From 17 October until 10 November the exhibition A Sense of Place. Contemporary Latvian Photography will be held at AusstellungsHalle 1A in Frankfurt, Germany. The exhibition is part of the European cultural days 2013 – Latvia organized by European Central Bank in cooperation with Latvijas Banka. Three contemporary Latvian photographers Arnis Balčus, Reinis Hofmanis and Alnis Stakle are looking for the signs in Latvian landscape characterizing their home. The landscape consists of natural and cultural elements and their mutual interaction. Interaction with these elements can evoke a special sense of place, which the photographers have tried to reveal in their works. Alnis Stakle in series Not Even Something is photographing unmapped paths and roads at nighttime in Daugavpils, the second largest city in Latvia; Arnis Balčus in Latvian Notes examines the collective rituals and commonplace in provincial towns and suburbs; Reinis Hofmanis in series Sale and Private is interested in the system of signs in landscape. At the same time, the photographers reflect on the complex political and economic situation in Latvia today. A few years ago Latvia suffered a deep financial crisis, but now again it is considered a country with the most rapid economic growth in the EU. Landscape is like a language in a constant conflict between the official representation offered to tourists and the actual everyday reality, often unaffected by globalization. The photographers show us the landscape components underlying the narrative of the space inhabited by them and society, the history of the space, as well as the Latvian perception of themselves in the global context. A 96-page catalogue has been published by the contemporary culture centre KultKom for the purpose of the exhibition. The exhibition is supported by Council of Riga, Freeport of Riga, Live Riga, Arctic Paper and ArtGlass.
Arnis Balcus (1978) is a photographer and editor-in-chief of FK Magazine. Most of his recent photographic work examines Latvian identity, social histories and political taboos. He holds a BA degree in Communication studies from the University of Latvia and an MA degree in photographic studies from the University of Westminster. His work has been exhibited internationally and published in magazines, such as Achtung Mode, Dazed & Confused, The New Yorker, Foto & Video. Recent shows include MAMAC in Liege (BE), Matthew Bown Gallery in London (UK) and Riga Art Space (LV).
The works of Alnis Stakle (1975) have been exhibited in a number of solo shows and group exhibitions, including such venues as the Latvian National Museum of Art, Modern Art Oxford (UK), Niggendijker (NL), gallery Photographer.ru (RU). Self-portraits, still lives and close-ups of the private milieu and detached views of deserted landscapes are some of the characteristic motives of Stakle’s photography. In 2011 with series Lost: Paris Stakle got the 1st place in the category of architectural photography in the Sony World Photography Awards; he was also one of the finalists in Leica Oscar Barnack Preis competition. His works have been published in several photography and art publications in Latvia and abroad: Shots, Eyemazing, Photography Now.
Reinis Hofmanis (1985) in his works is interested in landscape as culture – geographical phenomena and a sign as a symbol of consumerism. In 2012 he graduated with a Master’s degree in Visual Communications from the Art Academy of Latvia. In 2012 Hofmanis was awarded the Archifoto Award, but in 2013 with series Territory Hofmanis got the 2nd place in the category of architectural photography in the Sony World Photography Awards. He has had exhibitions at the contemporary art centre CEAAC in Strasbourg (FR), kim? in Riga (LV), Tukums Museum of Art (LV), and elsewhere. His works have been published in The Financial Times, Spiegel, The New York Times and other media.