Media release

International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial starts in Riga

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
23 April 2015

On Thursday 23 April, the Diversity & Unity exhibition opened at the Arsenāls Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) in Riga. It is the main event of the 5th Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial Tradition & Innovation that forms part of the cultural programme of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The organisers of the triennial point out that the slogan Diversity & Unity has provided space for the artists’ flight of fancy at a highly professional level. The choice of the slogan was determined by the fact that Latvia holds the Presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2015. Since 2000, the official motto of the European Union has been “United in diversity”.

“The motto means that the EU is an environment in which people can come together to work for peace and prosperity, whilst enriching each other through their different cultures, traditions and languages. The aim of the Union is to create deeper solidarity between European nations while respecting and maintaining our diversity. We are therefore pleased that this idea has become the motto of the Triennial”, explains the Head of the Presidency Secretariat’s Department of the Public Diplomacy and Culture Programme, Selga Laizāne.

The exhibition puts a special emphasis on national identity in a European and worldwide context: “How do different national cultures express their identity within the European and global context in contemporary society?” At the same time, the main goal of the Triennial is unchanged – to contribute to the development of professional art and creative artistic processes.

It was decided by the international panel of jurors to accept works of art that are characterised by novel and a fresh ideas. In total, 85 artists from 29 countries around the world (Europe, Japan, USA, Australia, Latin America, etc.) are taking part in the show. Among them are textile artists who are well-known in Latvia as well as artists who are exhibiting in Riga for the first time. Two guest artists were also invited to exhibit: Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere from Latvia and the world-famous Michael Brennand-Wood from the United Kingdom.

The Triennial presents a variety of means of expression and the most topical trends in the field of textile and fibre art. The head of the triennial project, Velta Raudzepa, points out that in our modern high-tech times artists are showing more and more interest in classical values, and especially in gobelin tapestry. At the same time they are trying to incorporate a wide spectrum of innovations in terms of materials and techniques, and this is reflected in the exhibition which features refined embroideries as well as spatial and video installations.

“This exhibition is a fantastic expression of artistic ideas which demonstrate that all of the artists are open to society and to people, and that Riga is open to various cultures. This is the most important aspect”, says Velta Raudzepa.

Barbara Ābele (Latvia). Served. Re-served. Pre-served. 2014. Cotton, polyurethane. Courtesy of the author. Publicity photo

Most of the works are expressly conceptual and speak about contemporary issues (for example, the influence of internet and social media on people's lives). Several artists have become actively involved in the evaluation and presentation of global problems by expressing their individual and often critical attitudes. The themes of the exhibition cover social, political, religious and historical issues, as well as intimate personal experiences.

“The exhibition is surprisingly lively and bright. On the one hand, it is characterised by lightness, but on the other hand, we see the wide range of problems that the modern artist and also the textile artist has to deal with”, states Māra Lāce, the director of the LNMA.

The exhibition will be on display until 10 June.

Satellite events

Alongside the main Triennial exhibition, several satellite events have also been planned. The WonderWoman Art Bra guest exhibition will be held at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design from 23 April to 7 June. At this exhibition, female artists from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Uruguay, Spain and Canada will address social issues relevant to women.

Gudrun Bartenberger-Geyer (Austria). Circulation. 2014. Installation. Courtesy of the author. Publicity photo

The works of young Latvian textile artists will be on display in two exhibitions at the Riga Arts and Crafts School and the Riga Design and Art School, and an international conference on Diversity & Unity dedicated to the development of this field and its prospects will be held at the Riga Bourse Art Museum on 24 April.

There will also be solo exhibitions by textile artists in several galleries in Riga, along with creative workshops and meetings with artists. For more information about the programme, please visit the LNMA website.

The Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial Tradition & Innovation was founded in 2001. The show in Riga has gained international recognition as a unique forum which is open to artists from Europe and other countries.

Linda Jākobsone
Head of Presidency Communications and Public Relations Department