The Rational Creature

Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Center Collection Exhibition

As we observe and participate in the ongoing development of living nature in its myriad shapes and forms, we reflect on the concepts of development and on our very ability to think. Fundamentally, being able to think about one’s thinking is what puts the human mind at the top of the cognitive hierarchy.

Humans are rational creatures endowed with exceptional cognitive abilities. They talk of reason and with reason – of and with themselves and fellow humans. Besides, through visual language, information is passed down not only as hard-and-fast facts but also in forms that speak to the senses and are particular triggers to our cognitive abilities.

Our initial visual language was literal and direct, featuring realistic images, events or their constellations and attendant circumstances. However, since the cognitive processes of the rational creature are fluid and ever-developing, with time, our visual language has become more diverse, acquiring abstract and symbolic forms and ways of expression through our endless pursuit of novelty and difference.

Humans are both creators and destroyers. They develop things and tear them down; they build and change; they steer and wreck. They are both conquerors and conquests, students and teachers. Dare one say – travellers on the path of reason?

In one way or another, the human essence is an obvious, perennial presence in the visual output of artists who choose to depict themselves or other people. Realistic or abstract renditions of humans are among the principal characters in visual arts because, fundamentally, art deals with people’s emotions and moods, with their very humanity. Through colour and form, the human gaze is cast upon us with absolute directness, hinting at the lingering presence of Human the Creator perceptible via rational thought.

“The Rational Creature” is the latest select exhibition from the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre collection – a striking visual story of artworks and their creators with a double focus on the human presence in the subject matter and the artist’s persona. Taken together, the works present different views and perspectives on the rational – or perhaps irrational – human nature.

Featured artists

Baņuta Ancāne, Leonīds Bauļins, Ieva Caruka, Dace Gaile, Rasa Jansone, Līga Jukša, Mārīte Kluša, Gunārs Krollis, Dmitrijs Lavrentjevs, Ingūna Liepa, Anita Meldere, Valda Mežbārde, Laima Steika, Agnese Sunepa, Ilgvars Zalāns, Kaspars Zariņš, Osvalds Zvejsalnieks (Latvia), Daina Dagnija, Aija Meisters (Latvia, USA), Jacques Schapiro (Latvia, France), Romualdas Balinskas, Eglė Einikyte-Narkevičienė, Vaidots Janulis, Dainius Trumpis (Lithuania), Aleksei Litvin (Belarus), Henrik Godsk, Ole Tersløse, Elmar Mønster, Per Nielsen, Maria Torp (Denmark), Iwona Zawadzka (Poland), Yuriy Musatov (Ukraine), Rusudan Khizanishvili (Georgia), Atsuhide Ito (Japan, United Kingdom), Evrim Özeskici (Turkey), Mohamed Ibrahim Elmasry (Egypt), Víctor Manuel Hernández Castillo (Mexico), Debra Sloan (Canada), Nidhi Agarwal (India), Myoung-Cheul Chung (South Korea), Richard Denny (Australia).

Exhibition period: 03 March 2023 – 21 May 2023