An opinion that has been already long-established is that in writing world history, within the framework of the dominant patriarchal and heteronormative social structures, women’s experiences have continuously been ‘omitted’. The current global socio-political events, especially as revealed by the pandemic, also point out a necessity to change familiar views on world order by shaping a more open, inclusive and equal society. Despite determined attempts to change prevailing traditions, there has been a continuous need to produce new knowledge that would emphasise the ignored stories. Why do we continuously forget and marginalize the achievements of women?
By re-examining events in Latvia and Eastern Europe in the second half of the 20th century, which are marked by the Soviet period and its cultivated illusion of ‘gender equality’, the exhibition offers opportunities for interpreting the recent past, by turning against the established hierarchies in shaping historical narratives. The project expands distinct artistic practices, facts, memories, human and aesthetic values, which can comment not only on the position and influence of women artists in the social and cultural scene, but can also reveal new stories of our shared history.
The core of this exhibition is the artists Rita Einberga (1921–1979), Laima Eglīte (1945), Maija Eliase (1924–1991), Mudīte Gaiševska (1935), Ruta Kreica (1946), Rasa Kalniņa-Grīnberga (1936) and Olga Neimane-Kateņeva (1908–2001). Each of them represents different artistic strategies which are linked to the alternative culture and attempts of diversifying visual language, as well as to the range of creative interests within the official art scene. Whereas considering questions of feminism and gender in present-day context, original works specifically for the exhibition have been created by the artists Anni Puolakka (Finland) and Marta Trektere, Evita Goze, Rasa Jansone, Liliana Piskorska (Poland).
The exhibition project is a collective research initiative which links ten researchers and artists, with the purpose of understanding the ways how and what we can learn if we unite our knowledge, abilities and skills, and thereby bringing to attention questions of solidarity from the historical and today’s perspective. What shared considerations or circumstances can encourage the process of working together? What are the different approaches to knowledge that we can gain about our past in this way?
As part of the exhibition, a number of public events are planned, and their dates will be announced separately:
The collective reading event Sourcebook together with the actress Daiga Kažociņa is scheduled for 11 December 2020 at 6 pm. Daiga Kažociņa will read the essay Sourcebook by Liliana Piskorska who is a participating artist in this exhibition. Sourcebook focuses on the feminist movement’s and lesbian histories in Poland, which are still being silenced and marginalized, especially now, as part of Poland’s ultra-right policies.
Performance Oestrus Youth by Anni Puolakka and Marta Trektere. A series of several works, born out of the two artists’ long-term co-operation by examining the relationship between friendship and intimacy, and the stereotypes determined by the larger society. The series contains a double bill of performances – Oestrus and Painless Youth – in which Anni Puolakka and Marta Trektere are involved in each other’s work as a visiting performer and supporter. The performance is accompanied by a collaboratively made video and installation.
Performance periodika.lpsr by Rasa Jansone and Ieva Melgalve. Woman’s world, even in Soviet times, was the world of home of homeliness, with its everyday beauty and decorative fragility. So easy to smash if one would try to break out of it, and when one does, what then?… Even if art fits into this world, it is a certain kind of art, dictated not only by the society but also by the political power. In real, unedited quotes from the press of the newly made Latvian SSR we draw the typical retorics the women looking for their way in the field of art faced. The performance is developed in collaboration with Literature festival Prozas lasījumi.
THE LATVIAN CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) is the largest institution of contemporary art in Latvia, curating and producing contemporary art events on a national and international scale. Since 1993, it has researched and curated contemporary art processes both in Latvia and abroad, aiming to provoke critical reflection on issues relevant to contemporary society. The LCCA is widely recognized for its annual international contemporary art festival Survival Kitand its regular exhibitions at the Latvian National Museum of Art, as well as for representing Latvia at the Venice Art Biennale, Manifesta, São Paulo Art Biennial, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Rauma Biennale of Contemporary Art, and others. The LCCA maintains the only Latvian contemporary art archive.