Frančeska Kirke

My Bastion is about defence and safeguarding. In humanity’s endless battle with Darkness, the Rothko Museum is an enduring Bastion of light, a stronghold in a line of many other cultural beacons that guard the flame of free creative spirit while standing up to ignorance and prejudiced belief. Seen through this lens, the Bastion is an appropriate umbrella term for the historical significance and function of the Daugavpils Fortress as well as for the current warfare raging right next door and the associated standpoint of a caring activist-creator whose only form of personal resistance is through art. The Bastion is also a compelling metaphor for every artist’s inner struggle with themselves, their inner doubts, their triumphs and defeats. Therefore, the exhibition narrative unfolds in three thematic lines and colour schemes across three correlated and successive spaces.

The Hall of Fame is all about victorious triumph and its ephemeral, illusionary nature.

The Hospital delves into what is vulnerable and fragile and actively confronts the viewer with defeat.

The Wounded Landscapes deals with the inevitable consequences of aggression by bringing out the colours, textures and characteristic rhythms of a lifeless wasteland.

In visual terms, the exhibition has developed from a single artefact – a flaming cannonball once spotted on the local fortress gate. This striking visual impulse sparked the entire Bastion Series with its distinctive textures and creative pulse, from the initial choice of themes and colours up to the final sectioning of artworks in the exhibition rooms. The exhibition layout tells the viewer a cohesive story about the glory of victorious triumph, the overcoming of defeat, and growing strong through healing battle wounds. From the triumphal Hall of Fame with streaming battle flags and shining gold leaf through the clinical hospital space with its bandages, stretchers and trauma shown through deconstructive planes and multiple chromatic layers, to the incinerated wasteland of the Wounded Landscapes – a former battleground reduced to ashes and decaying fragments in assorted shades of black.

Rejecting figural expression and distinguishable objects is a continued pattern from my prior shows. Abstraction has been featured in my former exhibitions, ‘Deconstruction of Beauty’ and ‘Somebody’, and other series in this vein have been occasionally made since 1990.

Frančeska Kirke

Frančeska Kirke, born in 1953, is a distinguished Latvian artist who graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia, Painting Department, in 1978. Her prolific creative record extends to over 30 solo exhibitions and countless group shows. Over the years, Kirke’s work has been acquired into her country’s most illustrious collections, including the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Rothko Museum, the Latvian Artists Union, the Uldis Pīlēns Bureau Collection and the Zuzāns Family Collection. Beyond her home country, the artist’s paintings are held in the Luciano Benetton Collection, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum and multiple others. In 2001, Kirke earned a Gold Medal from the Latvian Artists Union for her solo exhibition ‘Museum’ at the Latvian National Museum of Art, and the following year brought her a curatorial award for ‘Metropolis. Rīga’. Working with elegance and consummate professionalism throughout her artistic career, Kirke has had a formative impact on post-modern Latvian painting and remains a faithful and inspired advocate for socio-political causes.

The exhibition was supported by AKKA/LAA.

Izstādes norises laiks: 01.03.2024.-19.05.2024.