Dainis Pundurs

In an artist’s ceramic studio, the material is treated and processed in rich and striking, visually arresting ways, which may have a conceptual meaning in and of themselves – regardless of the criteria applied to gauge the value of the end result – provided the creator shaping the ceramic material is consciously involved in the process as an engaged observer of natural laws unfolding in front of their eyes.

Visualising Gravity is an experimental work opening to the viewer’s attention the dynamic interplay between the ceramic artist’s hands and the material’s physical resistance and illustrating the invisible nature of the ubiquitous force of attraction. The author interacts with the material and the gravitational force, following a precision-drawn boundary between clay’s material consistency and weight. The resulting shapes can be compared to an imprint left by an invisible force.

The author does not care whether the process is labelled a performance or a public demonstration of his technique. What matters is allowing the viewer to observe the ceramic material’s normally unseen unique natural properties and experience its primal force. Staging a studio situation in the exhibition space shows ceramics as a diverse medium capable of addressing the viewer in the changing and, therefore, most intimate stage of creation.

According to the author’s idea, the outcome and sequel to the artist-material interaction gets realised as an installation titled Visualising Gravity.

Dainis Pundurs was born on 30 June 1965 in Ezernieki. The future artist graduated from Rēzekne Secondary School of Applied Art in 1986 and went on to pursue higher education at the Ceramics Department of the Art Academy of Latvia, graduating in 1992. He earned an MFA degree in 1997 and teaches at the Academy as an associate professor.

Pundurs works with porcelain, clay, stoneware and chamotte, making dishes, design objects and object groups for the interior.

The artist’s dynamic creative record extends to multiple international ceramic art symposiums, such as in Dzintari (1992), Kiel (1998) and Wałbrzych (1998), and international pottery festivals, such as in Aberystwyth, UK (1999) and Helsinki, Finland (2000). Pundurs has participated in the Mungyeong Traditional Tea Bowl Festival in South Korea (2008, 2009, 2010), represented Latvia at the ArtGENDA Biennale in Copenhagen (1996) and exhibited on many prominent platforms and venues worldwide, such as the Art Letton exhibition in Strasbourg (1997), the United Nations Office in Brussels (2002), the European Ceramic Context 2006 in Denmark, Utopias on the Threshold of the Mundane in Czechia (2011), the Baltic ceramics exhibition in Minneapolis, USA (2018), etc. On top of that, he has held 15 solo exhibitions in Latvia and beyond – in Lithuania (1996), Sweden (2009), etc.

Pundurs received the Grand Prix from the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design for the best creative output in 2004 and earned an Honourable Mention at the Mungyeong Traditional Tea Bowl Festival 2009 in South Korea. His other distinctions include First Prize at the 12th International Wheel-Thrown Pottery Competition in Olustvere, Estonia (2011), the Annual Award in Culture 2012 from Diena Newspaper (2013) and Gold Prize at the Martinsons Award during the 1st and 3rd Latvia Ceramics Biennale (2016, 2021). In 2019, Pundurs was nominated for the Purvītis Award for Porcelain and Lucid Drams – his solo exhibition at the Daugava Gallery (2017/2018).

The artist’s work is held in several prominent public collections, such as the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design under the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Latvian Artists Union Museum and many more.

Exhibition period: 8 September 2023 – 10 May 2024 (Martinsons House, 1 Nikolaja Street, Daugavpils Fortress)