Founded in 2016, the first Riga Biennial will open its doors to the public on 2 June 2018.
Held in Riga, Latvia, the biennial will be curated by Katerina Gregos, the previous artistic director of Art Brussels.
With the title “Everything Was Forever, Until it Was No More”, the first Riga Biennial has announced its opening dates. The festival will run from 2 June through 28 October 2018. Officially called the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA), the first of its kind in Latvia, the Biennial is an initiative of the Riga Biennial Foundation, which has the mission of developing a global platform for international and Baltic artists for educational and community-building purposes. The five-month-long event will be hosted in Riga, the country’s capital and largest city, which also holds the title of the largest metropolis in the Baltic region.
The first edition of the Riga Biennial aims to highlight the artistic achievements of the Baltic region, creating an entry point for artists to engage with the history and wider community of the surrounding areas.
Critical of the so-called “biennial culture”, or “biennialisation”, the event has also given itself the mandate of creating what it terms as a sustainable model, based on the principles of putting artists, artistic production, meticulous presentation and meditation on the art first. The first Riga Biennial also aims to be locally conscious, stating that it aims to be “based on a working process that starts from the local […] the Biennial aims to take root and make roots in the place where it is situated”.
Borrowing its title from the book of the same name by anthropologist Alexei Yurchak, the exhibition aims to look at the act of change, and confront the rapid and constant flux and flow that has come to define modern urban life. The exhibition will look at the current efforts of the human race to keep up with this condition. Examining a wide range of issues, the exhibition will look at how contemporary artists are making sense of the rapid rate of change, and how they envision the future to be under such circumstances. Situating this in the context of the Baltic region, the curatorial focus of the first Riga Biennial asserts that the Baltic region lends itself to the discussion of such issues, taking into consideration that it has become a locus of political and economic restructuring, as well as identity renegotiation and global reintegration.
The exhibition is spearheaded by Greek-born curator Katerina Gregos, who comes from a primarily institutional background. Prior to her role at the first Riga Biennial, Gregos served as the Artistic Director of Art Brussels. She has also been the curator of the Danish Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, and has also served as Director of the Argos Centre for Art & Media, Brussels, and as Director and Curator of the Deste Foundation, Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens. Gregos is widely known for her intellectual rigour and for dedicating shows to emerging artists and contemporary issues.
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