About the exhibition “Greetings Head!”

The creative output of several generations of Latvian artists is combined in the exhibition “Greetings Head!” This is one of the rare occasions in Latvia when it is possible to see examples of almost all contemporary artistic media: painting, graphics, drawing, sculpture, photography, installation, objects, video, text, music, film and theatre stage design in a single setting.

The exhibition launches the art festival of Boris and Inara Teterev and the idea behind it chimes with the name of the festival: TÊTE-À-TÊTE. The name of the festival is taken from French, in which the word la Tête means “head”.

The exhibition showcases a broad spectrum of art forms which characterise the Boris and Inara Teterev art festival programme. In the context of this exhibition, the head is not only a place for a headscarf, earrings, haircut, cosmetics, glasses and headphones, but also a complicated part of the body in which thinking does or does not take place.

These works of art are about more than thinking than about not thinking, because here, for example, even a vegetable thinks in Maija Kurseva’s drawing “Beetroot in Thought”. Once again, one is prompted to refer to our patriarch of art history Janis Borgs, who once made an unforgettable assertion in an interview most laconically: “The world will not be saved by beauty, but by thinking.”

One of the exhibition’s reference points is the head of grandma-wolf created by Liene Mackus, Krista Dzudzilo and Reinis Dzudzilo for the Latvian National Theatre’s production of “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf” in 2013. In the end, the emerging artists’ work was not used in the play, but instead acquired the form of a sculpture for this exhibition.

Since the days of Ancient Greece, theatre has been integral to the origins of European professional art; in the context of this exhibition, this is demonstrated not only by the stage design elements, but is also accented through the performing nature of contemporary art.

Interweaving tradition and innovation, the exhibition is defined by imagery and narrative. The viewer is treated with respect; he does find himself playing hide-and-seek. Amidst this multitude of artistic voices, there is no shortage or either personal motifs or references to broader social manifestations. The artists are not afraid to be naïve or melancholy; nor do they shirk from affirming instant revelation, miracles, despair, joy and at least some understanding of the rhythms and rhymes of culture and nature.

The only small zone allocated for experiments is an interplay of works by Art Academy of Latvia Professor Ojars Petersons and his students from the Visual Communications Department exhibited under the joint title “Show”.

The origins of the exhibition’s concept date back to the spring of 2013 when works submitted for the competition “Riga Smiles” were exhibited at the Art Academy of Latvia. As the jury set to work, the philanthropic Teterevs expressed their wish that the next competition exhibition should be dedicated to figural works. To a certain extent, with its imagery this project lays the ground for the latest urban environment competition exhibition, answering the question of what exactly is figural art nowadays (see artinpublicspace.lv).

Reproductions of outdoor works for the art show demonstrate that drawing and photography can also become permanent works of public art, as has often occurred in world’s biggest metropolises.

The exhibition also includes some works dating back to an earlier period, in order to provide a small insight into the development of ideas within Latvian contemporary art. However, most of this art is new and has never before been publicly exhibited – 20 new works or sets of works have been created especially for the exhibition. The familiarity of the historical works is also relative – they have never been seen by several generations of students who have already graduated.

Although the exhibition is primarily supported by the Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation; many technical requirements could not have been resolved with the requisite degree of quality without the wonderful collaboration of State Joint Stock Company “Latvijas dzelzceļš” and its subsidiary institution, the Latvian Railway History Museum, as well as the invaluable assistance of “Trasta komercbanka”.

Exhibition Curator Helena Demakova

  • Video guide of exhibition

  • In its Rhythms, Liene Mackus, 2014

  • Photos from the Greetings Head! exhibition