Latvian photography there are rather many little-explored themes. One of those is related to the activity of female photographers in the first half of the 20 th century. Only one female photographer from this period, Lūcija Alutis-Kreicberga (b. Kreicberga, 1889-1985), tends to be mentioned, so often it is assumed that women played a secondary role in photography. As organizations related to photography formed at the beginning of the 20 th century, the Latvian Photography Society (founded in 1906) urged: “In order for the society to function successfully, it is necessary that all who are interested in photography participate, regardless of age and sex.” 1 Trying to popularize photography, other organizations expressed a similar attitude. But why is there so little information about female photographers?


    Discussion ‘Visions of Future’

    The notion of post-internet has frequently featured in contemporary art exhibitions and theoretical articles of the last decade. Media theorist and artist Marisa Olson was one of the first to start using the term in the discourse of contemporary art to denote art that a) could not have existed before the internet (technologically, phenomenologically, existentially) and b) has been formally in some way influenced by the internet.


    ‘Secret meeting’ – workshop with Līga Spunde

    The workshop offers an opportunity to fabricate your own fictitious situation, exploring techniques and methods of image and information manipulation. Using various combinations of photo prints, each member will develop his/her own scenario of a secret meeting, acquiring experience that calls for awareness of the subjectivity of visual information and critical evaluation of the content of visual information encountered on a daily base.


    Discussion ‘Contemporary Culture Festivals & Urban Development’

    A dynamic and diverse culture is undoubtedly an indicator of a healthy urban environment and certain quality of life. And yet, creating and experiencing art is often still considered a bonus, failing to recognize the role of culture in the socio-economic development of a city. The discussion will focus particulary on city-based international arts and culture festivals.


    Cinema Saturday

    On it's Cinema Saturday Riga Photography Biennial invites to reflect on the subjects highlighted by this year’s edition of the biennial by viewing them through the lens of film.

    The first part of the programme will see the Latvian premiere of the intriguing documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) by Pamela B. Green, simultaneously a tribute and a detective story. The film attempts to trace the events and circumstances that resulted in the undeserved obscurity of Alice Guy-Blaché (1873‒1968), a French director, producer and screenwriter, possibly the first ever female fiction movie director, who has contributed to more than 1000 films. The screening of the documentary is thematically tied to the (In)visible Authors project of the biennial, which is dedicated to the contribution of Latvian female photographers of 1st half of the 20th century, somewhat forgotten by the official history of photography.

    Films selected for the second part of the programme invite to reflect on the role of fiction and myth within creative practices in the creation of contemporary and historical narratives.


    Exhibition ‘On Photographic Beings’

    On Photographic Beings explores the failure of fully grasping. The display sets out to investigate photographic beings as multidimensional, complex and often ambiguous. Artists featured in the exhibition specifically look into the various facets of the object-image relationship. This connection, which is traditionally viewed as stemming from an object and resulting in an image, is shown here to be more elaborate and intricate than it at first appears.

  • 3.oct

    ‘Postcards from Suburb’ – workshop with Ingrīda Pičukāne

    Members of the Postcards from the Suburbs workshop will join the artist on a trip to a Riga residential district to capture its distinctive features, eye-catching oddities and scenes with their smartphones and each present a unique visual take on a particular neighbourhood of Riga.


    Siliang Ma’s solo exhibition “Fluctuation from Disorder to Order”. One-artist International Photography Symposium - Residence – Exhibition

    Taking a photo is a paradoxical activity as it proves and disproves the experience of being simultaneous. On the one hand, it visualizes a clue of being. On the other hand, the reality is manipulated within the two-dimensional surface through the intervention of control. In this representational reality, objects are deducted to the symbols, seeing is restricted under composition, and finally, chaos is tamed to order.

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