Exhibition ‘Potato People’ by Renata Feizaka and Klāvs Liepiņš at the Smilga Culture Space

2024 06 01 — 2024 06 30
Author Echo Gone Wrong
Published in Events in Latvia

On 1 June at 18.00, The Riga Photography Biennial 2024 invites to the opening of the exhibition ‘Potato People’ by Renata Feizaka and Klāvs Liepiņš in the Smilga Culture Space. The exhibition will be on view from 2 to 30 June. Curator – Tīna Pētersone.

For Latvians, the annual potato harvest extends beyond a mere agricultural routine – it is a cultural ritual laden with historical significance that symbolically marks the connection between humans and the land. The experience of collectively encountering the earth, sensing the gently turned soil’s fluffy texture and its tangy aroma mingling with the brisk autumn breeze, instinctively serves as the foundation for the Latvian understanding of life and death. Seemingly mundane, the potato emerges as a potent symbol, embodying survival, community, and the resilience of the Latvian people. The show explores the tension between the inherited identities of growing up in 1990s Latvia – shaped by Christianity and the Soviet Union’s ideological legacy – and the evolution of a hybrid identity in a new cultural context. The artist tandem employs personal experiences and fictional characters to speculate on the theme, juxtaposing human inventions against the purest forms of human existence – nudity and natural cycles.

The Latvian artist duo Renata Feizaka and Klāvs Liepiņš, having made Iceland their home for over a decade, present their inaugural joint exhibition in Riga.  Both are graduates of Iceland University of the Arts, with Klāvs holding a BA in contemporary dance and Renāte with a BA in Fine arts. In their collaboration, artists combine Renāte’s installations and sculptures with Klāvs’ movement and choreography to create videos, performances, and installations to explore themes of identity, nationality, and cultural structures that shape individuals and society as a whole. Their installation ‘Potato People’ in the exhibition ‘As You Are Now So Once Was I/As I Am Now So Will You Be’ at The Living Art Museum, NÝLO in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2022 was nominated for the Icelandic Art Prize. In October 2023, they exhibited their solo show Doom Loop in Reykjavik Art Museum, Hafnarhús.

The Smilga Culture Space is open from Wednesday to Friday from 14.00 to 19.00 and on Saturdays and Sundays from 13.00 to 18.00. Entrance is free.

The Riga Photography Biennial is an international contemporary art event, focusing on the analysis of visual culture and artistic representation. The term ‘photography’ in the title of the biennial is used as an all-embracing concept encompassing a mixed range of artistic image-making practices that have continued to transform the lexicon of contemporary art in the 21st century.

Supporters and partners of the exhibition: State Culture Capital Foundation, Riga State City Council, Smilga Culture space, printing house Adverts, Arterritory.com, Echo Gone Wrong, NOBA.