Riga International Biennial Of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA1)
"Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More"
02.06.2018 - 28.10.2018
The 1st Riga Biennial (RIBOCA1) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kolektivs (Zane Zajančkauska & Ilze Kalnbērziņa Praz) as curators of its public programme, and Solvej Helweg Ovesen as associate curator. Entitled Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More, RIBOCA1 will open to the public on the June 2, 2018. The chief curator of the biennial is Katerina Gregos.
Zane Zajančkauska is a curator, based in Riga. Recently, she co-curated You’ve Got 1243 Unread Messages, at the Latvian National Museum of Art (2017–18), she has also been developing the exhibition programme for the National Library of Latvia and public programme events for the Latvian Center for Contemporary arts and ABLV Charitable Foundation. Previously she collaborated with the director Christine Umpfenbach on the performance Lost Gardens and on the project KAFIČ with artist and architect Apolonija Šusteršič. Zajančkauska obtained her MA in Arts at the Latvian Academy of Culture after completing studies in Political Science; she has also completed the Robert Bosch Stiftung qualification programme in culture management, including one year curatorial praxis at the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig. Ilze Kalnbērziņa Praz studied product design at the University of art and design ECAL (École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne), as well as anthropology and philosophy at the University of Lausanne and at Saint-Louis University, Brussels. She worked as a designer for H2E design bureau in Riga as well as heading the visual communication and exhibition design department at the National Library of Latvia. She also created and curated Aristids, a cultural space in Riga. Last year she received the National Design Award of Latvia.
The RIBOCA public programme, which will run until November this year, encompasses performances, talks, debates, symposia, workshops, film screenings and other events. It will establish relationships in the city, inviting international guests to connect with local communities, testing what knowledge can be shared and what interactions set in motion. A series of discussions and debates by leading cultural practitioners and intellectuals as well as a film programme will further explore the themes of Biennial: the speed of change and our ability to adapt to it; the boundaries of the human and the non-human; accelerationism and the impact of new technologies and flows of information.
Solvej Helweg Ovesen obtained her MA in Arts and Cultural Studies from Copenhagen University and also completed De Appel Curatorial Training Program in Amsterdam in 2003. Since 2015 she is artistic director of Galerie Wedding - Raum für Zeitgenössiche Kunst in Berlin where she curated solo exhibitions with, among others, Henrike Nauman, Sol Calero, Stine Marie Jacobsen, Viron Erol Vert, Emeka Ogboh, Ahmet Ögut, Mariana Castillo Deball, Dafna Maimon, and Simon Fujiwara as part of the projects Post-Otherness Wedding (2015–16) and Unsustainable Privileges (2017–18) in collaboration with Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. In 2017, she was a member of the consortium of curators behind the exhibition of Kirstine Roepstorff Influenza - Theatre of Glowing Darkness for the Danish Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. She was also curator-in-chief of the Arctic-African performance festival “Songs of a Melting Iceberg - Displaced without Moving,” Nordwind 2017, Berlin. In 2015/2016 she curated the IMAGES 2016 art project An Age of our Own Making with Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, in Denmark. Ovesen is the founding director of Grosses Treffen, a yearly professional networking event for Nordic artists and curators and online archive with 800 Nordic artists’ profiles realized in collaboration with and at the Nordic Embassies, Berlin (2013–17). In 2011, Solvej Helweg Ovesen and Katerina Gregos co-curated the 4th Fotofestival Mannheim Heidelberg Ludwigshafen, The Eye is a Lonely Hunter. For the biennial, Ovesen is curating one of the eight venues, Dubulti Art Station, among other things. The exhibition, the Sensorium, will focus on the sum of the human organism’s perceptive tools—creating moments that trigger the senses (other than vision) that have been marginalized, allowing for a much-needed deceleration of perception.
The 1st Riga Biennial, Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More, will open to the public on the June 2, 2018. Chief curator: Katerina Gregos.
Change is a constant and imperceptible process. Nothing remains the same yet it often feels as if things are fixed, solid certainties. Change operates in strange ways. Until recently—and excluding those more rare radical moments of personal, social or political transformation—change appeared to creep up on us slowly. But then, one day we wake up and experience a sudden break in consciousness. It abruptly dawns on us that our world has changed beyond recognition. We have been thrust into the future, unwittingly. In recent years, since the advent of the technological revolution, our world seems to be ever accelerating and transforming. The 1st Riga Biennial biennial will reflect on the phenomenon of change—how it is anticipated, experienced, grasped, assimilated and dealt with at this time of momentous transitions.
The title, Everything Was Forever, Until it Was No More, is borrowed from Alexei Yurchak’s book of the same name. Yurchak discusses the collapse of the Soviet Union and one particular characteristic that defined it: the sense that although the Soviet system felt permanent and immutable, its demise was at the same time perceived as completely natural. The shock of being thrust into a new order came only later. The title of his book suggests the slippery nature of change; the fact that what might seem eternal can suddenly come to an end. It resonates in the entire post-Soviet sphere, but can also be seen as a potent metaphor for our own era.
"Ta panta rhei" (everything flows) the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus pointed out, meaning that everything is constantly changing, from the smallest organic particle to the whole universe. He asserted that only change itself is real, constant and in eternal flux, like the continuous flow of the river, which always renews itself and only appears to be staying the same over time. Humanity seems to be at a watershed, propelled forward at great speed by technological change, new practices of daily life that seem to occur in a flash and radical ideas that are becoming mainstream. Yet more and more of us—old and young—have trouble keeping up with incessant, overwhelming flows of information and the increasing acceleration of our lives and work. Though this condition has become normalised in most areas of life, and differs from place to place, few seem to question it or are able to resist it. We often tend to forget that evolution, which allows for adaptation to new conditions, has been an extremely slow process. Nevertheless, within 300 years we’ve had to adapt to habitats, practices and amenities that bear no resemblance to what our ancestors experienced for thousands of years. In this time, the world has been dominated by humanism. The seeming mastery of man over the planet means that the world is likely to change beyond recognition in this century. The present is defined by epochal shifts and changes, which are at once both exciting and frightening. The Baltic region itself has become the locus of political and economic restructuring, identity renegotiation and global reintegration and Riga thus forms a perfect backdrop from which to consider these issues.
From the personal to the political, the social to the ecological, and the philosophical to the existential, the exhibition will 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. Many of these changes have radically altered the way we experience the world as well as time and have undermined—or overridden—all of our senses except vision. A part of the exhibition will also thus refocus on the sensorium—the sum of the human organism’s perceptive tools—creating moments that trigger the senses that have been marginalised, allowing for a much-needed deceleration of perception. Summoning ghosts from the future and recalling prophets from the past, the biennial will reflect on our anxious present and pinpoint the tectonic shifts that are taking place in the public as well as private realm today.
ASI* (The Agency of Singular Investigations), Russia (founded 2014) / Alexis Blake, USA/Netherlands (b. 1981) / Alexis Destoop, Belgium/Australia (b. 1971) / Adrián Villar Rojas, Argentina (b. 1980) / Andrejs Strokins*, Latvia (b. 1984) / Andris Eglītis*, Latvia (b. 1981) / Annaïk-Lou Pitteloud, Switzerland/Belgium (b. 1980) / Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Korea/Germany (b. 1978) / Ariane Loze*, Belgium (b. 1988) / Aslan Gaisumov, Chechnya, Russia (b. 1991) / Augustas Serapinas*, Lithuania (b. 1990) / Clemens von Wedemeyer*, Germany (b. 1974) / Danilo Correale, Italy/USA (b. 1982) / Diana Lelonek, Poland (b. 1988) / Diāna Tamane*, Latvia/Belgium (b. 1986) / Emilija Škarnulytė, Lithuania/Germany (b. 1987) / Erik Kessels*, Netherlands (b. 1966) / Ēriks Apaļais, Latvia (b. 1981) / Eve Kiiler, Estonia, (b. 1960) / Femke Herregraven*, Netherlands (b. 1982) / Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Spain (b. 1970) / Han Hoogerbrugge, Netherlands (b. 1963) / Hannah Anbert*, Denmark (b. 1984) / Hans Rosenström*, Finland (b. 1978) / Henrike Naumann*, Germany (b. 1984) / IC-98, Finland (founded 1998) / Ieva Balode, Latvia (b. 1987) / Ieva Epnere*, Latvia (b. 1977) / Indrė Šerpytytė*, Lithuania/UK (b. 1983) / Ivar Veermäe, Estonia/Germany (b. 1982) / Jacob Kirkegaard, Denmark (b. 1975) / James Beckett, Zimbabwe/Netherlands (b. 1977) / Jani Ruscica, Finland (b. 1978) / Johanna Gustafsson-Fürst, Sweden (b. 1973) / Johannes Heldén, Sweden (b. 1978) & Håkan Jonson, Sweden (b. 1978) / Jonas Mekas, Lithuania/USA (b. 1922) / Julian Charrière, Switzerland/Germany (b. 1987) / Julian Rosefeldt, Germany (b. 1965) / Julijonas Urbonas, Lithuania (b. 1981) / Karel Koplimets*, Estonia (b. 1986) / Katarzyna Przezwańska, Poland (b. 1984) / Katrīna Neiburga*, Latvia (b. 1978) / Kerstin Hamilton*, Sweden (b. 1978) / Kristaps Epners*, Latvia (b. 1976) / Kustaa Saksi, Netherlands (b. 1975) / Liina Siib*, Estonia (b. 1963) / Lynn Hershman-Leeson, USA (b. 1941) / Maarten Vanden Eynde*, Belgium (b. 1977) / Marco Montiel-Soto, Venezuela/Germany (b. 1976) / Marge Monko*, Estonia (b. 1976) / Marina Pinsky*, Russia/Belgium (b. 1986) / Marisa Benjamim, Portugal/Germany (b. 1981) / Mark Dion*, USA (b. 1961) / Maryam Jafri, Pakistan/USA (b. 1972) / Melanie Bonajo, Netherlands, (b. 1978) / Michael Landy*, UK (b. 1963) / Michael Sailstorfer*, Germany (b. 1979) / Minna Rainio & Mark Roberts, Finland/UK (b. 1974, b. 1970) / Nabil Boutros, Egypt/France (1954) / Nedko Solakov*, Bulgaria (b. 1957) / Nicolas Kozakis, Greece/Belgium (b. 1967) & Raoul Vaneigem, Belgium (b. 1934) / Nikos Navridis*, Greece (b. 1958) / Oswaldo Maciá*, Colombia/UK (b. 1960) / Orbita, Latvia (founded 1999) / Paulis Liepa*, Latvia (b. 1978) / Petra Bauer, Sweden (b. 1970) & Rebecka Katz-Thor*, Sweden (b. 1982) / Robert Kuśmirowski*, Poland (b. 1973) / Sandra Kosorotova*, Estonia (b. 1984) / Sasha Huber, Switzerland/Finland (b. 1975) & Petri Saarikko*, Finland (b. 1973) / Saskia Holmkvist*, Sweden (b. 1971) / Sissel Tolaas*, Norway/Germany (b. 1963) / Sputnik photos*, Poland/Slovakia/Belarus (founded 2006 in Poland) / Stelios Faitakis*, Greece (b. 1976) / Stine-Marie Jacobsen*, Denmark (b. 1977) / Sven Johne, Germany (b. 1976) / Taus Makhacheva*, Dagestan, Russia (b. 1983) / Teemu Korpela*, Finland (b. 1980) / Tilman Wendland*, Germany (b. 1969) / Tobias Zielony*, Germany (b. 1973) / Trevor Paglen, USA (b. 1974) / Valio Tchenkov*, Bulgaria/Germany (b. 1966) / Vladimir Svetlov, Latvia (b. 1973) / Viron Erol Vert*, Turkey/Germany (b. 1975) / Jevgeni Zolotko*, Estonia (b. 1983) / Žilvinas Landzbergas*, Lithuania (b. 1979)
*An asterisk denotes a new commission