From April 21, as a part of the Riga Photography Biennial 2016, Alma gallery presents The Falling of the Arches, the solo exhibition of Romanian photographer Stefan Sava (1982).
Sava is an archaeologist of history, driven by a desire to experience it tangibly. His creative approach is based on academic, analytic research and interpretation.
At the heart of the exhibition is the video essay, composed in 2015 and exhibited at the 56th Venice Biennial. It is based on Sava’s essay with the same title, inspired by a box containing hundreds of black-and-white photo negatives, bought in a flea market in Berlin. Following fragmentary references on the envelopes, he turned to registering and researching the anonymous historical materials, and then came up with his own interpretation of the events transpiring during the 20th century in wartime and post-war Germany. The photos from family albums, portraits, mundane, candid shots reveal the collective unconsciousness of the times, created by the state ideology.
The text, recited in the video by Stefan Sava himself, becomes an effort to show author’s attitude to the events he has not experienced himself and could only approach through the field of apparent and hidden meanings of these photographs.
The other part of the exhibition is dedicated to photo installations. One of them, Untitled (2015) – is made up from female portraits, taken by German photographer Mathilde Ross in the mid-1940s in her Hamburg studio.
The other, Changing Horizons (2013), is a photo-montage documenting the creation of the piece Horizons. It is a curtain made from used burlap sacks with visible traces where the author has drawn a graphic representation of the geographical horizon. The lines refer to a subjective, idealistic and nostalgic viewpoint of one individual, serving as a visual representation of perception.
The third photo installation from 2012, He Told Himself That… consists from over 200 images in which the artist subjects his body to a linguistic challenge. Each one of the small photographs is a letter in a sentence, taken from the Romanian author Marin Preda’s 1975 novel Delirium. The book is set in Romania before the Second World War. Sava has implanted the sentence in the city’s public space, by depicting each letter with his body.
Stefan Sava lives and works in Bucharest, Romania. In 2010 he graduated with a master’s degree from the Photography and Video Department of the Bucharest National University of Arts, and now continues with doctoral studies. His works have been exhibited since 2008, among others in the Kunsthalle Winterthur in Switzerland; Museum für Photographie Braunschweig in Germany; Anexa (National Museum of Contemporary Art) in Romania and other art institutions. In 2013 he received the Henkel Award Romania prize and was shortlisted for the Henkel Art Award in Vienna.
The Riga Photography Biennial (RPB) is a new international contemporary art event, focusing on photography as a fine art practice and prioritising Latvian, Baltic and European regions in particular. It will host a range of exhibitions in different cities of Latvia and a set of educational events – such as symposium, lectures, workshops and artist talks. The Biennial will be held every other year and it will also host a range of events on a regular basis.
More information: www.rpbiennial.com
Exhibition organized by: Riga Pfotography Biennial and Alma gallery
Exhibition supported by: State Cultural Capital Foundation, printing house ‘Jelgavas Tipografija’, hotel network ‘Rixwell’, paper distributors ‘Antalis’, Internet mediums arterritory.com, lsm.lv and others.