The Riga Photography Biennial 2024 exhibition ‘Shape/Share Another World! Photomontage in Latvian Press in the Interwar Period’ at the National Library of Latvia

2024 05 10 — 2024 07 13
Author Echo Gone Wrong
Published in Events in Latvia

The history of the image is the focus of the Riga Photography Biennial 2024 exhibition “Shape/Share Another World! Photomontage in Latvian Press in the Interwar Period” at the National Library of Latvia. This is the first exhibition to present photographs from Latvian press publications of the 1920s–30s that were created using this technique. Opening on 10 May at 17.

After the establishment of an independent Latvian state, there followed a rapid development of press publications. It was noticed fairly soon that an image published alongside an article is often more effective in introducing the content than the printed word, and it reaches a larger audience. Photographers started to use the technique of photomontage that provided completely different opportunities to create an impression about current events in practically all spheres of social and cultural life. Thematically, the photomontages published in the Latvian press reflect almost all spheres of life: the branches and development of manufacturing of the newly-established state, the construction of the Ķegums Power Station, the daily life and festive occasions of the air force, and social injustice and the darker aspects of the capitalist economy and outstanding personalities. Even more noteworthy is the contribution of press photographers to the creation of the image of the Latvian state and the public portrayal of the personality of Kārlis Ulmanis.

The curator Irēna Bužinska has included a selection of contributions to this field by Zina Āre, Jānis Baltiņš, Roberts Briedis, Reinholds Kasparsons, Eduards Kraucs and Robert Alexander Riedel. For understandable reasons, the originals of these photomontages do not survive. Hence the exhibition includes copies from the publications Rīts, Brīvā Zeme, Atpūta, Mūsu Mājas Viesis, Pasaules Pasts, Filma un Skatuve, Malienas Ziņas. Issues of all these publications are held in the collection of the National Library of Latvia.

The exhibition will be on view in the level 4 lobby of the National Library of Latvia from 11 May to 13 July on weekdays from 11 am to 7 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm. On 23 May at 6 pm, a talk dedicated to the exhibition will take place. For the exhibition and events entry is free.

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 exhibition: State Culture Capital Foundation, Riga State City Council, National Library of Latvia, printing house “Adverts”,, Echo Gone Wrong, NOBA.

1. Reinholds Kasparsons. Our Olympians Jānis Dimza and Jānis Daliņš. Collage. Reproduced: Atpūta, Nr. 401, 3.07. 1932. Image: National Library of Latvia

3. Eduards Kraucs. Ķegums – Testament to the Triumph of Work. Photomontage. Reproduced: Darba Dzīve. 17.11.1939. Image: National Library of Latvia