Curated by Eleanor Heartney and Ieva Kalnina
ON VIEW: June 13-July 26
Visvaldis Ziediņš: Travels in the Imagination features the work of hitherto unknown Latvian artist Visvaldis Ziediņš (1942-2007).Ziediņš worked primarily during the Soviet occupation of Latvia in the city of Liepāja. Despite Liepāja being a closed city during the occupation, Ziediņš was able to draw on other influential artists such as Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenburg, Anton Tapies and John Cage through Polish and Czechoslovakian art magazines.
During his lifetime, Ziediņš created over 3,000 works of art including installations, collages, assemblages and sculptures. Despite this impressive collection of works, he chose to never publically display his artwork. A stance he held even after Latvia had declared its independence from the USSR. Instead, his works were kept a private affair among a small group of friends until his sudden death in 2007.
“what without how—that’s Soviet art; how without what—that’s Western art. My art is what and how at the same time.”
The recent discovery of Ziediņš’ oeuvre in 2009, has dispelled the commonly held belief that Latvian art adhered strictly to social realism, the style championed and mandated by the Soviet Regime. Unlike the formulaic, depersonalized art of social realism, Ziediņš work is imaginative, personal and playful. Drawing on avant-gardism, his works employ non-objective color, simplification of form and experimental materials. His creative use of found materials to create fundamentally non-conformist art is a testament to Ziediņš perseverance in spite of Soviet political, cultural and artistic hegemony.
This is the first exhibition of Ziediņš’ work in the United States. It closes July 26th. Don’t miss it!