Duet of Artists from Different Eras: Jānis Borgs and Kaspars Groševs

On 4 May an exhibition of Jānis Borgs (1946) and Kaspars Groševs (1983), vivid artists from two eras, will open at the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) as part of the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art’s cycle of exhibitions Divdabis.

Both artists are pioneers of their respective eras. Jānis Borgs, a designer and art critic, in the 70s realized a string of conceptual works which remained misunderstood, because they did not fit the ruling ideology of the Soviet period and therefore also the society’s understanding of art and its available technologies. Kaspars Groševs is a contemporary experimental and sound artist, founder and curator of the first artist run gallery in Riga.

Curator of the exhibition Andra Silapētere reveals that with the help of contemporary technology, including 3D virtual reality glasses, two Borgs’ projects will be reconstructed and recreated: “The object Energy from 1976 was designed for installation near the recently renovated Baltic Electrical Distribution Centre in Šmerlis, yet the impressive ten-metre-high prismoid composition did not materialize, since polished stainless steel, which was to be used in its execution, turned out to be an inaccessible resource of military importance. Meanwhile the second project is a series of conceptual drawings from 1977, which could not be realized in its original form due to lack of the necessary computer technology.”

Groševs’ works, on the other hand, will thematically play out censorship that existed during Borgs’ career in the Soviet period. “For example, in publications, undesirable persons or objects were often erased using the so-called 'palming method', namely, painting a 'palm' over them. In an associative reference, for the exhibition Groševs will make an installation which uses a drawing of his grandfather, who was deported to Siberia, which will be covered by palms,” says the curator.

 

About the cycle of exhibitions Divdabis

The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art organizes a cycle of exhibitions in the Latvian National Museum of Art which brings together two different personalities and space-times of Latvian art. The LCCA has chosen three vivid duos that include notable artists of their time: Jānis Borgs and Kaspars Groševs, Atis Ieviņš and Inga Meldere, Oļegs Tillbergs and Jānis Filipovičs. Specially for these exhibitions, works made in the 70-90s will be reconstructed and new works will be made, surveying the conditions and context which has affected creative processes in different eras.

A string of artists which were active in the 1970-90s have traced the development of Latvian contemporary art and have become important markers on the art map. Nevertheless, for several decades their work has only fragmentarily been accessible to the general public. Through the reconstruction and interpretation of works from this period, the cycle of exhibitions is an attempt to fill in the blank or little-known chapters in art history, and, in a broader sense – to make these works and their context accessible to a contemporary audience.

The main financial supporters of the cycle of exhibitions are State Culture Capital Foundation, ABLV Charitable Foundation and Riga City Council.

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