Alise Tifentale, Co-Curator of North by Northeast presents a talk on Latvian Art
Saturday, May 4, 2013
3PM, 4th floor
Just what is it that makes Latvian art so different, so Latvian?
Works by Latvian contemporary artists Kaspars Podnieks and Krišs Salmanis question the identity of a nation that has to grapple with its always marginal position in the politicized geography of Europe. Under the Soviet rule, Latvia was the westernmost borderland of the Soviet Union. The point of reference radically shifted after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when Latvia regained its independence and paradoxically found itself on the north-eastern most border of the European Union. The ideological implications of this changing and always imaginary political geography provoke insecurity and doubt in terms of self-fashioning: what does it mean to be a Latvian artist or a Latvian in general? Is it the patriarchal rural lifestyle, appreciation of local landscape as a redemptive Arcadia, self imposed laws of merciless work ethic, or traditional oppression of any socially or politically explicit thought? Or rather searching for an escape route from all of it, stigating our universal and personal relationships to memory, nature, and site?
About Alise Tifentale
Alise Tifentale is an art historian, editor, writer, and curator. Since 2001 Tifentale has published articles and book chapters on topics ranging from photography of the Soviet and post-Soviet era to contemporary art, and has contributed to such publications as ARTMargins, Russian Art & Culture, and Studija. She is the founder of photography history and criticism magazine Foto Kvartals and served as its editor-in-chief from 2006 to 2010. Tifentale has curated exhibitions of contemporary photography from Latvia such as Private (Moscow, 2008). In 2010, she established a contemporary photography gallery FK in collaboration with kim? Contemporary Art Center in Riga. Her latest book The Photograph as Art in Latvia, 1960-1969 (Riga: Neputns, 2011) explores the unique status of photography as an officially unrecognized form of art within the larger Soviet art establishment.