Amanda Ziemele will represent Latvia at the La Biennale di Venezia


“O day and night, but this is wondrous strange…
          and therefore as a stranger give it welcome”

Amanda Ziemele will present “O day and night, but this is wondrous strange… and therefore as a stranger give it welcome” for the Latvian Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia from April 20 until November 24, 2024. The Pavilion will be curated by Adam Budak, the Director of Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover and is commissioned by Daiga Rudzāte, the Head of the INDIE Culture Project Agency.

Throughout her practice, Amanda Ziemele has created painterly environments that are often choreographed across all parameters of a given space. In a subtle though bold act of subversion, she will transform the Latvian Pavilion’s interior into a living organism. Taming space and animating dimensions, Ziemele will welcome viewers into a polyphonic habitat of hospitality.

An underlying yet integral narrative of Amanda Ziemele’s project for the Latvian Pavilion, which its ideas and concepts germinate from, is English schoolmaster and theologian Edwin A. Abbott’s novella “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions”, released in 1884 under the pseudonym A Square. Part geometry lesson, part social satire, this classic work of science fiction (or “mathematical fiction”, as some call it) playfully aims to expand the reader’s imagination beyond the limits of our “respective dimensional prejudices”. Meant as a parody of Victorian society, in which all existence is reduced to length and breadth (its inhabitants unable even to imagine a third dimension), Abbott’s tour de force of pseudo-scientific writing is a paean to human knowledge and the imagination that motivates it, a witty study of perception and the accessibility of absolute truth.

Seduced by Abbott’s hypotheses about a fourth and higher dimensions, the artist (a polyglot of space) sets up a challenge to investigate its relevance today by opening it up towards the space understood as queer ecology: a multidimensional habitat of polyversal thinking based upon diversity, inclusiveness, and interconnectivity, gendered beyond belief and convention, both corporeal and sensual, where radical tenderness rules. Following Abbott’s Shakespearian thread “o day and night, but this is wondrous strange... and therefore as a stranger give it welcome”, she unfolds the mysteries of three dimensions in a fluid transition from flatland to thoughtland by creating a microcosm of embrace and unconditional hospitality under threat. Eight figures of heightened identity and monochromatic (sur)faces.

“At the confluence of absence and presence, daylight is an instrument inviting the viewer to a self-reflective journey through a world in disarray and with no measure, a displaced universe of mutual hospitality, a warped space where the other is a gift. This is Amanda’s version of a mature space, a counter-phantasmagoria, resisting exhaustion and fatigue, a space with an attitude, ready to think and host the irregular world of contemporary society. The healing – and the necessity of healing – is what Amanda’s project ultimately offers to us,” Curator, Adam Budak emphasizes.

Amanda Ziemele. Photo: Kristīne Madjare

Amanda Ziemele’s project for the Latvian Pavilion comes to life through cooperation with the architect Niklāvs Paegle and Agnese Krivade, described as “a poet not only in words but also in movement.”

The Latvian Pavilion is commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, commissioner Daiga Rudzāte. Organised by the “INDIE Culture Project Agency” in cooperation with Jānis Zuzāns (“Alfor” Ltd), the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, the Investment and Tourism Agency of Riga, the IT & innovation company “Tet”, VV Foundation, “Latvijas Finieris”, and “Arctic Paper”.


About Amanda Ziemele 

Precision and modesty equal poetry in Amanda Ziemele’s painterly environments that are choreographed in a masterful way across all parameters of a given space. Here, the painting is a performative act: stripped bare, it wanders across the room, adorns the doorway, levitates over the ceiling, adapting classical architectural components by almost mimicking them in a freestyle embrace. Ziemele perceives her creative activity as an open time. Her interests lie in the formal qualities of painting and the field of ideas and contexts that accompany them. The artist uses spatially referenced installation techniques that create situational associations, using humor as a strategy.

Amanda Ziemele (1990) graduated from the Visual Arts Department of the Art Academy of Latvia, with a Bachelor’s degree in Painting. She completed diploma studies in the study program of Interdisciplinary and Experimental Painting at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts and was awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with a Post-Graduate Scholarship. Since 2016, she has held several solo exhibitions and kas been engaged in various collaborative projects as well as actively participated in exhibitions in Latvia and abroad. She received the 2021 Purvītis Prize for her exhibition Quantum Hair Implants. In early 2023, her solo exhibition Sun Has Teeth was on view in the Dome Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art. Her work can be found in several collections, in Latvia and abroad, including the Latvian National Museum of Art, the VV Foundation and Zuzeum, Riga.

About Adam Budak  

Adam Budak is Polish-born, Germany-based curator for contemporary art and writer. He studied Theatre Sciences at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland as well as the History and Philosophy of Art and Architecture at the Central European University, Prague, Czech Republic. He is currently Director of the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hannover, Germany. Previously he was Artistic Director of the National Gallery Prague (Czech Republic), the International Curator for Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC as well as the Curator at Kunsthaus Graz (Graz, Austria).

Budak curated a large number of international exhibitions (including Manifesta 7, two editions of Prague Biennale, three editions of the Biennale Gherdeina, Estonian Pavilion of the Venice Art Biennale, Polish Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale and many other). He also acted as the Commissioner for the Czech Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2017 and 2019 and Czech Pavilion for Architecture Biennale, 2018. Budak worked with many distinguished contemporary artists, including Louise Bourgeois (Zacheta National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2003), John Baldessari (Kunsthaus Graz, 2005), Sharon Lockhart (Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland, 2013), Ai Weiwei (National Gallery Prague, 2017), Katharina Grosse (National Gallery Prague, 2018) or Paula Rego (Kestner Gesellschaft, 2022). His most recent exhibition is The New Man, the Announcer, the Constructor. El Lissitzky: Self-portrait as the Kestner Gesellschaft. In his curatorial work, Budak is focused on interdisciplinary practices, poetics of space and performativity.

About Niklāvs Paegle 

Niklāvs Paegle is an architect and educator based in Riga and Vienna. He holds a Diploma from the AA School of Architecture in London. He is the founding partner of the architectural practice ĒTER. His most notable works include the Baltic Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia (2016), the PĒRLE Daycare center in Cēsis (2021), the exhibition at the Design Museum in London—WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD: The world of ASMR (2022) and leading the project for the Mui Ho Fine Arts Library at Cornell University, NY (2019).

Related articles