Photo reportage from the exhibition 'A panic attack on a sunny day' by Līga Spunde at Tuesday to Friday in Spain

A panic attack on a sunny day

Text by Ieva Raudsepa

You bring me freshly squeezed juice from the oranges in your garden and it tastes like the sun, but then thinking about the sun makes me think more about the absence of it than anything else.

It burned before I realised that some things disappear faster than others. You whatsapp me pictures of destinations with perfect weather and say that we should go somewhere that is not here, just to get away from it all for a bit. I wonder what are the things that we are able to escape from. I’m on my way to meet you when someone from around the corner sneaks up behind me. Wide-eyed, he turns to me and says that there is a long shadow following him. Be careful out there, ok?

I continue my way to the bar, it’s a weeknight so the place is half-empty, and when we are on our fourth beer, I tell you about the man with the shadow in the dark. The thin orange candle on our table is just about to reach its end when someone arrives to light a new one. The new candle is now burning in front of us and it releases a wax tear that runs down its slim body; the tear feels like it’s going down fast, but then the liquid hardens before it hits the surface, freezes into a perfect drop, and I understand that the candle is of the type that you would stick into a birthday cake, which reminds me of the anniversary that none of us want to attend, but that is approaching, or maybe just passed, and, wow, time flies, I think to myself, but then again, maybe not, maybe time is actually going against its own premise; stuck not moving.

When you can’t resolve a problem, try walking away from it to get another perspective, was the professional advice I got when I was still looking for an escape. You pinch me in the cheek, hey, you zoned out again, in an attempt to bring me back into the room, to remind me that I am here, that we are drinking beer together, and then you pick up the conversation and start talking about the anniversary that, I guess, we’re both going to, because there isn’t an option to not go, and that the event, as you put it, for some reason, is making many people depressed. I watch you talk and realise that our conversation has become your monologue. It makes me want to answer in a way that ending a sentence with too many exclamation marks would sound like, but I understand that screaming would only make you bigger and stronger, the shadow would become even longer, while I would just continue dripping. Orange wax tears on my cheeks. Watery orange juice from the supermarket tastes nothing like the sun even though it tries to imitate it. My brain keeps flickering, eyes looking in every direction to find the right answer, looking for the exit sign, and at the end of the new candle someone arrives to light another one; not a place to hide, but a feeling to hold onto.

The exhibition “A panic attack on a sunny day” addresses the anxiety and uncertainty of this moment in time. The resident characters of the exhibition space can’t escape the world they inhabit. Their gazes mirror fear of what is happening around them, asking whether it is possible to get rid of the unease, and if not—what to do about it?

Līga Spunde (b. 1990) is a visual artist based in Riga, Latvia. She received her BFA and MFA in Visual Communication at the Art Academy of Latvia. In Līga’s multimedia installations, personal stories are entwined with consciously constructed fiction and pop culture references. Recent exhibitions include The Real Show (2022, CAC Brétigny, Paris), My Bitter Sweet Frankenstein Body (2022, Titanik, Turku), Screen Age III: Still Life (2022, Riga Photography Biennial, RMT, Riga), Cybervikings of Mars (2021, 427 Gallery, Riga), The Bambi Project (2021, Kogo gallery, Tartu), Being Safe Is Scary, Survival Kit 11 (2020, Latvian Center for Contemporary Art, Riga).

Artists:  Līga Spunde
Exhibition title: A panic attack on a sunny day
Venue: Tuesday to Friday, Valencia, Spain
Date:  March 3 – April 14, 2023


Photography: Dibudibus