Baltic exhibition guide






James Nachtwey. Memoria
29 November 2019 till 1 March 2020

James Nachtwey is one of the world's most respected photojournalists, and considered the defining visual war reporter of his time. His major retrospective “Memoria” will be on view at Fotografiska from 29 November till 1 March next year. The photographs in the exhibition are arranged in narrative sequences that include many of Nachtwey's most prominent bodies of work with almost 150 photographs and a film by Thomas Nordanstad.

James Nachtwey was born in the state of New York and graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied art history and political science. He was influenced to become a photographer by images of the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights Movement. He began his career as a newspaper photographer in 1976 and became a freelancer in 1980. Since then, he has worked worldwide, committed to documenting wars and critical social issues.

Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with TIME Magazine since 1984. He was a member of Magnum between 1986 and 2000 and was one of the founders of the photo agency VII, where he was a member from 2001 to 2008, when he became independent.

Nachtwey’s images focus on the impact of injustice and violence, yet they evoke a sense of compassion and sympathy. Within large-scale historical events of global impact, he documents intimate moments of humanity. His photographs can appear to have a formal completeness, but they are spontaneous, intuitive and often composed in a fraction of a second.

Nachtwey has received numerous awards from the journalism profession, as well as for his contributions to art and to humanitarian causes. In 2001 was a recipient of the Common Wealth Award. In 2003 he received the Dan David Prize, and in 2007 the TED Prize as well as the Heinz Award, for Arts and Humanities. In 2012 he received the Dresden Prize, for promoting international peace. In 2016, Nachtwey was a recipient of the Princess of Asturias Award. In 2017, he was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame.


Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia will be closed until 17 April 2020

The Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM) will halt its activities on November 30 and finish its 2019 exhibition season earlier than scheduled.

The team at EKKM writes in an open letter: “We have decided to temporarily halt our public activities and end our 2019 exhibition season prematurely on the 30th of November, as in view of the building audit commissioned by the owners of our Põhja pst. 35 exhibition venue – FDN Tallinn Creative Hub and the city of Tallinn – the Creative Hub has decided to abruptly terminate our lease agreement. Even though the observation-based audit finds the structural state of our venue, albeit in disrepair, to be satisfactory or even good, some details of the building have still been deemed dangerous, which are also the alleged grounds for the termination of our lease by the Creative Hub.

In spite of the EKKM not being the owner of the Põhja pst. 35 building, we have managed, in the course of more than 13 years of activities, with an insufficient budget and immense motivation, to undeniably maintain and improve the state of the building and the exhibition spaces. The issues brought forth by the audit come as no surprise to us, as we are well aware of the general conditions our venue is in. Still, it remains unclear how the issues stated in the audit could be employed as grounds for the termination of the lease. We have already begun to work towards finding solutions to these issues and have started to negotiate for a new lease agreement in order to be able to re-open to the general public by the beginning of the next exhibition season at the latest. [..] 

We do hope that what is happening is neither the beginning of EKKM’s disappearance nor an appearance of general disbelief in critical and experimental culture. We will be sure to keep you up to date with all further developments, while counting on your support!”


Emancipating Woman in Estonian and Finnish Art
6 December 2019 till 26 April 2020

From 6 December 2019 till 26 April 2020, the third exhibition of the “Art Museum of Estonia 100” programme will be on view at KUMU exhibition spaces.

The large-scale exhibition “Emancipating Woman in Estonian and Finnish Art” focuses on the changes in women’s self-awareness and social position that started in the early 19th century, and that are reflected in the work of female artists and in the way women are depicted. The exhibition will be organised in collaboration with the Ateneum Art Museum and will present comparative Estonian and Finnish art from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century.
The curators of the show are Anu Allas and Tiina Abel.


Disarming Language: disability, communication, rupture
Tallinn Art Hall
14 December 2019 till 24 February 2020

The “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” (2006) is an international human rights treaty of the United Nations aiming to protect the rights of people with disabilities through language and law. Building upon the treaty, this exhibition and programme looks at ways in which novel conceptions of language and communication are informed and enhanced by disability. The project, in bringing together artists, graphic designers, writers, and activists, establishes a number of critical vantage points that imagine disability beyond a stigmatised “condition”. Its purpose lies in imagining new conceptual and experiential frameworks that use language and communication in innovative ways – through, with, and beyond disability – advancing a radically more inclusive point of view past limiting ableist perspectives and possibilities. The exhibition and programme are being curated by Christine Sun Kim and Niels Van Tomme.

Christine Sun Kim uses the medium of sound in performance and drawing to investigate her relationship with spoken languages and her aural environment. Selected exhibitions and performances include solo shows at White Space Beijing, London’s Carroll/Fletcher gallery, and De Appel, Amsterdam, alongside group shows at Serralves Museum, Sound Live Tokyo, the Berlin and Shanghai Biennials, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 in New York.

Niels Van Tomme is the director at ARGOS in Brussels. His exhibitions and programmes have been presented at Akademie der Künste (Berlin), The Kitchen (New York), Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), De Appel (Amsterdam), National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), and P! (New York). He was the curator of Bucharest Biennale 7: What are we building down there?




Ivars Heinrihsons. Chaos theory
Māksla XO Gallery
28 November 2019 till 6 January 2020

From 28 November 2019 till 6 January 2020, the solo show “Chaos theory” by Latvian neo-expressionist Ivars Heinrihsons will be on view at Māksla XO gallery.

The title “Chaos Theory” was chosen by the painter himself as the most characteristic element of his creative work: “Chaos is in me,” admits Ivars Heinrihsons “- as is the horse”. 

Gallerist Ilze Žeivate writes: “Unconsciously, without noticing, the tangles of his painted lines and their dynamics become the exact visual explanation of chaos theory itself.”

Ivars Heinrihsons’ works are in many public collections, including the Latvian National Museum of Art and the Artists' Union of Latvia (Riga, Latvia), Museo Fundación Antonio Pérez (Cuenca, Spain), Samlung Friedeman Stockart (Munich, Germany), Grafikens Hus Collection (Mariefred, Sweden), the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), and Zimmerly Art Museum (New Jersey, USA).


Two exhibitions at the Latvian National Museum of Art
30 November 2019 till 26 January 2020
7 December 2019 till 2 February 2020

The exhibition "... and Flow... Jānis Murovskis... screenprint..." will be presented in the 4th Floor Exhibition Halls of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga from 30 November 2019 to 26 January 2020.

The first impulse for this exhibition is a small photograph showing the reception of the delegation of the Latvian–Russian peace talks at Zilupe Station in 1920. On that occasion, Jānis Murovskis’ grandfather, Jānis Jējers, returned from Moscow with the Latvian delegation, having been attached as a special forces officer.

The technique of the screenprint organically corresponds to his meditative worldview. It submits to the author’s will and flow of consciousness, adapts to the surface of the canvas or paper and, by its nature, provides coincidences as an impulse for the next move. Screenprinting manifests the linear expression of paint flows and moods of contrasting or adjacent fields of colour. If one wishes, in screenprinting it is also possible to give volume to a stroke, to find a texture modelling the form and demonstrating an individual gesture. Even failure leads to a new beginning. Screenprinting conceals a driving force and a distance, the opportunity to give time to observation and to judge from aside without hurry, since each layer of paint takes time to dry.

The interplay with screenprinting highlights the author’s Zilupe stations and dream lakes, which land upon being called by their real names. The interaction of words and images create associations with the sound of music, fragments of the vault of heaven, and flashes of life circling in eternity.


From 7 December 2019 to 2 February 2020, the Cupola Hall of the Main Building of the Latvian National Museum of Art will host the exhibition of Aija Zariņa's works titled “Wake Up, Wake Up, Free Spirit”.

The exhibition presents eleven new large-format canvases by painter Aija Zariņa that tell about the creation of the world. “Creation is also the main task of an artist, and the meaning of every human being's life also lies in creation,” says the artist. The time of the exhibition is particularly important for the symbolism of the exhibition – the solstice at the end of the year, when the Sun takes a position in relation to the Earth where the amount of light will soon again begin to increase. For Aija Zariņa, light as a symbol is related to the improvement of the human spirit. The artist has dedicated the idea of the project to “the ceaseless rhythms of the Sun, our movement and transformation, growth and development”. She believes that “all of us are connected to light; we are, in a way, “creatures of light” who possess a very complex internal structure since we live in the biosphere where we have to coexist with various creatures and follow cosmic rules”.

In the technological era, which is developing at unbelievable speed, interaction between humans is changing, the conditions for the functioning of society have become complex, the influence of humanity on nature is ever increasing, and the responsibility for the biosphere in the complex structure of the world is decisively affected by the growth of the human spirit. Thus, the motto of the exhibition is a line from a poem by Eduards Veidenbaums, Wake Up, Wake Up, Free Spirit, which the artist already used in 2002 in a conceptual text painting; she is now revisiting the idea of awakening spiritual activity and the call for the necessity to transform civic values today.

The exhibition is being curated by Ieva Kalnača.


Black Market and Black Lines
Kim? Contemporary Art Centre
11 December 2019 till 12 January 2020

Rounding off its ten-year anniversary celebrations, Kim? Contemporary Art Center is excited to announce an unprecedented event that will take place on 11 December – BLACK MARKET. At this event, you will not only be able to view, but also purchase artworks by artists featured at Kim? over the past ten years.

BLACK MARKET consists of a body of works specially selected by Kaspars Groševs, the Programme Director of Kim?. You will not only be able to enjoy the art, but bring some of the works home with you, in this way supporting both the artists and Kim?.

“Behind the stacks of scaffolding, the grey air and the black snow, there is an unmarked door. Between Legao, Lengo, Lagoe and other tempting disappointments and children’s tears, stands a boot and a foot. But actually, this place does not have a visual identity. Welcome to the Black Market!

“BLACK MARKET takes over the Kim? space like the moment between the click and the flash – just before disappearing and right after coming into being. That precise moment in which you can capture the fluctuations in the tectonic plates of the past decade and the melting, sinking, and swimming of ice floes. It is a moment that is suitable for capturing a single step in the local art scene, or at least some of its facets. BLACK MARKET brings together artists who have been with Kim? for some time – quite possibly since the very beginning – as well as those who have been thinking alongside Kim?, making visits, flashing past, or have been busy studying. Wishing to support these artists, Kim? proposes BLACK MARKET as a place to perceive the fragility of the relationship between time and art, to appreciate the value of relentless pursuit, personal and public achievements, silent manifestos, gestures, and finally as a place to purchase fragments of what artists of different generations have achieved.”

The Black Market will include works by Aksels Bruks, Krista and Reinis Dzudzilo, Indriķis Ģelzis, Atis Jākobsons, Inga Meldere, Darja Meļņikova, Ojārs Pētersons, Krišs Salmanis, Armands Zelčs, Amanda Ziemele, and others.

Artist Maija Kurševa’s exhibition BLACK LINES will take place alongside the Black Market.


Unexpected Encounters
Exhibition Hall Arsenāls
13 December 2019 till 23 February 2020

From December 13 to February 23 2020, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art will present the exhibition “Unexpected Encounters” at the “Arsenāls” Exhibition Hall. The exhibition is a research project that explores the relationships between science fiction, art and processes in society, combining historical research and works by contemporary artists.

“Unexpected Encounters” addresses the impact of science fiction on the Latvian cultural space in the second half of the 20th century, and includes works by contemporary artists which highlight current issues of feminism, ecology and politics by envisioning alternative futures. The project's title is derived from a collection of stories by the Soviet science fiction writers the Strugatsky brothers, collated and published in Riga in 1987.

In the Soviet era, science fiction was an ideology-backed genre that examined utopias powered by progress and scientific development, in keeping with the paradigm and ideas of communism. Here too, however, strict censorship still applied, preventing the emergence of ideas that questioned the system and its mechanisms. Some intriguing examples of this, which the exhibition will explore, are the four graphic art exhibitions – titled “Science and Science Fiction” – organised at the House of Science from 1975 to 1982, with works by many artists, offering interpretations of space exploration, science and technology revolutions, ecological threats and other visions of the future.

In the present day, we are witnessing unprecedented advancements in technology and, conversely, the equally rapid socio-political movement towards right-wing conservatism and populism. As at various other contradictory points in human history, there is a growing interest in science fiction, which offers both advanced utopias and frightening dystopian scenarios. Alongside science and technology, science fiction often mirrors colonial expansion, and engages with issues such as class, race and gender inequality and imminent ecological disasters.

The artists participating in “Unexpected Encounters” include Ieva Balode, Anton Vidokle, Kristaps Epners, Zenta Logina, Viktors Timofejevs, Deimantas Narkevičius, Artūrs Virtmanis, Pakui Hardware, Ylva Westerlund, Ann Lislegaard, Sif Westerborg, Vladislav Shapovalov, Nash Glynn, Driant Zeneli, Artūrs Riņķis, Bahar Noorizadeh, Auseklis Baušķenieks, and more.


Frančeska Kirke. Fragile
Art museum Riga Bourse
14 December 2019 till 16 February 2020

The “TRAUSLUMS/ FRAGILE” project at Riga Bourse is a dialogue between the artefacts in the museum exposition and artist Frančeska Kirke’s creations. The exhibition is about reverence in relation to the spirit of a museum as an unchanging, constant and eternal thing.

Frančeska Kirke describes it as follows: “I have always been interested in works of art before restoration, with their damaged surfaces and layers, everything that can be linked to the concept of TIME. Recent events only confirm how I feel – the lost Palmyra temples and the burning of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral – nothing is eternal. This feeling of LOSS is the keyword for the entire exposition, where we walk through the floors of the museum with an exhibition map: to the Dutch, the Chinese porcelain, the Japanese and Indonesian collections, and also to the forever young nymphs. The whole museum becomes a place for creating an inconspicuous production. I look at museum works with the eyes of an individual living in the 20th/21st century, with the memory, experience and traumas of my generation. The story is about the extent to which intervention is possible, supplementing or replacing individual works of art. The solemn order of things at the museum is disturbed for a moment. The exhibition works in each permanent exposition hall could be in a different technique: painting, ceramics, graphics, a spatial object or audio installation. They are encoded, and mapping takes place with a guidebook specially prepared for the exhibition while walking through the museum. Stopping-off points are indicated in it: articles that I have created are placed in the display cases with Chinese porcelain where the vase paintings are signs from the Mao era; the sound installation in Meissen Hall reflects on Kristallnacht prior to World War II in Germany; Dutch painter Albert Jansz Klomp’s Landscape with Cattle has been replaced by an identical work of similar size, but with an explosion in the background of the scene, deliberately mixing up two historical genres in painting… 

“Visually, and in terms of their content, I would like to compare the creative principles of my exhibition works with the concept palimpsest. I want to place individual facts from recent world history in contrast with the hermeticism of the museum, utilizing the most suitable form of visual expression.”

The exhibition is curated by Vita Birzaka.




Race Conversation event series
Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre
21 November 2019 till 31 January 2020

“Race Conversation” is a series of film screenings and other events organised by the Contemporary Art Centre with the aim of addressing various questions: How is the issue of race reflected in Lithuania? Why is talking about race so difficult in this country, as if we didn’t have the right language for it? Is it really true that race has no role in our everyday lives? And ultimately, why is it even important – what are we losing by refusing to participate in a conversation about race?

The project addresses the question of race in Lithuania as it emerges locally, and as it does not emerge at all, despite being able to offer useful perspectives. Race is not a common topic in Lithuania: the country is racially almost entirely homogeneous, and encounters with people of colour are regarded primarily as part of travelling stories and emigration, not of everyday life. The cultural reality is not given much credit: filled with basketball matches and crime stories on TV as well as in music, it is rarely taken as sufficient proof of an ongoing conversation between cultures and races. Generation after generation, decade after decade, people have enjoyed jazz and South African dance rhythms; and still, many insist that there is no need to talk about race, as it has no role in their personal lives.

There are at least two distinct poles or value systems currently operating in Lithuanian pop culture. Political correctness and historical awareness of racial oppression are becoming an increasing part of popular culture originating from the US and other Western countries; however, Eastern Europe keeps producing racist ads and music videos using tropes that are now unimaginable in the West, borrowing them from the “older days” and comedies, and claiming innocence. The two cultures exist side by side, often just one click apart, sometimes even in the same sentence; more often, they violently resist each other. Added to this mix are legacies of the Soviet ideology of “friendship of nations” and structural racism bred by its military structures; this is what remains of the idea of pure identity after it somehow survived through the 20th century in this particular corner of the world. Lithuania does not face the issue of race in the same way that the US, Western Europe, South Africa or New Zealand do, leading to vast grey zones and endless opportunities for misunderstandings.

The project links the legacy of the race discourse in the Soviet domain and the contemporary cultural domain in Lithuania, putting emphasis on popular culture and artistic production as well as the efforts that various artists, academics and human rights activists have put into defining questions of race, creating a language to speak about it, and raising awareness of it internationally.

The project is curated by Virginija Januškevičiūtė and Gerda Paliušytė.


Mekas Winks Better
MO Museum
20 November 2019 till 16 August 2020

Poet and avantgarde filmmaker Jonas Mekas had an incredible knack for being where inconsequential daily encounters would soon become part of history. Mekas’ encounters with the stars of pop culture and the art world were not only recounted in his films, but also in still shots taken from those films, which Mekas then displayed as separate stand-alone exhibits in the late twentieth century. A portion of these images have now been acquired by MO Museum and are displayed in the exhibition “Mekas Winks Better”. Rather than portraying the images in his frames as cult personalities or significant monuments, Mekas chose to view his subjects as friends – fragile and vulnerable loved ones.

Mekas considered winking as a form of communication capable of expressing a multitude of meanings: agreement, anger, disgust or admiration. And it was with a wink that Salvador Dalí, the star of surrealism, hoped to provoke Mekas during happenings they both attended. A wink passed from the modernist Dalí to the postmodernist Mekas symbolizes the end of Dalí’s era and the rise (and brighter twinkling) of Mekas’ star.

The exhibition is curated by Edmondas Kelmickas and Deima Žuklytė-Gasperaitienė.


Algis Griškevičius. Their rituals
Prospekto Gallery
3 December 2019 till 25 January 2020

Algis Griškevičius’ exhibition “Their rituals” will be on view at Prospekto gallery in Vilnius from 3 December 2019 till 25 January 2020.

Algis Griškevičius’ artistic works are unique in the artist’s ability to combine various genres. According art historian Tomas Pabedinskas, “The juxtaposition of photographs and drawings becomes a hint of one of the most interesting aspects of his work – interdisciplinarity, which is linked not only to the conceptualism found in contemporary art but more to the traditional notions of art praising craftsmanship and uniqueness. Griškevičius, a professional painter, started out on his creative path by making paintings, then illustrating books and creating posters and scenography. Even when he uses photography, he creates more as a painter or sculptor. He sketches and designs everything in his head, and then later thoroughly stages the situations by taking pictures while also constructing decorations for them. He’s not limited by the regular position of an observing photographer; instead, he actively plays the role of a creator by connecting different fields of art: photography, sculpture, and theatre.”

Algis Griškevičius forms time and the world around him by incorporating various symbols or signs which form his own world. “If ‘the world of the happy man is a different one to that of the unhappy man’, then surely ‘the world of the playing man is a different one to that of the un-playing man’. And the visual rituals by Griškevičius prove it. His photographs are the evident manifestation of the playing man, homo ludens. Every game has its own nature that reveals itself when you start playing it rather than when you’re only observing it. That’s how the images captured by Algis work – they infect us with creativity, turning the procedure of observing into a training camp to broaden the limits of our imaginations”, says the philosopher Nerijus Milerius.

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