'Archaeologists of Memory': Important Latvian art collection opens at Kumu

"Nothing happens again" (left) and "Presentation" (right). Pencil on paper. Kristaps Gelzis, 2010. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Thursday marks the opening of "Archaeologists of Memory: Vitols Contemporary Art Collection" at the Kumu Art Museum, an insight into the Vitols Contemporary art collection.

In the Baltic setting, Vitols Contemporary stands out for its prominent and clear focus. Irina and Māris Vītols have been collecting contemporary art from Eastern and Central Europe since the year 2000. Latvian collectors have focused on the political and social upheavals in this culturally diverse region, since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The collection contains over 1000 works by over 150 authors. The majority of the works on display were created in the last two decades in Latvia, Romania, Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, Slovakia, Albania and Ukraine.

"The artists selected for the exhibition have drawn inspiration from personal memory, family records, local life and culture, the environment, societal dynamics, and (art) history.  The link between poetic expression and the layers of the past shows that remembering is never neutral. The cross-generational and cross-regional debates heighten awareness of the multifaceted nature of memory, its social significance, and the conditional and complex connections between time and narratives," Eda Tuulberg, the exhibition's curator, said.

The exhibition accompanies a publication and an audio book. An audio tour in Estonian and English gives context for the pieces on display and its relationship to the theme of memory. The publication contains interviews with IIrina and Māris Vītols, a short story by Maarja Kangro, articles by Tanel Rander and a catalogue of the exhibited pieces.

The exhibition is curated by Eda Tuulberg, designed by Anna Škodenko and coordinated by Tiiu Saadoja. The graphic design of the exhibition and the book is by Viktor Gurov.

Artists Viktor Alimpijev, Vladimir Arhipov, Jānis Avotiņš, Matei Bejenaru, Blue Noses Group, Vajiko Chachkhiani, Kristaps Ģelzis, Dmitri Gutov, Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė, Rasa Jansone, Jānis Kalmīte, Alice Kask, Vendula Knopová, Eva Kot'átková, Leonards Laganovskis, Goshka Macuga, Inga Meldere, Rustam Mirzoev, Deimantas Narkevičius, Mircea Nicolae, Lucia Nimcová, Adrian Paci, Ievgen Petrov, Joanna Piotrowska, Tõnis Saadoja, Krišs Salmanis, Monika Sosnowska, Antanas Sutkus, Olga Tšernõševa and Artur Żmijewski

The exhibition will be open at the Kumu Gallery of Contemporary Art until 9 April 2023.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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