Latvian Pavilion Biennale Arte 2015
"Some of the garages have been adapted for living. Others serve as hobby workshops. In some, cars are still kept. It is a closed male commune. A convent for retired blue collars from Soviet economy and engineers from factories closed in the course of neo-liberal reforms. With the enthusiasm of alchemists they are continuing to occupy themselves with inventing new mechanical devices or re-soldering microcircuits pulled out of second-hand gadgets."
"The story of garage men inhabiting the periphery of Europe is a pastoral of the digital age. The ability to take apart and put together a car engine is about the same as it was in 1845 for Henry David Thoreau to “borrow an ax, go to the forest, and begin to fell some rather young, tall and slender pine-trees” with an aim to build a hermit’s shack for himself."
"The workshops set up in the cooperative garages represent a closed microcosm where the socio-economic environment has blended with personal space. The creative activities of the particular community are both the trade and hobby of the individual entrepreneurs. Self-exploitation as a leisure time activity is a time capsule where neoliberalism has enclosed the postindustrial proletariat."
"When these men are busy doing their thing and you look at their faces, it is not really clear whether they are jerking off or filing something. Their faces are tense, their breathing is irregular, droplets of sweat are covering their foreheads, their movements are rhythmical and monotonous."
/Oksana, a high-school teacher/
Katrīna Neiburga (1978) holds an MA from the Latvian Academy of Art in visual communications. She has been exhibiting since 2000 and has participated in the Sydney and Moscow biennales. In 2008, she was short-listed for the Ars Fennica Award and recieved the highest Latvian award in fine arts. A sizeable investigative video story "The Printing House“ (2012) about an abandoned high-rise attracted attention in Riga, Helsinki (Cable Factory Gallery), Budapest (Trafo Gallery), Tallinn (KUMU), Vilnius (National Gallery of Art), and elsewhere. Katrīna Neiburga has often closely collaborated with sound artist Andris Indāns. She has also worked on set designs for the Latvian National Opera, the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre and elsewhere, collaborating on the staging of various plays. In 2015, as a video scenic designer she was offered to collaborate on the staging of the opera "La Damnation de Faust" at the Opera Bastille in Paris.
Andris Eglītis (1981) has studied fine arts at Latvian Academy of Art, I.E.Repin Saint Petersburg Institute of Art, Russia, as well as at HISK in Gent, Belgium. Although oil-painting prevails in his artistic practice over other forms of media, there are also sculptures he has done in collaboration with the beaver community at his country-house artist studio, and novel architectural installations usually built as narrative prototypes for his figurative paintings. In 2013 he won Purvītis prize, the highest award in fine arts in Latvia.
The 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
09.05. – 22.11.2015
Artists: Katrīna Neiburga, Andris Eglītis
Curator: Kaspars Vanags
Commissioner: Solvita Krese
Deputy Commissioner: Kitija Vasiļjeva
Architect: Austris Mailītis
Graphic designer: Edgars Zvirgzdiņš, Associates, Partners et Sons
Sound artists: Andris Indāns & Jānis Šipkēvics (aka Shipsi)
Lighting designer: Māris Važa
Cameraman: Aigars Sērmukšs
Project coordinator in Venice: Michele Perna
Technical crew: Jānis Noviks, Mikus Bēvalds
Special effects and stage machinery: Forma Machinery
PR specialist: Marta Krivade
Google Cultural Institute exhibition: Ilze Rušmane
Photo Credits: Katrīna Neiburga, Andris Eglītis, Ansis Starks, Andrejs Strokins, Karlīna Vītoliņa, Edgars Zvirgzdiņš
Commissioned by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia
Organised by: Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art