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Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art

“Unexpected Encounters” - an exhibition dedicated to science fiction
“Arsenāls” Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art
13.12.19 - 23.02.20

From December 13 to February 23 2020, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art will present the exhibition “Unexpected Encounters” at the “Arsenāls” Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art. “Unexpected Encounters” is a research and exhibition 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” – organized at the House of Science from 1975 to 1982, with works by Maija Dragūne, Aleksandrs Dembo, Māris Ārgalis, Malda Muižule, Māra Rikmane, Dzidra Ezergaile, Juris Poikāns, Kirils Šmeļkovs, Inārs Helmūts, Arturs Ņikitins, Genādijs Suhanovs and other artists, offering interpretations of space exploration, science and technology revolution, 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 with science and technology, science fiction often mirrors colonial expansion, and engages with issues such as class, race and gender inequality and imminent ecological disasters.

On the opening day of the exhibition, December 12, media representatives are invited to an exhibition tour with curators and artists at 12:00. At 15:00 teachers are invited to a seminar about presenting the exhibition to children (more information: lcca.com/berniem and lnmm.lv). On December 14, from 12:00 to 17:00, there will be a symposium dedicated to the exhibition, where curators Inga Lāce, Andra Silapētere and Solvita Krese will conduct talks with artists Ylva Westerlund, Kristaps Epners, Ieva Balode, Anton Vidokle, Driant Zeneli, Ann Lislegaard, Bahar Noorizadeh and Viktor Timofeev. On January 23 at 18:30, there will be a performance of "scientific poetry”, featuring poets Jelena Glazova, Elīna Bākule and Ieva Viese-Vigula. More information about the events is available on the LLMC and LNMM websites: lcca.lv and lnmm.lv. All events will take place at the LNMM Exhibition Hall "Arsenals”.

The participating artists of the "Unexpected Encounters” exhibition are: Māris Ārgalis, Ieva Balode, Auseklis Baušķenieks, Maija Dragūne, Aleksandrs Dembo, Kristaps Epners, Dzidra Ezergaile, Pēteris Džigurs, Nash Glynn, Alberts Goltjakovs, Inārs Helmūts, Ann Lislegaard, Zenta Logina, Malda Muižule, Deimantas Narkevičius, Bahar Noorizadeh, Artūrs Ņikitins, Pakui Hardware, Ivars Poikāns, Māra Rikmane, Artūrs Riņķis, Vladislav Shapovalov, Genādijs Suhanovs, Kirils Šmeļkovs, Viktor Timofeev, Anton Vidokle, Artūrs Virtmanis, Sif Itona Westerberg, Ylva Westerlund, Driant Zeneli, Zheng Bo.

“Cosmic Existence”, the first exhibition of the “Unexpected Encounters” project, opened on September 13 at the Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen and will run until October 28, 2019.

The "Unexpected Encounters" project is supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Riga City Council, State Culture Capital Foundation, Embassy of Canada in Latvia, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Latvia, Goethe-Institut Riga, Danish Cultural Institute, Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia, Latvian Artists' Union, Konstnärsnämnden, ĒTER, Latvian National Botanical Garden, DAW Baltica Ltd. ("CAPAROL"), "Priekuļu bloks", "Copy Pro "Neiburgs Hotel", "4 metri ”, "Kates Plates" Ltd., "Tenapors" Ltd., "Malduguns, "Contra ", "Walters & Grapa”, ”ŌBDO”, "Tālavas sidrs ”, Valmiermuiža Brewery, Kokmuiža Brewery, and "Gardu muti".


The exhibition forms part of the celebratory events marking Latvia’s centenary. Latvia’s centenary celebrations are taking place from 2017 to 2021. The central message of the centenary celebrations is “I am Latvia”, emphasizing how Latvia's main asset is its people, who make the country what it is today through their daily work and lay the foundations for the future with the new generation.



Curators: Solvita Krese, Inga Lāce, Andra Silapētere, LCCA

Education programme: Māra Žeikare, LCCA

Project manager: Agnese Pundiņa, LCCA
Installation manager: Margarita Ogoļceva, LCCA
Head of communication: Laura Brokāne, LCCA
Exhibition coordinator at the ARSENALS Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art: Māra Lāss


Exhibition design: “ĒTER”
Graphic design: Aleksejs Muraško

1. Nash Glynn. “Lover Earth (YOU USED ME)” (2018). Video performance. Courtesy of the artist.
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