Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art

SALE! Visionary Structures. From Johansons to Johansons

Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Rīga, 2015


Compiler and Editor: Ieva Astahovska

Authors of articles: David Crowley, Iveta Derkusova, Juris Sils, Margareta Tillberg, Iliana Veinberga, Domenico Quaranta, Ainārs Kamoliņš, Jānis Taurens

Collection of articles, which at the same time is also the catalogue of the exhibition Visionary Structures. From Johansons to Johansons traces a glowing trajectory in Latvian art – a look at the most experimental and visionary artistic values of their day and their historical transformations. It is an encounter between artists and artworks belonging to different eras, yet allowing the viewer to perceive the legacy of ideas and common currents in the flow of art that have developed over time.

In the 1920s, artists Kārlis Johansons and Gustavs Klucis, who belonged to the Constructivists’ group in Moscow, responded to the challenge for art to create a new way to materialise the dynamics of social life. Today, the works of both artists are part of the international avant-garde. The legacy of Constructivism and futuristic ideas returned to the spotlight in the 1970s, during the Cold War, when Latvia was one of the republics of the Soviet Union. There were several artists – among them, Valdis Celms, Jānis Krievs and Artūrs Riņķis – who were captivated by the quest for an alternative, ideal space and innovative forms. They came forth with surprising proposals for the residential environment in the city, in nature and even in outer space, which embodied the problems of the era and at the same time veered away from the real social space. At the centre of the works of the youngest generation of artists in the exhibition – Gints Gabrāns and Voldemārs Johansons – are quests that instead of cosmic dimensions delve into micro-realities. Through aleatory organic forms and systemic, ideal structures they interpret the complex processes of both the visible and the invisible reality. The flow of energy and space of imagination are synthesised in these structures, uncovering new visionary worlds.

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