The exhibition As She Sees It. brings together the work of four Latvian artists of the same generation – Vika Eksta, Evita Goze, Kristine Madjare and Diana Tamane – imagining, questioning and representing masculinities through the medium of photography and film. For most of the history of art and photography, one sex most often had the privilege of looking at and depicting the other. This exhibition turns the lens around, giving voice to four female artists. As She Sees It. considers how masculinity is socially constructed, taught, coded and performed nowadays, viewing it as a fluid idea which changes through times and cultures, rather than a fixed set of attributes. By doing so, the artists explore a much more complex spectrum of understanding masculinity than is stereotypically perceived – including states of loneliness, helplessness, tenderness, intimacy, vulnerability and the fragility of the body.
Evita Goze’s series of photographs On Guard (2015–2019) follows the Youth Guard, a voluntary movement for children and young people aged 10 to 21 years, organized by the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia. Military education can be looked at as a contemporary initiation ritual for adulthood, and at the same time it satisfies a romantic boyhood dream of going back to nature. By choosing adolescents who are still in the process of learning how to be men and soldiers as the subjects of her work, Goze stresses the performative and unstable nature of masculinity itself within a traditionally masculine environment.
Vika Eksta’s work P. (2018–2019) portrays her partner while asleep, during a period when he worked frequent night shifts. The process of photographing turned into a way of keeping in touch with someone who was unable to participate in direct communication at the time. The photographic series is accompanied by the artist’s diary – in a dry and poignant way, she follows the work schedule of P., recording their daily activities together and difficulties in communication, as well as reflecting on wider topics such as labor conditions and the dependency of personal wellbeing on a daily routine.
Kristine Madjare’s Retreat (2015–2018) sees the artist turn her gaze toward an often marginalised social group – middle-aged men fighting various addictions. Through quiet portraits, transparent landscapes and awkward still lives, Madjare creates a psychological portrait of place and state of mind, confronting the viewer with the despair, struggle, hope and almost palpable pain which accompanies their healing journey.
Diana Tamane has been developing a body of work called Family Project since 2009. As the title suggests, it focuses on her family members – not just depicting them, but often actively involving them as co-authors. In her new videowork Andris (2021, duration 19’00”) Tamane once again turns the camera toward her family, this time with the aim of portraying her father. Although he used to dislike animals, a few years ago he took in a stray cat named Masik. The artist attempts to capture a certain tenderness evident in the relationship between her father and his pet. In this video, Tamane invites us to slow down and witness moments of rest and simple rituals, where the act of breathing becomes more than enough.
Evita Goze (1984) is an artist, curator and writer, based in Riga, Latvia. Her practice is driven by her interest in shifting boundaries between reality and fiction, the personal and the political, focusing on questions of identity, the bodily, and power relations between individuals and the state. She received a BA in Photography from the University of Brighton, UK, and an MA in Visual Communication from the Art Academy of Latvia. Her work has been exhibited and published in Latvia and internationally, including at the ISSP Gallery (Riga, 2019), contemporary art festival Survival Kit 11: Being Safe is Scary (Riga, 2020) and the Latvian National Museum of Art (2020).
Vika Eksta (1987) is an artist and educator who uses photography, moving image, performance and audiovisual archives in her work. In her long-term projects, Eksta combines the documentary and fictional. She has studied photography at Andrejs Grants’ studio and EFTI photography school in Madrid, and obtained an MA in Visual Communication at the Art Academy of Latvia. Vika is the winner of the ADC Young Guns, FK Portfolio and Riga Photography Biennial awards for young Baltic photographers, and has been nominated for the Purvītis Prize. Since 2014, she has participated in exhibitions in Latvia and abroad, including at the Latvian National Museum of Art (2020), kim? Contemporary Art Centre (2019), Gallery Alma (2019), ISSP Gallery (2018), Kaunas Photography Gallery (2017). Her work is held in the collections of the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Latvian Museum of Photography and private collections.
Kristine Madjare (1987) is a photographer based in Riga. Madjare has received a BA in Photography from Tartu Art College, Estonia. She works across documentary photography, focusing on introvert communities. Madjare has had several solo exhibitions, including Retreat at the Tetno Gallery during TIFF Festival (Wroclaw, 2018) and Inland at the Latvian Museum of Photography (2016). Her project Retreat received the Riga Photography Biennial Award (2018). Madjare also works as a freelance photographer, mostly working on fashion, portraiture and editorial assignments. Among her clients are The Blinds, New York Times, models.com, Focus Magazine, Veto Magazine and Jezga Magazine.
Diana Tamane (1986) was born in Riga, lives and works in Tartu. As a basis for her photographic and video works she uses personal stories that take shape through the collecting and assembling of her own daily experiences, impressions, habits and memories, as well as those of her relatives. She has graduated from Tartu Art College (BA), the LUCA School of Arts, Brussels (MA) and the HISK post-academic residency programme, Ghent, Belgium. In 2020 APE (Art Paper Editions), Ghent, published her first photobook Flower Smuggler, which was nominated for the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards and received the Author’s Book Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles. In recent years Tamane has received the Kim? Residency Award in Artport, Tel Aviv (2019), the Riga Photography Biennial Award (2018), Outset Estonia – Estonian Photographic Art Fair Acquisition Fund (2017), Friends of the S.M.A.K. Prize (2016). Since 2012, she has exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is held in the collections of Fotomuseum Winterthur (Switzerland), the Latvian National Museum of Art and private collections in Europe and China.
Exhibition title: As She Sees It.
Artists: Evita Goze, Vika Eksta, Kristine Madjare, Diana Tamane
Curator: Diana Tamane
Venue: Pallas gallery, Tartu, Estonia
Exhibition dates: 25/02 – 13/03/2021 (from 3/03 closed due to restrictions)
Photography: Kristine Madjare