Spring season to start at the Rothko Centre

On 22 April, the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre launches the spring exhibition season with six new exhibition projects.

Traditionally, the spring season brings together artists from the Latgale Region into a joint exhibition of their latest work. This year is no exception, which is also the title of the show – No Exception. The latest developments worldwide have re-emphasised the global connectedness of all people on Earth. This was seen in the economy, politics and healthcare, and the art world was no exception. Naturally, the trend hasn’t bypassed the Latgale Region, where art life has continued with individual creators producing new artworks. The exhibition features 44 artists from the Latgale Region and their latest work, where they have captured their emotions and impressions from the past few years, recorded the changing reality and reflected on eternal values still keeping the world together through a common language of the arts.

Multiple layers of substance and material stand out in the installations by Valda Podkalne (Latvia) seen in her new exhibition – The Essay Arena. To quote from the artist: “I work with ‘islands of thought’. Each exhibit has its own message, vision, dream or recollection that’s been transformed into an installation reflective of my lived experience. My perception and interpretation of events are tied to the themes of past and present, privacy and publicity, intimacy, childhood and loss.” The show balances the need to be ‘here and now’ with contemplative memories of the past – a necessary condition for reclaiming the capacity for this state of being.

For Harald Hegodzienski (Latvia), creativity is an ongoing and unstoppable process, and his show, Like a Rolling Stone, addresses an active and engaged viewer – one who can work with the artist’s imagery through alteration and amplification, much like a cloud‑gazer who keeps seeing new multiforms in the creator’s original piece, above and beyond what the author may have intended. So visitors to the show should prepare for a fascinating experience not unlike an experimental music recital and come with an open heart to embrace the unknown and perceive the irrational.

The historical dimension is highlighted by the Rīga Jewish Community and the Jews in Latvia Museum in their show called Jewish Artists in the Interbellum Latvia: In Pursuit. It is both an attempt to reflect on pre-war shows by Jewish artists and to bring the work of some lesser-known creators to a broader audience. Some of them lacked even basic biographical data, so the exhibition was a joint and equal effort of curators and art historians. The title references not only the artists’ attempts to find their own identity but also the research process initiated by the curators.

The nature-inspired installation Reflections by Anne Türn and Toomas Tuul (Estonia) applies the concept of reflection to human relations. This may explain the appeal of the exhibition – the dreamlike woodland mysteries manifesting as illuminated formations, coming forth from the giant photos on the wall and from the gallery floor, create mystical, magical spaces, with darkness and light touching similar reflections in the hiddenmost places of our soul.

Martynas Gaubas and Arvydas Martinaitis (Lithuania) take the Rothko Centre by storm with their ironic show It Won’t Get Any Better than This! Brilliance, scope and an infinite symbolic vocabulary are the shared signature elements in the toolkit of both Lithuanian artists, even though they are applied to different materials. The bright, dense and grounded colours of Arvydas Martinaitis submerge the eye of the beholder into the plane of existence beyond time and space, where the line between reality and fantasy ceases to exist, where the world as we know it is turned upside down, and the impossible becomes possible. Meanwhile, Martynas Gaubas, stands out as an ironic artist. Whatever the chosen medium, his work is consistently brimming with humour through grotesque, caricature or parody.

The new season’s exhibitions are on show through 26 June 2022.

Image: Valda Podkalne, Three Clouds, installation detail