On Saturday 19 June, Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre will launch its new exhibition season. In the absence of loud speeches or public events, the focus will be exclusively on art, which has travelled to Daugavpils from across the globe.
The long-awaited summer, the long-overdue reopening of exhibition spaces and the overlong uncertainty about future prospects of creators and art lovers alike to get together, work together and be part of the global cultural life have culminated in the Rothko Centre’s most dazzling array of exhibition projects for the past couple of years. The new standout programme impresses with richness of colour, diversity of shape and the overall quality of creative output.
To quote from the co-curators of “The Colour of Light”, Dianne Beal (USA) and Barbara Bodart (France): “It is with welcome anticipation and relief that we celebrate the opening of our exhibition, The Colour of Light: Utopian Abstraction. The Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to individual travel and travelling exhibitions, and so the fact that these works are now on exhibit at the Rothko Centre is cause for applauding the determination and professionalism of the artists and our fellow collaborators. The utopian dream of creating this exhibition has finally become a reality. As light beams travel across the globe, the wavelength of the light changes, but the frequency remains constant. The exhibition embodies these qualities of light and brings us together to appreciate the power of art.”
While Daugavpils makes its bid in the European Capital of Culture competition, its unofficial crown as Europe’s Capital of Ceramics is already won. As a case in point, the Rothko Centre’s new exhibition season, with three projects in the ceramic medium and, so far, broadest geographical coverage, marks the official start of the 3rd Latvia Ceramics Biennale. Thus, visitors to the centre can enjoy the international juried exhibition “Martinsons Award 2021”, the solo show of Juta Rindina, “Joyous Art”, and the anniversary exhibition of the Rīga Secondary School of Design and Art, Ceramics Department, “Together”. With that, the joyous summer of ceramics in the city of Daugavpils finally kicks off, but cooperation with the Latvian Centre of Contemporary Ceramics promises many more ceramics-related surprises.
Martinsons Award 2021 commemorates one of the most brilliant and internationally renowned Latvian ceramic artists, Pēteris Martinsons (1931–2013). Over the years, the accolade has garnered international recognition, and now its 2021 iteration is proudly put forth as the pivotal event of the 3rd Latvia Ceramics Biennale. Out of nearly five hundred applications, an international jury picked the top-120 works from Latvia and other places worldwide. Thus, the exhibition features a substantial cohort of ceramic artists from 38 countries. Alongside the somewhat more habitual decorative objects and sculptural pieces, the show also offers impressive spatial installations and performative works. The winners will be chosen in August, when the judges will reconvene to assess the artworks in person.
Ceramics Department of the Rīga Secondary School of Design and Art is about to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its foundation. The historical school building on 55 Lāčplēša Street, Rīga, now home to the school’s ceramic workshops, is a singular creative environment. According to the exhibition team, being together gives them strength and confidence on a day-to-day basis. They are together in their desire for the schooling years to be a rewarding, intensive, dynamic and memorable time for the learners. And, they say, it is possible to stay together even longer than that – way after the graduates move on to follow their creative paths. The school creates and sustains this sense of togetherness amongst both current and former students. And this exhibition once again brings together past and present learners and their teachers. Through artworks created over a five-year period, the show presents the latest generation of Latvian ceramicists, appreciating their capacity and celebrating their values.
Juta Rindina puts forward her “Joyous Art” in the following terms: “The fundamental theme of the exhibition is, to put it simply, joy – the joy of interacting with clay, porcelain or stoneware; the joy you feel when your inner sight offers you a scene, a figure or a shape, and you know that now is the moment to make it physical through your chosen material. I am not encumbered by a higher mission to “transform” or “improve” the world. My work makes no reference to breaking global news, nor does it advocate a “blue”, “green”, or “yellow” lifestyle. My pieces are inspired by music and reading, immersion into art books or passenger observations during tram rides. They are the works I can coexist with in my studio – figurative pieces with a narrative story, different vessels, my playful experiments with shapes and glazes. And they radiate the joy I find in creativity, which (and I’m only half-joking) is almost approaching a manic glee that always tastes like more. This is how I play with my imagination. This is my inner sight.” In 2018, Rindina triumphed at the Latvia Ceramics Biennale, earning the Gold Prize in the national category at the international juried exhibition “Martinsons Award”.
Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre presents its joyous exhibition season as a gift to the city on the verge of the 746th anniversary since its foundation and invites the celebrating public to mark the occasion together.