Photo reportage from the exhibition 'Yawn Holding Fields' by Indrikis Gelzis at Tatjana Pieters gallery, Ghent

Yawning is a mostly an arbitrary reflex: the mouth is wide open, the lungs take in a lot of air. A slow exhale follows. Meanwhile, the eardrums crackle and, for a moment, a tear blurs the vision while the eyes are half-closed. The hypothalamus, which is hidden under the thalamus just above the brainstem, plays an important role in the process of yawning. Various neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, as well as neuropeptides, induce yawning. Perhaps, however, Edvard Munch’s scream, the eardrums crackling painfully and clutching his ears with hands, is a deep and magnetic chest-filling breath that turns into a deep yawn inhaling emptiness.

As an instrumental figure of false facts and intimidation tactics, causing confusion about the actual circumstances, Slavoj Žižek’s words keep repeating in my head about the human subject as a unique tear in the fabric of the universe, a case in which something has gone terribly wrong. According to him, the appearance of the human subject is an ontological catastrophe. Since the beginning of 2020, when the world was hit by a wave of the pandemic, we have experienced physical distancing and social isolation, integrating humanity as a more permanent player in cyberspace. Information flow has never before been more sensitive, with data running through the earth’s crust, through urban and rural buildings, stretching along highways, flowing through the air and connecting not only the sky to the earth but also people’s minds through various technological devices. An error in the factual information leaks like black ink into the water. Transparency disappears with every drop of ink in it: the potential for misinformation and disorientation takes hold.

Compared to the chest of a body or, more precisely, the parameters of the respiratory system, there is no capacity for the information world and cyberspace. The yawn of the information flow is infinite and ceaseless, with an inability to reach the desired dopamine mark. Whether it is a scream full of anxiety and despair or a heavy black yawn full of fatigue, in this case, it does not matter. The figure, which is exposed and connected to the nerves of information, is what matters.

Information wires turn into blood vessels.
Blood vessels turn into information wires.

— Indrikis Gelzis

Indrikis Gelzis (LV, 1988) lives and works in Riga, Latvia and New York, US. He graduated from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts (HISK), Ghent in 2016. Gelzis had solo exhibitions at amongst others Suprainfinit, Bucharest, ASHES/ASHES, New York, USA, Cinnamon gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Belenius Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden and National Art Museum of Latvia, Riga.

Gelzis has participated in many groupshows including ‘DARK MODE’ at ASHES/ASHES. New York, USA, ‘Doors of Paradise’ at Union Pacific, London (UK), ‘Superposition’, Joshua Liner, New York (US),‘Monsone’, Suprainfinit, Bucharest (RO), ‘Wholesome Environment’ at Lundgren, Palma (ES).

Gelzis’ work is part collections worldwide including the Latvian National Museum of Art (LV), Museum of Recent Art (RO), Alain Servais Collection, Brussels (BE), BTA ART Collection (LV), Colin Fernanders Collection (USA), CELINE SA (FR). His work has recently entered the Dalian Wanda Group Collection (CN).

12.03 – 17.04.2022
Tatjana Pieters

Photography: Dirk Pauwels / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Tatjana Pieters