Date: 03.11.2020 - 31.01.2021
Place: Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre, 3 Mihaila Street, Daugavpils
Whilst the cult of eternal youth creates an illusion of halted time, the mind of every thinking person is periodically shaken by a reminder of its relentless passage. We all are products of our time. The perpetual regenerative cycles of nature echo the course of human life in a parallel existence that we can witness in the birth of a bud or the death of a bird. This exhibition is a deliberate setting for encounters with Incoming and Departing Life.
The people of Latvia’s first centenary – the nonagenarian and centenarian witnesses of an era – still live amongst us, although they are virtually invisible to the public eye. And yet these ‘centenarians’ often turn out to be fascinating characters whose vitality and energy appears to defy the limits of the physical world and to confirm the power of mind over matter. Perhaps their nature and their biographies hold some special secret that might be discovered if one were to spend some time in their company. Ieva Jurjāne is fascinated by individuality and uniqueness, which attract her as undying, universal and enduring values.
The full-length portraits of seniors have been painted from life, in long sessions that resulted in vast watercolours. The process involved intense interaction and establishing mutual trust. Carefully selected and condensed fragments from interviews that were recorded in an audio format during the painting sessions are played in the exhibition. In them, the sitters share significant episodes from their biographies. General knowledge of the past suggests that these people were inevitably shaped by the complex historical developments of their epoch.
In stark contrast to this group, the display also features full-length portraits of babies who were only a few months old at the time of painting. Their tiny figures emphasize the fragility of life. At the same time, the intense gaze of each infant conveys the presence of a personality in the making – at some point in the future, they will grow to lead meaningful lives, contributing to their time and space and filling it with their presence.
Nature often helps one frame one’s attempts at comprehension. The thinker will recognize the potential contained within a bud and the eternity arrested in a fallen bird whilst the painter will paint an idea.
The title of the exhibition is a direct reference to an eponymous poetry collection by Latvian poet Rainis. In its introduction, he elaborates on the concept of ‘comprehension’, which he describes as becoming aware of the need to look for meaning in one’s existence.
The artist is both an observer and a mediator. In a sense, we all live at the crossroads of our time and space. The large questions of life are also deeply personal. THE END & THE BEGINNING becomes the SEQUEL because the horizon is forever out of reach.
Artist Ieva Jurjāne channels her creative energies into painting and illustration as well as set, costume and production design for stage and screen. She remains active in all these fields since 1996 when she graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia with a Master’s degree in Fine Arts.
The exhibition at Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Center develops and continues the artist’s vast solo show that was exhibited at the Latvian National Museum of Art during the winter season 2018/2019.
Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre