Contemporary art exhibition Shared History, organized by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, will take place at the Art Museum Riga Bourse from September 22 to November 30, 2018.
Inhabiting spaces of the permanent collection of the museum, the exhibition will turn towards investigating the museum’s collection and its stories, unveiling the aspects that allow to look anew at the relationship between the local and the international, cultural relations and diplomacy, as well as collecting and the link between artworks and broader political and historical processes.
The history of the collection in Bourse goes back to before the state of Latvia was founded so it associates with the very first public art collections in Riga, and the collection itself was built on the art collections which originally were bequeathed to the city by the Baltic German city councillors and merchants in the 19th century. Thus the museum can be seen as a striking symbol which embodies the history of the visual arts development in Latvia and marks the multicultural context of the country, but also different hierarchies and power-relationships that have surrounded it historically. For a long time, Bourse was known as the Museum of Foreign Art, its main holdings represent the Ancient Egyptian, the antique, the Western European and Russian, as well as the oriental art with particularly extensive collections of the Chinese, Indian and Japanese art.
The exhibition will encompass new commissions by Latvian and international artists alongside archival material that deal with international culture relations of the museum, especially the India Festival of 1987. A special interest within this exhibition is held in the work of the Latvian-born American journalist, anthropologist, art historian and specialist of Indonesia Claire Holt (1901-1970). Showing for the first time in Latvia her research widens the thread of current holdings of the museum including the collection of ethnographic objects from Indonesia, as well as a painting by south east Asian modern painter Raden Saleh (1811– 880) “Lion Hunt” alongside his portrait.
The title of the exhibition refers to the notion of shared history used in many different contexts, to describe historical events beyond national borders – as shared, common to several territories simultaneously, often referring to sides involved in conflicts, describing histories of colonialism or trying to find new ways to speak about consequences of contemporary migration. The collection of the museum “Riga Bourse” in the context of this exhibition will serve as a starting point for new narratives of shared history, deriving from the collection described as foreign, taking into account that any shared history automatically creates new divisions with other societies, groups or collections.
Ieva Balode & Alexey Murashko
Curator: Inga Lāce
Designer: Asnate Bockis
Shared History is part of an EU collaboration project with the same title. It is a cross-disciplinary project. With a Baltic scope, the project’s creative research process will approach issues such as policy making, judicial and geographical borders, statistics, identity, public opinion and post-truth information related to migration and integration in Sweden, Poland and Latvia. Project partners are Färgfabriken in Stockholm, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art in Riga and Baltic Sea Cultural Centre, three cultural institutions around the Baltic Sea.
More information: www.sharedhistory.eu
Informations about Shared History in Gdańsk: www.nck.org.pl
Supporters: Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, State Culture Capital Foundation, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Riga City Council, Embassy of Finland in Riga, FRAME Finland
Collaboration Partners: Art Museum “Riga Bourse”, Färgfabriken, The Baltic Sea Culture Centre