'Growing Out? Growing Up? Contemporary Art Collecting in the Baltics' at Zuzeum Art Centre

June 8, 2022
Author Echo Gone Wrong

The exhibition “Growing Out? Growing Up? Contemporary Art Collecting in the Baltics” at Zuzeum Art Centre in Riga introduces vibrant contemporary art collections in the Baltics while emphasising the social aspects of private collecting. It is a project that aims to unite art collectors in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and facilitate public and international access to art in private collections and the emerging art infrastructure in the Baltic countries.

What often started as passion projects in the 1990s has now grown into an alternative infrastructure with thousands of masterpieces of Baltic art being stored, catalogued, restored, researched and loaned to local and international museums and galleries. Many private collections have grown into foundations, museums, art centres and places of learning. The exhibition touches upon the international dynamics of collections as well as their developmental ambitions as growing bodies and institutions. The exhibition also poses a question: what is the future of collecting?

According to Ugnė Bužinskaite, director of the Lewben Art Foundation, this exhibition is the result of a partnership between the Zuzeum Art Centre in Riga, the Kai Art Center in Tallinn and the Lewben Art Foundation established in Vilnius, and the aim of the project itself is to increase the international awareness and dissemination of private collections that have been formed in the Baltic countries.

‘This exhibition is our first joint project, which was conceived even before the pandemic. A couple of years ago, when we met in Riga at the opening of Zuzeum, we realised how little we know about the private collections of our closest neighbours. Thus, we want to introduce the public to the private contemporary art collections and collectors of the Baltic countries, which are gradually increasing in numbers both in Lithuania and in other Baltic countries. By joining forces, we will increase the international profile of these collections and artists,’ says Ugnė Bužinskaitė.

Works by Robertas Narkus, Augustas Serapinas, Laura Kaminskaitė, and Patricija Jurkšaitytė from the collection of the Lewben Art Foundation will be presented at the exhibition in Riga, including the works by world-famous artists such as Pieter Hugo, Ian Cheng and Cindy Sherman that have never been exhibited before. ‘We present Lithuanian artists in line with the Lewben Art Foundation’s international collection. We are very happy that this joint project contributes to our goal, because with cooperation between Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian private art institutions, the Baltic art field will become even more famous in the international context,’ says Vilius Kavaliauskas, collector and Chairman of the Board of the Lewben Art Foundation.

At the end of 2023, the Lewben Art Foundation with this exhibition that is to be curated by Neringa Bumblienė when held in Vilnius, intends to open the Lewben Art Foundation Art Centre at Bernardinų St. 6-12, Vilnius.

The artworks and collections in the exhibition have been selected by Olga Temnikova, a gallerist and art advisor from Tallinn: “With this show, I took a simple route to point out collections and collectors, selected not by scale but their drive and potential. I want the most exciting people to get together.

We present mainly recent acquisitions as signifiers of the state of affairs of the collecting process. Attention is paid to ‘crossborder consuming’ and artists that appear in several collections.

As a gallerist and therefore experienced Baltic-region art agent, I have been analysing the peculiarities of local art scenes: their up- and downsides. This made me dream of improving social connections, creating a cultural and artistic base for ‘Baltic pride’ – a common identity and starting point, so much more critical in the current geopolitical circumstances.”

Participating collections include Lewben Art Foundation, MO Museum Collection, Vitols Contemporary Art Collection, Zuzāns Collection, VV Foundation, Collection Kruus, as well as art collected by Boris Symulevič, Riivo Anton, Edgar Aronov and Maria Avdjushko.

Olga Temnikova, founder of Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, is an established art professional who successfully helped internationalise her local art scene, bringing many Estonian artists to international recognition. She believes in connections, networks and know-how and has fully immersed her enthusiasm and experience in shaping the Baltic art scene, including on this project.

The project was initiated and developed by Ieva Zībārte, architect, writer and curator, and Head of Exhibitions at Zuzeum Art Centre, in collaboration with Karin Laansoo, Artistic Director at Kai, Ugnė Bužinskaitė, Art Curator and Director of Lewben Art Foundation, and Giedrė Marčiulaitė, Art Curator and Executive Director of the The Lithuanian Expatriate Art Foundation. The exhibition in Riga is organised and funded by Zuzeum Art Centre and will be followed by independently curated exhibitions in Vilnius and Tallinn, organised by main project partners Lewben Art Foundation and Kai Art Center.

The exhibition features more than 70 artists representing different practices of contemporary art in different parts of the world: Adam Bomb Squad, Alar Tuul, Alice Kask, Amanda Ziemele, Anastasia Sosunova, Andrius Zakarauskas, Augustas Serapinas, Chaz Guest, Cindy Sherman, Cyberbrokers, Damien Hirst, Diana Remeikytė, Dominykas Sidorovas, Edith Karlson, Eduardo Sarabia, Eike Eplik, Elena Narbutaitė, Elza Sīle, Flo Kasearu, Friedrich Kunath, Gabrielė Adomaitytė, Herkki-Erich Merila, Ian Cheng, Jaan Toomik, Jaanus Samma, Kaido Ole, Kamil Pierwszy, Katja Novitskova, Kazimieras Brazdžiūnas, Khanyisa Dada, Kris Lemsalu, Krista Mölder, Kristaps Ģelzis, Kristina Õllek, Laura Kaminskaitė, Laura Põld, Lesley Vance, Louisa Gagliardi, Marcus Jahmal, Merike Estna, Mickalene Thomas, Mikko Hintz, Mindaugas Lukošaitis, Monika Radžiūnaitė, Mykola Bilous, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Neringa Černiauskaitė, Nik Kosmas, Patricija Jurkšaitytė, Paul Kuimet, Peeter Allik, Peeter Laurits, Pieter Hugo, Raoul Kurvitz, Reinis Lismanis, Robertas Narkus, Robert Nava, Rūtė Merk, Sabīne Vernere, Santa France, Sergey Zarva, Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė, Simon De Mai, Sirja-Liisa Eelma, Soshiro Matsubara, Taisia Korotkova, Teresa Margolles, Thomas Lerooy, Tõnis Saadoja, Ugnius Gelguda, Vadim Fiškin, Vojtěch Kovařík, Vytenis Burokas, XCOPY, Yevhen Petrov, Zuza Golińska, Žilvinas Kempinas.

We wish to thank collectors and gallerists for opening the doors to their collections, museums, galleries and storage rooms, providing vital information for research as well as showing support, sharing our interest and excitement about the project.

Exhibition Team

Artistic Director: Olga Temnikova
Project Director: Ieva Zībārte

Partner Advisory Group: Ugnė Bužinskaitė, Agnese Kleina, Karin Laansoo, Giedrė Marčiulaitė
Exhibition Architect: Toms Kampars
Graphic Designer: Karola Rubene
Financial Manager: Ilze Baumane
Project Manager: Katrīna Jurkevica
Researcher: Antonio Quint Vila
Conservation Specialists: Evita Melbārde, Liene Muceniece, Anastasija Skopenkova
Exhibition Technicians: Andris Konošonoks, Māris Mikāns, Raivis Švarcs

Organised and funded by Zuzeum Art Centre
Project Partners: Lewben Art Foundation, Kai Art Center
Technology Partner: Samsung
Mobile Art Profile Technology Partner: LinkArt

Growing Out? Growing Up?
Contemporary Art Collecting in the Baltics
04.06. – 20.11.2022.
Zuzeum Art Centre, Lāčplēša iela 101, Rīga, LV–1011

Photography: Ansis Starks