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Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
Juris Boiko. Mushroom Drawings. Pencil on paper, ~1987-2000
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Over his creative career from the mid-1970s until the early 2000s, Boiko made countless mythologised drawings of mushrooms. Instead of being finished works, these drawings were contained to the artist's visual diaries and daily notes, and thus are unknown to the broader public. Mushrooms figure frequently in Boiko's texts and works, both in the absurd novel ZUN and the play Magulaks. Pilzenbrecher, or “mushroom breaker”, is a character that appears in the song lyrics on the 1987 NSRD album Binokulāro deju kursi [Binocular Dance Lessons]. Images of mushrooms materialise in the video The Grindstone of the Spring, and also in Boiko's poems and unpublished short stories, yet the vast majority appear in his sketches, which number in the hundreds. Many newly created kinds of mushrooms can be encountered, for example: mushroom-eye, mushroom-ear, mushroom-phallus, mushroom-fish, mushroom-tongue, mushroom-brain, water mushrooms, fire mushrooms and others.

The discrete mythology of mushrooms, as Boiko called the ideological presence of mushrooms in the thought-space of the NSRD, fits among what Boiko and Lediņš referred to as their “associative sub-structures”. These projects provided theoretical extensions to the creative projects of the NSRD, and included the Approximate Art Studio, and Doctor Eneser's Binocular Dance Lessons as part of the Intimate Laboratory of Approximate Misunderstanding.

Text: Māra Žeikare