Riga Photography Biennial 2024 opens with exhibitions at the exhibition hall Riga Art Space and RIXC Gallery

2024 04 18 — 2024 06 15
Author Echo Gone Wrong
Published in Events in Latvia

The Riga Photography Biennial 2024 will start with the opening of three exhibitions. On 18 April at 6 pm at the exhibition hall “Riga Art Space” will open exhibitions “Human Computer” in the Great Hall and “Vamp(yre) Reality” in the Intro Hall, but on 19 April at 6 pm at the RIXC Gallery – the exhibition “A Breaking Point, A Delicate Balancing Act”. The Riga Photography Biennial is being held for the fifth time and this year it focuses on contemporary issues of identity – both the essence of human and the role of the image in the face of the challenges of the 21st century.

The central event of the Riga Photography Biennial 2024 – the exhibition “Human Computer” – is devoted to the group of eternal existential questions whose answers have to be re-evaluated from time to time. We live in hurried, interesting times, which constantly surprise and entice us with new technological means of improving the quality of our lives. We quickly adapt them to our daily rituals until we realise that these technical assistants are already pretending to become part of our personalities (thus, without a smartphone the individual is left helpless). Hence the era requires a new understanding of the essence of being human, a redefinition of the very idea of the human, a change in the existing perceptions of the self and the borders of one’s personality. From different perspectives, the artists have turned to the following question: how do the emotional manifestations inherent in human nature – feelings, pain, compassion – adapt to today’s digital world?

The exhibition curators are Inga Brūvere (LV) and Marie Sjøvold (NO). Participants: Stephanie Dinkins (USA), Andreas Refsgaard (DK), Synnøve Sizou G. Wetten (NO), Victoria Durnak (NO), Cloe Jancis (EE), Nastja Säde Rönkkö (FI), Ieva Vīksne (LV), Zane Zelmene (LV). The exhibition will be open from 19 April to 16 June at the exhibition hall “Riga Art Space” Great Hall.

From 19 April to 2 June, the exhibition “Vamp(yre) Reality” by British artists Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent will be on view in the Intro Hall of Riga Art Space which concerns the nature of consciousness and how it shapes human life. According to contemporary thought, there is no singular consciousness but a flux of thoughts and emotions that are framed in every given moment. But if Benjamin Libet is correct Human action as such comes before thought. We act spontaneously and then we create a plausible narrative for that action. In a search for hidden “truths” artists have developed a language of blending objects, environments, light, sound, VR and CGI. The works unfold in the making as in an act of performance. One thing leads to another. It is only realised fully in the exhibition hall, a punctuation in the continuity of the work’s evolution.

As part of the Riga Photography Biennial 2024 education programme, the exhibition hall “Riga Art Space” will host a Lecture by Adam Mazur “Atrocity Exhibition. New Modes of Representing Violence, War, and Trauma in Central and Eastern European Photography” on 30 May, but on 1 June children and young people are invited to participate in a creative workshop with artist Līga Spunde. The exhibition hall “Riga Art Space”, Kungu Street 3, is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 to 18.

The exhibition “A Breaking Point, A Delicate Balancing Act”, which will be on view from 20 April to 15 June at the RIXC Gallery, focuses on the relationship between artificial intelligence and photography. As the future of ghostly AI-processed images is fast approaching, photography seems to find itself in an existential crisis. A medium culturally accustomed to (re)presenting the World in all its detail is now facing competition from a formidable adversary. Unlike traditional photography, which requires real-location-based input and physical presence, text-to-image renderers can generate images from immaterial keywords, seemingly eliminating the need to be there for the photographic “that-has-been” to happen. Instead of delving into the rapidly changing technological state of AI modelling, exhibitions curator Paulius Petraitis (LT) aimed artists to examine photography and explore its present-state melancholy. The exhibition “A Breaking Point, A Delicate Balancing Act” takes a poetic and exploratory stance to navigate the nuanced current state of affairs in photography. Participants: Benjamin Freedman (CA), Albert Grøndahl (DK), Ieva Rojūtė (LT). RIXC Gallery, Lenču Street 2, is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 12 to 18.

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 opening programme of Riga Photography Biennial 2024: State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, Riga State City Council, Association of Cultural Institutions of Riga State City Council Exhibition Hall “Riga Art Space”, RIXC Gallery, Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OKA), Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia, the British Council in Latvia, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Riga, Danish Cultural Institute, Embassy of Finland in Riga, Estonian Embassy in Riga, printing house “Adverts”, Hibnerstudio, Valmiermuiža Craft Brewery, “Rixwell Hotels”, Arterritory.com, Echo Gone Wrong, NOBA.