Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art

A new biennial for the Baltics and Nordic region: RIBOCA

The inaugural edition of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA), a major biannual event in Latvia, will launch in June 2018.

 

Riga, Latvia, Courtesy Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art

 

Riga, Latvia, Courtesy Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art

 

Riga, Latvia, Courtesy Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art

 

RIBOCA is conceived as a dynamic site of artistic experimentation and knowledge production which will offer a barometer of current social, political and economic issues filtered through artistic practices.

 

Riga, Latvia, Courtesy Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Photo Elena Spasova

 

Riga, Latvia, Courtesy Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Photo Elena Spasova 

 

RIBOCA will create new opportunities for leading international and regional artists.

Kerstin Hamilton, A World Made By Science, 2018_detail_ Photos mounted on aluminum,Variable Dimensions, Courtesy of the artist

 

Kerstin Hamilton,A World Made By Science, 2018_detail_ Photos mounted on aluminum,Variable Dimensions, Courtesy of the artist

 

The biennial will be manifested at various points throughout the city. The selected venues reflect Riga’s diverse cultural and architectural history, from medieval and 19th century traditional wooden buildings and pre-war Art Nouveau, to Soviet modernism and impressive industrial architecture.

 

The main venue of the biennial – former Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia

 

Former Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia, Image courtesy of Ansis Starks and RIBOCA, 2017

 

Former Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia, Image courtesy of Ansis Starks and RIBOCA, 2017

 

This former biological faculty, built in 1898 by architect Johanness Kohs in the Neo-Renaissance style, will serve as the primary venue for RIBOCA1.

 

Zezeum

 

Zuzeum Riga, Photo Ansis Starks, Courtesy of RIBOCA

 

Zezeum is an art centre founded by the Zuzans family, designed and engineered in 1910 by Edmund von Trompovskis. The building is a distinguished example of the industrial architecture of the time, and is UNESCO protected territory.

 

Andrejsala

 

Andrejsala. Photo Ansis Starks. Courtesy of RIBOCA, 2017

 

Andrejsala. Photo Ansis Starks. Courtesy of RIBOCA, 2017

 

Located within the former territory of an industrial port, the Andrejsala area is evolving into an urban culture and art district.

 

Residence of Kristaps Morbergs

 

Apartment of Kristaps Morbergs, Riga, Photo Ansis Starks, Courtesy RIBOCA

 

 

 

 

 

Apartment of Kristaps Morbergs, Riga, Photo Ansis Starks, Courtesy RIBOCA
 
 

Located on the Riga Boulevard circle one of Riga’s most iconic and historically significant locations, the apartment of Kristaps Morbergs still maintains its pre-war interiors.

 

The former Bolshevichka textile factory

Bolshevichka, photo Ansis Starks, courtesy of RIBOCA

 

 

Bolshevichka, photo Ansis Starks, courtesy of RIBOCA

 

 

 

Bolshevichka, photo Ansis Starks, courtesy of RIBOCA

 

Situated a short distance from Riga’s city centre is the former textile factory Bolshevichka, a complex of industrial buildings that opened in 1913.

 

Art Station Dubulti

 

Art Station Dubalti, Jurmala, Photo Ansis Starks, Courtesy of RIBOCA
 
 

Designed by Igors Javeins and built in 1977, Dubulti train station is a distinct example of Soviet modernist architecture.

 

RIBOCA1 (First edition) ‘Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More’, opens to the public on the 2 June 2018. It will reflect on the phenomenon of change and its slippery nature; the fact that what might seem eternal can suddenly come to an end.

 

The Biennial will also probe how contemporary artists are responding to some of the major challenges of the day, how they register change, and how they imagine the future.

 

A total of 104 artists including 10 collectives will be participating in the biennial.

 

Tobias Zielony, Golden, 2018 (detail), Series of archival pigment prints, Variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist.

 

Tobias Zielony, Golden, 2018 (detail), Series of archival pigment prints, Variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist.

 

Almost a third of the participating artists are from the Baltic countries

The rest of the artists come from countries as diverse as Korea, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, South Africa, the United States and Canada, as well as Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

 

Sputnik Photos, Lost Territories Archive, 2008-2016, 2018 (detail0, Site-specific installations, photographs, torn wallpaper, variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist

 

 

The exhibition will focus on several pressing issues, from the “great acceleration”, the transformation of social life and work, the end of privacy and “post-truth”, to the impact of rapid advancements in science and technology and the negotiation of constant crises.

 

Kerstin Hamilton, A World Made by Science, 2018 (detail), Series of photos mounted on aluminium, 70 x 100 cm each, Courtesy of the artist

 

The exhibition will also thus refocus on the sensorium, creating moments that trigger the senses that have been marginalised, allowing for a much-needed deceleration of perception.

 

Sissel Tolaas collecting samples from the Baltic Sea, 2018, image courtesy RIBOCA

 

Marisa Benjamin, Floristaurant, 2018, video still, image courtesy RIBOCA

 

Major new commissions include:

. The British artist Michael Landy RA will produce a new installation for the biennial entitled Open for Business (2018).

 

Michael Landy, Open for Business, 2018 (preparatory drawing), Site-specific temporary installation; new commission for RIBOCA1, Variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London
 
  • The artist Mark Dion will produce an immersive, site-specific installation, entitled A Tour of the Dark Museum (2018), inspired by the previous function and history of the former Biological Faculty of the University of Latvia.

 

Mark Dion, A Tour of The Dark Museum, 2018 (detail), Site-specific installation, mixed media, flashlights; new commission for RIBOCA1, Variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist and Waldburger Wouters, Brussels

 

 

  • Katrina Neiburga and Andris Eglitis, two of Latvia’s best known artists, will present a monumental outdoor project called “The Nest” (2018).

 

Katrīna Neiburga,Pickled long cucumbers, 2017,Two-channel video, colour, sound, 11,44,Courtesy of the artist

 

  • Sissel Tolaas will present two new installations: one for The Sensorium, and its extension in the Chemistry Museum of the former Biological Faculty of the University of Latvia.

 

  • The Greek artist Nikos Navridis will site an installation entitled All of old. Nothing else ever … (2018) in the former Library of the Biological Faculty building.

 

  • Sputnik Photos, an international collective founded in 2006 by documentary photographers from Belarus, Poland and Slovakia will present two projects, a new commission for Morbergs apartment and a series of anatomical models and photographs for the former Biological Faculty of the University of Latvia.

 

Sputnik Photos, Anatomical Models, Museum of Anatomy, Baku, 2016-18, From the series Lost Territories Archive, C-print, Courtesy of Sputnik Photos

 

 

Sputnik Photos, Lost Territories Archive, 2008-16, 2018 (detail), Site-specific installation, photographs, torn wallpaper, Variable dimensions, Courtesy of Sputnik Photos

 

  • A new installation by the Colombian artist Oswaldo Macia, The Opera of Cross-Pollination (2018), will translate the process of travelling to the Amazon, looking at the cross pollination of orchids and affirming the importance of insects and their symbiosis with plants for human existence and for the environment in general.

 

This year’s RIBOCA advertising was designed by the Dutch artist Erik Kessel, who is also participating in the biennial.

 

Artists showing existing works include:

  • Fernando Sanchez Castillo, whose monumental Guernica Syndrome (2012) features the remaining materials of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s yacht, alongside two videos documenting the destruction and transformation of the ship into the artwork.

 

  • Jonas Mekas, the internationally renowned Lithuanian film maker, will show the video installation Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR (2008).

 

Jonas Mekas, Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR, 2008 (video stills), Four-screen video installation, colour, sound 289’, Courtesy of the artist and RE VOIR, Paris
 
  • The American artist Lynn Hershmann Leeson will show one of her major installations artworks Infinity Engine (2011-18).

 

Lynn Hershmann-Leeson,Glo Cat, 2012, Digital Archival Print, 58 x 76 cm, From the installation Infinity Engine, 2011–18

 

 

  • Marco Montiel-Soto, whose large-scale works explore the often opposing interest and forces between indigenous communities and external influences, presents Permanent storm for a tropical constellation (2017).

 

Marco Montiel-Soto, Permanent storm for a tropical constellation, 2017, Three-channel video installation, Variable dimensions, Courtesy of the artist, Carmen Araujo Arte, Caracas and Galería José de la Fuente, Santander

 

 

  • The South African artist James Beckett will show Palace Ruin (2016), an outdoor installation inspired by the Paleis voor Volksvlijt (Palace of Popular Diligence).

 

James Beckett,Palace Ruin, 2016,Public sculpture (powder-coated steel, accoya acetylated wood, multiplex, Indian ink, smoke), 7.2 x 3.5 x 5.7 meters,Courtesy of the artist and Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam

 

 

Alongside established artists a large number of young, emerging and new names will show work

  • The German artist Henrike Naumann will create Eurotique (2018) an installation inspired by a trend in Latvia.

 

  • Dagestan-born female artist Taus Makhacheva will create a new sound work comprised of numerous small travelling speakers each reciting a different first line of an email.

 

  • The young Estonian installation artist and sculptor Jevgeni Zolotko will show a new installation which makes reference to the narrow circumstances of life.

 

  • The Swedish artist Kerstin Hamilton, will show, amongst two other works, the newly commissioned photographic installation The Science Question in Feminism (2018).

 

Kerstin Hamilton, The Science Question in Feminism, 2018 (detail), Series of 7 digital montage printed on birch plywood mounted in vitrine; new commission for RIBOCA1, 21 × 29 × 22 cm each, Courtesy of the artist
 
  • Sandra Kosorotova, is an Estonian artist and fashion designer whose artistic practice is textile and text-based and can be located between the margins of art, design and activism.

Sandra Kosorotova, Coat designs for RIBOCA1 guards and mediators, 2018 (samples), Approx. 140 × 80 cm each, Courtesy of the artist