Category: All

The Future State

174 year old Melānijs Bloka experiences enlightenment on the shore of the Baltic lake during a frosty thunderstorm, 2017, pine wood and oil paint

A contemporary art exhibition made within the framework of Latvia’s Centenary Programme, The Future State was launched on the 22nd of February and will be open for visitors up until the 20th of May at the ARSENĀLS exhibition hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga.

Exhibition theme has been created by Elita Ansone, also, the curator of the project. It is centered around the puzzling nature and possibly a confusing image of what the future country will resemble. Within this framework over twenty artists have been invited to envision what might be looming ahead. Particularly Aigars Bikše’s work has been located in the repository of LNMA sculptures and object collection. Positioning it among the objects of former topicality serves its purpose – it is not merely limited to visitors’ observation but dismantles the bounds of past, present and future.

The work 174 year old Melānijs Bloka experiences enlightenment on the shore of the Baltic lake during a frosty thunderstorm exhibits a compilation of inner and outer transformation. Brought together under the title of this wooden sculpture are two distinct things – experience of exalted elevation and intersexuality.

It was during a residency in Japan when the idea for the sculpture first came about and, subsequently, the sketches were made. In Buddhist tradition a particular emanation of the Buddha is a man who had become compassionate, kind and attentive towards the world through enlightenment and was thereby partially transformed into a female form. Here the emphasis is on the individual experience – an inner spiritual journey whereby the physical transformation serves as means of expression. It seems a compelling idea to envision the spirituality and exalted elevation in the foreground, leaving the gender-specifics in the background. The feminine and masculine are seen in a different manner from the Western world.

Depiction of an intersex person within the context of Latvian patriarchal society is not a statement on its own although it may easily be perceived as such. Intersexuality is rather a flashing example that represents what cannot be easily accepted or even tolerated. It vividly exemplifies the close relation between our cultural background and morality – the biased and dogmatic vision of our existence. Meanwhile, the exalted elevation is not as easy to bypass – the piety towards the mystical moment of enlightenment persists regardless of cultural background. The work attends the contradictions within a cultural system on its own.

What am I prepared to recognize?

What am I willing to accept and tolerate?

 

 

Representation of the Buddha having partially taken a female form /Temple, Rikuzentakata, Japan 2017/

 

 

Manila Biennale – Open City 2018

The Red Slide, 2012, polyurethane

 

Aigars Bikše’s work The Red Slide can be viewed in Manila Biennale – Open City 2018 in Manila, The Philippines.

Manila Biennale is an art festival oriented towards urban development that has gained prominence in the region of South-East Asia within the first year of its operation. Over 50 international participants have displayed their work in Intramuros, historically old and culturally significant part of the city.

This Year’s theme Open City is both – a tribute and a commemoration. It honors the emergence of the region of Intramuros, built during the reign of Spain and considered to be the birthplace of the local culture. At that time it was a lively port, which had thus opened itself up to the outer initiatives, influences and people unlike the vast majority of the surrounding areas. Meanwhile it serves as a reminder of the happenings of  the World War II and the destruction of Intramuros. Particularly on December 26, 1941 the city – colony of the US at that time – was declared an Open City. It came to be positioned as non-military city and was cleared of all military presence.  War period remains that of unease and hardship for the inhabitants of Manila.

There is yet an ongoing debate pledging and convicting different political powers and military interventions in the city of Manila during World War II. The US tends to be seen as the liberating superpower in this reference both – locally and internationally – while the Japanese are condemned for their extensive occupation of the city. Apart from this prevalent perception, other versions and interpretations persist and sometimes find their voice through new artistic and social initiatives.

This urban intervention – a bright red slide with a fallen soldier constituting its base -The Red Slide is located in the central square of the old city next to the Cathedral of Manila. It has come to be one of the most prominent and eye-catching objects in the context of Manila Biennale and continues to attract a constant flux of people. Apart from intriguing the masses, the work is aimed at raising awareness about the past and confronting the tensions of today. The piece of art is surrounded by various historical interpretations that overlap and become juxtaposed.

For more info on Manila Biennale:

https://www.artlink.com.au/articles/4670/manila-biennale/

 

Rikuzentakata AIR Program 2017

Aigars Bikše took part in Rikuzentakata Artist In Residence program 2017 from September through October. Focusing on the restoration of the urban space through expression of art, the program encourages interaction with the local community and a “hands-on” participation in the urban renewal. Particularly Japan’s AIR programs are designed to address the matters of the local area, culture and tradition.

On the 11th of March, 2011 a magnitude-9 earthquake hit eastern Japan and a subsequent 17 meters high tsunami followed destroying most of the city and leaving the community devastated and scattered. Following the catastrophe, the government put efforts in building extensive tsunami-defense mounds to prevent further disasters. Yet, the local population experiences and expects these catastrophes to happen once every century as part of the natural cycle. The values of Shintoism are embedded in the local culture, forces of nature being at the very heart of this ideology. Here the governing bodies and long-established religious belief system coexist and often enough become juxtaposed.

Personal interest in mythology and mythological beliefs brought the artist to participate in this project. One story in particular caught his attention and constitutes the concept of the project. An elderly man who had survived the tsunami recalls lending his back yard to a local shaman to perform a ritual shortly after the catastrophe. Having seen the wave and barely escaped by running up-hill, the man was wondering how he had managed to escape. The Shaman suggested it might have been the protection of the fox in case he had built a temple for one. And, indeed, shortly before the city was flooded and destroyed, the man had built a small temple-like burial place for a fox he had found lying in his yard. On the other end, instances are reported of people being lured into the forest by a fox. It is still commonly held that the fox possesses magical power and can protect people same as cheat and lure them away by changing its appearance into human-like.

The local mythological beliefs find their way into the everyday practices of the local community and to some extent mediate the lives of the people of Rikuzentakata. At the same time these beliefs overlap with the modernity and industrial influences from outside, such as the preventive government actions not fully understood and accepted by the community that values the nature above all. The end-project seeks to combine the encounters of the residency in Rikuzentakata.

In the work Mythology and propaganda; foxes playing with a mediocre space rocket two foxes representing the mythological beliefs still prevalent in the modern-day Rikuzentakata are combined with what stands for potential danger – a mediocre space rocket. The course of history presents old beliefs with new struggles caused by new advancements and ideologies whereas either one of these has to conform and be brought up to date. Participation in the AIR program in Rikuzentakata allows to see how Art-led community revitalization is indeed possible and rewarding.

 

 

 

 

Sculpture Quadrennial Riga 2016

 

See you at the opening of SQR central exhibition “Being good” in Wagner Hall on September 10th, 7PM. If you love having a good time, meeting and greeting artists, investigating borders between conservatism and liberalism and seeing contemporary art interacting with the gorgeous historical building, this is it!

If you’re ready to explore the program of our friends – Contemporary Culture forum “White Night”, you will find SQR outdoor objects all around the city. Visit the space traveler Sam by artist Denis Prasolov (RU) at Kronvalda Park, be inspired by Olivier Goethals’ (BE) installation at “AB Dambis”, figure out Mindaugas Navakas (LT) floating objects in the city’s canal next to Bastejkalns and Latvian National Opera, and many others starting from 3PM.

Program coming soon at your favorite cultural places in Riga and on our website.

Staring Olivier Goethals (Belgium), Kaspar Müller (Switzerland/Germany), Camille Goujon (France), Nikita Kadan (Ukraine), Denis Prasolov (Russia), Hanna Stahle (Sweden), Signe Johannessen (Sweden), Ronny Faber Dahl (Norway), Kaarina Kaikkonen (Finland), Markus Kåhre (Finland), Jacob Jessen (Denmark), Olaf Brzeski (Poland), Kim de Ruysscher (Belgium), Gundega Evelone (Latvia), Krista and Reinis Dzudzilo (Latvia), Ieva Saulīte (Latvia), Johannes Säre (Estonia), Jaanus Samma (Estonia), Terje Ojaver (Estonia), Juozas Laivys (Lithuania), Žilvinas Landzbergas (Lithuania), Mindaugas Navakas (Lithuania), Nele Möller and Florian Deeg (Germany), Justin Charles Hoover (USA), Hadas Maor (Israel).

Together with State Culture Capital Foundation (VKKF); Culture Forum “White Night”; Riga City Council’s Education, Culture and Sports Department; Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia; Goethe-Institute; French Institute in Latvia; Art Academy of Latvia; “Pro Helvetia” Foundation, Embassy of Israel in Riga, Danish Arts Foundation; FRAME (Finnish Fund for Art Exchange); UNHCR; Flanders State of the Art; co-working space “Nordic Club House”; Embassy of Switzerland in Latvia; The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia; Veto Magazine; Ir Magazine; Punctum Magazine; Satori Magazine; art and culture website Arterritory; visual arts magazine Studija; contemporary arts online magazine Echo Gone Wrong; Coffee Inn; artist-run space 1857; Lithuanian Council for Culture; Embassy of Lithuania in Riga; Ltd “INT General”; The Ministry of Culture of Estonia; Estonian National Culture Foundation.

Admission is free. Always.

“Lielzemes muzejs” Kuldīgā

No 6. līdz 30. jūlijam Kuldīgas Mākslas namā būs skatāma izstāde “Lielzemes muzejs”. Izstādes atklāšana 5. jūlijā, plkst. 17:00.

Izstādē apmeklētāju uzmanībai tiek piedāvāti eksponāti no reālas utopijas, Lielzemes, kuri līdz šim ir nonākuši darba grupas rīcībā vai tikuši veidoti, balstoties iegūtajā informācijā. Viena no izstādes pamattēmām ir utopiska domāšana, kas ir bijis būtisks dzinulis arī Latvijas salīdzinoši jaunajā vēsturē. Ar utopisku domāšanu varam saskarties ik uz soļa – klasiska Kurzemes zemnieku sēta mums saistās ar daļēji mītisko pirmo brīvvalsti, padomju laiku pēdas vides ainavā un cilvēku domāšanā atgādina par vienu no vērienīgākajām tuvākajā vēsturē radītajām utopijām, arī no jebkādām savienībām neatkarīga Latvija mūsdienās ir spilgts utopiskas domāšanas auglis. Pat skatoties sīkumos, atrodam mazas utopijas. Piemēram, labi autoceļi mūsu sapņos atgriežas atkal un atkal. Vārds ‘utopija’ burtiski nozīmē ‘vieta, kuras nav’. Utopijā saplūst un bieži kontrastē naivs sapņojums pēc labākas, nereti pavisam neiespējamas būšanas un liela atbildība, jo sapņi mūs vada līdzīgi šamaņu paralēlo realitāšu iztēlojumiem, kas nodrošina vismaz iespēju izmaiņām uz labu. Bet gaišu sapni un murgu šķir vien plāna membrāna, kā jau no vēstures to zinām.

Izstādes iekļaujas plašākā projektā “Lielzemes muzejs”, ko ir paredzēts attīstīt un turpināt izrādīt gan dažādās Latvijas pilsētās – Liepājā, Ventspilī, Daugavpilī u.c. –, gan arī ārzemēs līdz 2018. gadam, kad Latvijas simtgades svētku ietvaros notiks projekta kulminācijas pasākumi Rīgā. Projekta darba grupu veido pieredzējuši profesionāļi no dažādām jomām ar plašu un starptautisku pieredzi mākslas projektos.

Izstādes darba grupu veido mākslinieki Aigars Bikše un Andris Vītoliņš, kurators Uldis Pētersons, Ilze Supe un filozofs Kārlis Vērpe.

 

Lielzemes_Bikse_liepaja

xlarge_4a62

Lord of His Own Manor: Me

“To get to Laukmuiža manor, the road leads through wide-open fields, sleepy villages and former kolkhozes. Finally, smoke rises above bright blue roofs that stand out from the otherwise muted tones of architecture in the Kurzeme region of Western Latvia. On one of the last days of an especially golden fall, sculptor and lord of his own manor Aigars Bikše is experimenting with a DIY oven, trying out a recipe for home-smoked lamb.” – www.freundevonfreunden.com

http://www.freundevonfreunden.com/interviews/aigars-bikse/