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Mission Statement

 

The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) is an international biennial with a European focus and a strong regional profile, founded in 2016. Taking the rich history of Riga and the Baltic states as its underlying framework, the Biennial highlights the artistic landscape of the wider region and creates opportunities for artists to enter into dialogue with the cultural, historical and socio-political context of the city and its geographic surrounds.

Taking into account criticisms of the proliferation of biennial culture, or ‘biennialisation’ as it has been called, RIBOCA aims to create a sustainable model based on best practices that prioritise artists, artistic production and the meticulous presentation and mediation of art. The Biennial is based on a working process that starts from the local, expanding to the national and the regional, and finally to the transnational. The Biennial aims to take root and make roots in the place where it is situated. Reflecting the biennial’s global outlook and mission to increase artistic engagement between the Baltic region and the rest of the world, a significant proportion of the commissioned and selected artists either live, work or were born in the Baltic region, a territory which still remains relatively unexplored despite its prolific artistic production.

RIBOCA sees itself as a critical site of artistic experimentation and knowledge production, an activator of co-operation and exchange between local and regional actors and institutions, an instigator of generosity towards peers, and a barometer of current social, political and economic issues filtered through artistic practices. The first edition of the Biennial will launch in June 2018. The Biennial has appointed Katerina Gregos as the Chief Curator of RIBOCA 2018.

Foundation

 

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) was founded as a major initiative of the Riga Biennial Foundation, its commissioning body. The Founder and Director of the Riga Biennial Foundation, Agniya Mirgorodskaya developed RIBOCA in order to set up a new global platform for international and Baltic artists, to promote contemporary art and provide educational and community support within the region, as well as to increase artistic engagement between the Baltic region and the rest of the world.

Riga has been an important trading post since the Middle Ages, and in more recent history Latvia has served as a significant industrial base. Latvia’s historical relations with Sweden, Russia, Poland and Germany have put it at the crossroads of different cultures and ideologies, with its gaze shifting between East and West. RIBOCA charts the particular psychogeography of this region within the new world order at a time of major global shifts.

Curators

Katerina Gregos
Chief Curator, RIBOCA 2018

Katerina Gregos is a curator, writer and lecturer born in Athens and based in Brussels since 2006. Gregos has extensive international curatorial experience and has curated several critically acclaimed large-scale exhibitions and biennials including: A World Not Ours, Kunsthalle Mulhouse (2017); Uncertain States: Artistic Strategies in States of Emergency, Akademie der Kunst, Berlin (2016-17); the Belgian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, Personne et les autres: Vincent Meessen & Guests; the 5th Thessaloniki Biennial, Between the Pessimism of the Intellect and the Optimism of the Will (2015); No Country for Young Men: Contemporary Greek Art in Times of Crisis, BOZAR, Brussels (2014); The Politics of Play for the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art and Liquid Assets: In the Aftermath of the Transformation of Capital, Steirischer Herbst, Graz (2013); Newtopia: The State of Human Rights, several venues, Mechelen & Brussels (2012). That year she was also co-curator of Manifesta 9: In the Deep of the Modern, Genk. In 2011, she curated Speech Matters the acclaimed exhibition on freedom of speech for the Danish Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennial, and co-curated The Eye is a Lonely Hunter, the 4th Fotofestival Mannheim Ludwighsafen Heidelberg. In 2009, she curated Contour: the 4th Biennial for Moving Image, Hidden in Remembrance is the Silent Memory of our Future. Among other things, Gregos also curated the 2006 edition of EVA International, Ireland's Biennial of Contemporary Art, Give(a)way: On Generosity, Giving, Sharing and Social Exchange. Other forthcoming projects include: The State is Not A Work of Art, for Tallinn Art Hall, Art Hall Gallery and Tallinn City Gallery (2018).

Gregos frequently serves as a member of international juries, including more recently: the juries for the Finnish and Irish Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale and the jury for the 2015 Hasselblad Prize. In 2016, she served on the jury of the Berlinale – the Berlin International Film Festival and the YAYA Prize – Young Artist of the Year Award for Palestinian artists, awarded by the A. M. Qattan Foundation.

Apart from her experience as an independent curator, Gregos has served as founding director and curator of the Deste Foundation’s Centre for Contemporary Art in Athens, Artistic Director of Argos Centre for Art and Media, Brussels and Artistic Director of Art Brussels. Currently she is also curator of the Schwarz Foundation (Munich/Samos/Athens).

Gregos is a graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art and King’s College (University of London) where she read Art History and European Literary and Historical Studies, as well as the City University London where she obtained a second MA in Museum Management. She regularly publishes on art and artists in exhibition catalogues, journals and magazines, and is a visiting lecturer at several art academies, including the HISK Higher Institute of Arts in Ghent and the Jan Van Eyck Academy, in Maastricht.

Solvej Helweg Ovesen
Associate Curator, RIBOCA

Solvej Ovesen is a curator and cultural theorist. She obtained her MA in Communication and Cultural Studies at Roskilde University, Copenhagen University and Humboldt University of Berlin. She also completed the De Appel Curatorial Training Program in Amsterdam (2003).

Since 2015 she is Artistic Director of Galerie Wedding – Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst; Artistic/Founding Director of GROSSES TREFFEN at the Nordic Embassies (2013 - present); and member of the Consortium of curators of the Danish Pavilion for the solo exhibition of Kirstine Roepstorff at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017). 

From 2003 to 2004 she worked as curatorial assistant at BAK – Basis voor Actuele Kunst, Utrecht. From 2004 to 2006 she was curator at the Kunsthalle Friedericianum, Curator Workshop, Kassel, Germany. She has curated a number of exhibitions internationally including the 6th Werkleitz Biennial, Happy Believers, Halle (2006), the first Copenhagen Quadrennial: U-TURN Quadrennial for Contemporary Art, Denmark (2008); 4. Fotofestival Mannheim, Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen The Eye is a Lonely Hunter (co-curated with Katerina Gregos, 2011), as well as the year long project An Age of our Own Making – a series of exhibitions with artists from East and West Africa, Asia and the Middle-East as part of the Images Festival 2016 in Holbæk, Roskilde and Copenhagen. She also curated the solo exhibition The Inner Sound that Kills the Outer by Kirstine Roepstorff (curated together with Agustín Pérez Rubio), MUSAC, Spain (2009) and the group exhibitions Die Welt als Bühne at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, nbk, Berlin (2009–2010); Never odd or even at Grimmuseum, Berlin (2011), and Museum for Contemporary Art, Roskilde (2012) and Either/Or at Nikolaj Contemporary Art Centre, Copenhagen (2012) and Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (2013).

Ioli Tzanetaki
Assistant Curator, RIBOCA

Ioli Tzanetaki is an independent curator, researcher and writer born in Athens and currently living in Berlin. She holds an MA in Art & Politics with honours from Goldsmiths, University of London, a Postgraduate Diploma in Art History and Curating from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Exeter. 

Her work focuses on the relationship between art, politics, and social issues. In 2016, she worked as a curatorial fellow for A World Not Ours, an exhibition reflecting on the refugee crisis commissioned by the Schwarz Foundation in Greece and France. In the same year, she co-founded the non-for-profit project We Hybrids which consists of a series of collaborative workshops, taking place in various UK cities (2016-present). From 2015 to 2016 she was director’s assistant at Siegfried Contemporary in London. She has organised several exhibitions in London, Berlin and Athens such as Faces and Spaces at Box. Freiraum, Berlin (2017). She is a co-editor and writer at Archipelago a printed and online journal aiming to explore the relationship between art and politics.

RIBOCA1 concept

 

1st Riga Biennial

EVERYTHING WAS FOREVER UNTIL IT WAS NO MORE

Speed is the form of ecstasy the technical evolution has bestowed on man… He is caught in a fragment of time cut off from both the past and the future; he is wrenched from the continuity of time; he is outside time…

—Milan Kundera, Slowness, 1996

Change is a constant and imperceptible process. Nothing remains the same and yet it often feels as if things are fixed, solid certainties. Change operates in strange ways. ‘Ta panta rhei’ (everything flows) the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus pointed out, meaning that everything is constantly changing, from the smallest organic particle to the whole universe. Heraclitus asserted that every seemingly stable object ultimately is a figment of one’s imagination. Only change itself is real, constant and in eternal flux, like the continuous flow of the river, which always renews itself and only appears to be staying the same over time. Until recently – and excluding those more rare radical moments of personal, social or political transformation – change appeared to creep up on us slowly. But then, one day we wake up and experience a sudden break in consciousness. It abruptly dawns on us that our world has changed beyond recognition. We have been thrust into the future, unwittingly. In recent years, and particularly since the advent of the technological revolution, it seems that even the Heraclitan constant flow of things has become a torrent. Our world seems to be ever accelerating. As James Gleick has pointed out in his book Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, “We have reached the epoch of the nanosecond. This is the heyday of speed”. The 1st Riga Biennial biennial will reflect on the phenomenon of change – how it is anticipated, experienced, grasped, assimilated and dealt with at this time of accelerated transitions.

The title, Everything Was Forever, Until it Was No More, is borrowed from Alexei Yurchak’s book of the same name. Yurchak discusses the collapse of the Soviet Union and one particular characteristic that defined it: the sense that although the Soviet system was felt to be permanent and immutable, its demise was at the same time perceived as completely natural. The shock of being thrust into a new order came only later. The title of his book suggests the slippery nature of change, the fact that what might seem eternal can suddenly come to an end. He calls this a case of ‘fast-forwarded history’. The title of Yurchak’s book resonates in the entire post-Soviet sphere, the Baltic states included; but it can also be seen as a potent metaphor for our own era.

At the same time, on a more global level, we seem to be at a watershed, propelled forward at great speed by technological change, new practices of daily life that seem to occur in a flash – like the quick consolidation of the internet and smartphones in our lives, for example - and radical ideas that are becoming mainstream. Yet more and more of us – old and young – have trouble keeping up with incessant, overwhelming flows of information and the increasing acceleration of our lives and work. Facilitated by technology, the changes at first seem natural. Introduced as novelties, they then quickly become necessities in a pure capitalist sense – but they are too profound and fast for us to really grasp or adapt to without great stress and anxiety. We tend to forget that we are still animals, and that like them we struggle to adapt to change. We are better equipped than most living things to do this, but we too experience change as stress. Though the condition of constant acceleration has become normalised in most areas of life, and differs from place to place, city to city and country to country, few seem to question it or are able to resist it. In our hubris we tend to forget that evolution, which allows for adaptation to new conditions, has been an extremely slow process. Consider this simple timeline: life on earth appeared 4 billion years ago; homo sapiens appeared 70,000 years ago (new research now suggests 300,000 years) and life evolved on the planet at a very slow pace until the financial and agricultural revolution which started at the beginning of the 1600s. Only since the industrial revolution did things start changing dramatically as humanity was propelled by the steam age into modernity. The technological revolution that began with the industrial revolution and has culminated in the digital revolution is – like the whole history of homo sapiens – but a flash of lightning in terms of the long night sky of humanity.

The pace of acceleration since the industrial revolution seems exponential. Within 300 years we’ve had to adapt to habitats, practices and amenities that bear no resemblance to what our ancestors experienced for thousands of years. In this time, the world has been dominated by humanism. In years to come, natural selection is likely to cede to ‘artificial intelligence’ and scientific intervention. The seeming mastery of man over the planet in the age of the so-called Anthropocene means that the world is likely to change beyond recognition in this century. The world we now know and understand might well no longer exist in the near future. Although the speed of change fuelled by science and technology is remarkable, it does not seem this way since major structural changes tends to happen imperceptibly, quickly becoming the norm. We have entered a period of instability where a lot of the assumptions and certainties we held to be true are being thrown in the air. Expectations and predictions, politically and otherwise, are constantly turned on their heads.

Geopolitically, the Riga Biennial could be thought of in terms of a regional equation of Baltic–Nordic–Post-Soviet dynamics, which are worth exploring further. If one draws a line vertically through Latvia, one would be looking at a map where the new tensions of the Eurasian East–West divide are being played out, with Russia acting as a geopolitical game-changer at the beginning of the second post-Soviet generation. The historical entanglements and conflicts between Latvia and Sweden, Russia, Poland and Germany cannot also be ignored. The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in what has been called a ‘new regional geography’, especially in the Baltics, which merits further consideration. The region has become the locus of political and economic restructuring, identity renegotiation, and global reintegration. 

The recent existential and identity crisis that Europe is facing, and the new geopolitical realities at its Eastern borders, are a testimony to the fact that the consolidation of the ‘post-historical world’ of liberal democracies is not a given, and that this postwar phenomenon is actually an exception if one looks outside the Western world. At the moment, Europe is struggling to hold on to ideas of transnationalism whilst nationalism and exclusionary identity politics – rooted in specific place and space – are returning with a vengeance. Rising economic inequality has started to shake the foundations of globalization. As Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi has pointed out:

“With the dissolving of the internationalist vision, everybody belongs to a clan – ethnic or virtual – and everybody is preparing to protect themselves against the coming invasion. After the abandonment of the universalist horizon of enlightened modernity, conflicting subjectivities are now kept together by a faith in belonging”.

2016, the year the Riga Biennial was founded, was called ‘the year of the political earthquake’; this may be an overstatement but what is clear is that we are on the cusp of a new world order. As far as Europe is concerned, Timothy Garton Ash called this year ‘1989 in reverse’. The election of President Trump, Brexit, the resurrection of nationalism and other totally unexpected radical developments, resulted in a form of ‘psychopolitics’ to borrow a term from Peter Sloterdijk. Philosopher Lieven de Cauter calls this, more poetically, ‘political melancholy’.

The world is facing major challenges for which – despite the unprecedented knowledge and information we have at our disposal – we are unprepared. There is climate change; the transition from a material-based to knowledge-based economy and ‘cognitive’ capitalism; increasing automation which will make humans redundant and transform the labour market; rapidly changing demographics; and finally ideas of ‘transhumanism’ – the belief that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations by means of science and technology; the latter might now seem farfetched, but in the future could easily become reality considering the rapid development in fields of genetic engineering, medicine, bio- and nanotechnology.

As Yuval Noah Harari has pointed out in his book Homo Deus for thousands of years history was full of technological, economic, social and political upheavals. Yet one thing remained constant: humanity itself’. This fact no longer seems to continue to be a given. As he points out, “In the 21st Century, the [...] big project of humankind will be to acquire for us divine powers of creation and destruction and upgrade Homo Sapiens into Homo Deus”. This thought is daunting. The fact that ‘we are rushing so fast into the great unknown’ has engendered anxiety, insecurity and a feeling of disconnect from our senses and emotions. This is different from the anxiety and insecurity of our parents and grandparents who experienced war and want as well as their fair share of the full shock of modernity; they had to activate survival modes in order to get by. What we in the constantly networked, overworked, over-stimulated world are experiencing on a daily basis seems normal, and – by comparison – we are also more privileged. But at the same time we are less able to make sense of the present while certainly lacking the survival skills of our predecessors. It feels as if humanity as a whole is on automatic pilot, without pausing to think about the cause of our actions.

Whereas many biennials and large-scale exhibitions recently have been quite retrospective – anachronistic, even – looking to the past and harking back to lost political and social utopias, the 1st edition of the Riga Biennial will set its eyes firmly on the present and the near future of the human condition as we approach the second quarter of the twenty first century. It will explore the shifts that have been taking place in the region but will also contextualise these into a broader picture, as the world is now decidedly interconnected. The biennial will be regional in its geopolitical focus but global in its examination of the issues that concern us all. From the personal to the political and social, to the philosophical and the existential, the Biennial will probe how contemporary artists are responding to some of the major challenges of the day, how they register change, and how they imagine the future. Riga seems to be the perfect place to do this, as a place that has often experienced pivotal change. While now part of Europe and having experienced the transition to capitalism, following Soviet occupation, the city maintains its own rhythm and identity and is far from being or becoming yet another high performance metropolitan hub. It maintains a human scale and livable pace, and its inhabitants – like most Latvians – have a close relationship with nature. Riga’s atmosphere as well as history allows us to re-focus on important values such as slowness, de-acceleration, and pausing to reflect upon and understand our changing present as well as consider alternative ways of being and acting. The biennial will highlight artists from the Baltic and Nordic region as well as include international artists who will reflect on the multiple parameters of change, taking the temperature on the human condition at this moment. The exhibition will focus on several pressing issues, from the ‘great acceleration’ most of us experience today in urban centres and mega-cities, the transformation of social life and work, the end of privacy and ‘post-truth’, to the impact of rapid advancements in science and technology and the negotiation of constant crises – of ecology, capitalism, democracy. Many of these changes have radically altered the way we experience the world and have undermined - or overridden - all of our senses except vision. A part of the exhibition will also thus refocus on the sensorium - the sum of the human organism’s perceptive tools - creating moments that trigger the senses that have been marginalised, allowing for a much-needed deceleration of perception. The 1st Riga Biennial aims to paint a political, but also personal and existential, portrait of the unprecedented times we live in and to relate the tectonic shifts that are taking place in the public as well as private realm today. Whether one defines the current era as the ‘Anthropocene’, the ‘Capitalocene’ or the ‘Chthulucene’, it is certain that we have entered an era of epochal shifts. This is at once both exciting and frightening. The artists in the Riga Biennial will look into these changes and how we adapt to them, summoning ghosts from the future and recalling prophets from the past.

Katerina Gregos, 
Chief curator, 1st Riga Biennial


Bibliography

Gleick, James, Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, Pantheon, New York, 1999
Yurchak, Alexei, Everything was Forever Until it was No More, Princeton University Press, 2006
Berardi, Franco ‘Bifo’, The Coming ’17, E-flux Journal #78 - December 2016
Aitenhead, Decca, “So long, 2016: the year of the political earthquake”
Garton Ash, Timothy, “Is Europe Disintegrating?”
New York Review of Books, January 19, 2017
Elden, Stuart (Ed.), Sloterdijk Now, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2012
De Cauter, Lieven, “Small Anatomy of Political Melancholy”
Harari, Yuval Noah, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow,
Penguin, 2016
Haraway, Donna,  “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble”, in Anthropocene: Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet

Artists

 

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) is pleased to announce the artists who will participate in the first edition.

A total of 99 artists including 10 collectives will be participating in the biennial.

Almost a third of the participating artists are from the Baltic countries, while almost 70% of the total are from the Baltic region (including Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Germany). The rest of the artists come from countries as diverse as Korea, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, South Africa, the United States and Canada, as well as Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

During the biennial 113 works - including 49 new commissions - will be shown in nine different venues across Riga. There will also be 10 public sculptures and site-specific interventions in various locations around the city. Many of the participating artists will present more than one work, appearing in several of the venues, thus providing an opportunity for visitors to gain a more in-depth insight into their practice.

The artists participating in the public program and making performances will be announced at later date.

Participating artists:

·       Agency of Singular Investigations* (Stanislav Shuripa, Anna Titova), Russia (founded 2014)

·       Alexis Blake, USA/Netherlands (b.1981)

·       Alexis Destoop, Belgium/Australia (b.1971)

·       Adrián Villar Rojas, Argentina (b.1980)

·       Andrejs Strokins*, Latvia (b.1984) 

·       Andris Eglītis*, Latvia (b.1981)

·       Annaïk-Lou Pitteloud, Switzerland/Belgium (b.1980) 

·       Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Korea/Germany (b.1978) 

·       Ariane Loze*, Belgium (b.1988) 

·       Aslan Gaisumov, Chechnya, Russia (b.1991)

·       Augustas Serapinas*, Lithuania (b.1990) 

·       Clemens von Wedemeyer*, Germany (b.1974) 

·       Danilo Correale, Italy/USA (b.1982)

·       Diana Lelonek, Poland (b.1988) 

·       Diāna Tamane*, Latvia/Belgium (b.1986)

·       Eli Cortiñas, Spain/Germany (b.1979)

·       Emilija Škarnulytė, Lithuania/Germany (b.1987) 

·       Erik Kessels*, Netherlands (b.1966)

·       Ēriks Apaļais, Latvia (b.1981)

·       Eve Kiiler, Estonia (b.1960) 

·       Femke Herregraven*, Netherlands (b.1982) 

·       Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Spain (b.1970)

·       Han Hoogerbrugge, Netherlands (b.1963)

·       Hannah Anbert*, Denmark (b.1984) 

·       Hans Rosenström*, Finland (b.1978) 

·       Henrike Naumann*, Germany (b.1984)

·       IC-98, Finland (founded 1998)

·       Ieva Balode, Latvia (b.1987) 

·       Ieva Epnere*, Latvia (b.1977) 

·       Indrė Šerpytytė*, Lithuania/UK (b.1983) 

·       Ivar Veermäe, Estonia/Germany (b.1982) 

·       Jacob Kirkegaard, Denmark (b.1975) 

·       James Beckett, Zimbabwe/Netherlands (b.1977)

·       Jani Ruscica, Finland (b.1978) 

·       Johanna Gustafsson-Fürst, Sweden (b.1973)

·       Johannes Heldén, Sweden (b.1978) & Håkan Jonson, Sweden (b.1978)

·       Jonas Mekas, Lithuania/USA (b.1922) 

·       Julian Charrière, Switzerland/ Germany (b.1987) 

·       Julian Rosefeldt, Germany (b.1965)

·       Julijonas Urbonas, Lithuania (b.1981) 

·       Karel Koplimets*, Estonia (b.1986) 

·       Katarzyna Przezwańska, Poland (b.1984)

·       Katrīna Neiburga*, Latvia (b.1978)

·       Kerstin Hamilton*, Sweden (b.1978) 

·       Kristaps Epners*, Latvia (b.1976)

·       Kustaa Saksi, Netherlands (b.1975) 

·       Liina Siib*, Estonia (b.1963) 

·       Lynn Hershman-Leeson, USA (b.1941) 

·       Maarten Vanden Eynde*, Belgium (b.1977) 

·       Marco Montiel-Soto, Venezuela/Germany (b.1976) 

·       Marge Monko*, Estonia (b.1976) 

·       Maria Kapajeva, Estonia (b.1976)

·       Marina Pinsky*, Russia/Belgium (b.1986)

·       Marisa Benjamim, Portugal/Germany (b.1981) 

·       Mark Dion*, USA (b.1961)

·       Maryam Jafri, Pakistan/USA (b.1972)

·       Melanie Bonajo, Netherlands, (b.1978) 

·       Michael Landy*, UK (b.1963) 

·       Michael Sailstorfer*, Germany (b.1979) 

·       Minna Rainio & Mark Roberts, Finland/UK (b.1974, b.1970)

·       Nabil Boutros, Egypt/France (1954)

·       Nedko Solakov*, Bulgaria (b.1957)

·       Nicolas Kozakis, Greece/Belgium (b.1967) & Raoul Vaneigem, Belgium (b.1934)

·       Nikos Navridis*, Greece (b.1958) 

·       Oswaldo Maciá*, Colombia/UK (b.1960)

·       Orbita, Latvia (founded 1999)

·       Paulis Liepa*, Latvia (b.1978) 

·       Petra Bauer, Sweden (b.1970) & Rebecka Katz-Thor*, Sweden (b.1982) 

·       Robert Kuśmirowski*, Poland (b.1973) 

·       Sandra Kosorotova*, Estonia (b.1984) 

·       Sasha Huber, Switzerland/Finland (b.1975) & Petri Saarikko*, Finland (b.1973)

·       Saskia Holmkvist*, Sweden (b.1971) 

·       Sissel Tolaas*, Norway/Germany (b.1963)

·       Sputnik photos*, Poland/Slovakia/Belarus (founded 2006 in Poland)

·       Stelios Faitakis*, Greece (b.1976)

·       Stine-Marie Jacobsen*, Denmark (b. 1977) 

·       Sven Johne, Germany (b.1976) 

·       Taus Makhacheva*, Dagestan, Russia (b.1983) 

·       Teemu Korpela*, Finland (b.1980)

·       Tilman Wendland*, Germany (b.1969)

·       Tobias Zielony*, Germany (b.1973)

·       Trevor Paglen, USA (b.1974) 

·       Valio Tchenkov*, Bulgaria/Germany (b.1966)

·       Vladimir Svetlov, Latvia (b.1973) 

·       Viron Erol Vert*, Turkey/Germany (b.1975)

·       Jevgeni Zolotko*, Estonia (b.1983)

·       Žilvinas Landzbergas*, Lithuania (b.1979)

*An asterisk denotes a new commission


Venues

 

The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) is pleased to announce the nine main venues, which will host the inaugural edition of the biennial and its related public programme and events. The majority of these spaces are within 20 minutes walking distance of each other, creating a sustainable parcours and allowing visitors the time to experience the exhibition and the artists, as well as to discover the city. 

The selected venues reflect Riga’s diverse cultural and architectural history: from medieval and 19th century traditional wooden buildings and pre-war Art Nouveau; to Soviet modernism and impressive industrial architecture.  The spaces not only serve as an aesthetically captivating frame for the concept of the biennial and its artworks but are also an integral part of the broader cultural and historical narrative of the city of Riga and the wider Baltic region. 

The Former Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia

This former biological faculty, built in 1898 by architect Johanness Kohs in the Neo-Renaissance style, will serve as the primary venue for RIBOCA1. Located in the centre of Riga, between the Old Riga and Art Nouveau districts, it is an architectural ensemble developed in the second half of the 19th century, following the taking down of the walls of the old town. It was one of the USSR’s premier research institutes and housed laboratories for chemistry, physics, mineralogy, geology, zoology and botany. Three of these laboratories have been turned into museums and will be used by the biennial. The venue will also host a part of the biennial’s public programme, with talks, lectures and performances by artists, cultural practitioners, and leading international thinkers. 

Zuzeum

Zuzeum is an art centre founded by the Zuzans family, prominent patrons and art collectors in Latvia. A former cork factory, designed and engineered in 1910 by Edmund von Trompovskis, the building is located in Riga’s historical centre, the yellow brick building is a distinguished example of the industrial architecture of the time, and is UNESCO protected territory.

Andrejsala

Located within the former territory of an industrial port, next to the city centre, the Andrejsala area is evolving into an urban culture and art district. RIBOCA1 will utilise a boat as a distinctive floating venue, as well as warehouse spaces in the surrounding area as outdoor settings for large-scale, site-specific installations. 

Residence of Kristaps Morbergs

The apartment of Kristaps Morbergs (1844-1928), one of the most notable Latvian contractors and patrons of the early twentieth century, will also function as a venue. Located centrally, on the Riga Boulevard circle and offering a direct view onto Freedom Monument Square - one of Riga’s most iconic and historically significant locations - the apartment still maintains its pre-war interiors with authentic parquet floor, ceiling ornaments, stained glass windows, a tile furnace and the first shower cabin in Riga with polychrome-glazed tiles. Morbergs’ aim was to help his nation strive mentally and ethically, thus he bestowed all his property, including this apartment, to the University of Latvia following his death. 

The Former Bolshevichka Textile Factory

Situated a short distance from Riga’s city centre is the former textile factory Bolshevichka – a complex of industrial buildings. Opened in 1913, the factory was built as a high-quality footwear manufacturer using leather from American bison. During World War I the factory was turned into a military hospital and workshops, producing goods for the Front. Later in 1941, it became a spinning mill and weaving workshop and was renamed ‘Bolshevichka’, only to cease existence in the 1990s when production came to a standstill and the building was left empty. During the biennial, the factory’s spacious former canteen will be brought back to life as an exhibition space. 

Artist's Studio

The impressive studio space of the famous Latvian artist Andris Eglītis is located ten minutes from the center of Riga, on the territory of the former "Bolshevichka" textile factory - the impressive size of the complex of industrial buildings of the early twentieth century. A spacious hangar serves as a workshop artist, as well as a venue for exhibitions and events.

Art Station Dubulti

Designed by Igors Javeins, the architect of more than a hundred train stations around the USSR, and built in 1977, Dubulti train station is a distinct example of Soviet modernist architecture. Located in the sea resort city of Jurmala, a short drive from Riga, Uniquely, Dubulti is simultaneously an active exhibition space (founded in 2015 by Inga Steimane, the curator of the Latvian national pavilion at 57th Venice Biennale) and a functioning train station; The works shown in this venue will make use not only of the exhibition space but also the surrounding woodland and beach. 

Sporta2 square

Sporta2 square is turning into a promising art, technology and business quarter - a new district of Contemporary Riga. The territory that once housed "Laima" sweets factory now hosts kim? Contemporary Art Centre, start-up community, co-working spaces, creative studios and also one of the venues of the Biennial. 

Team

Anastasia Blokhina
Executive Director, RIBOCA

Anastasia Blokhina studied Journalism and Communication at St. Petersburg State University and graduated with honours.  She is an experienced cultural producer known for her work delivering large-scale visual arts projects across the world, within the museum, commercial and not-for-profit sectors. 

From 2011-2014 she was Director of External Communications at Erarta Museum and Galleries of Contemporary Art, the biggest contemporary art museum in Russia, with an outreach of galleries in different cities – Saint Petersburg, New York, London, Zurich and Hong Kong. At Erarta, she was involved in the development of the whole organization from both the cultural and business side. From 2014-2016, Anastasia was Director of YAY Gallery in Baku, Azerbaijan, part of the Yarat foundation. While in this role she worked on various local and international projects and organized exhibitions in New Delhi, India; Rome, Italy; Moscow and Perm, Russia; Dubai and Sharjah, UAE; and Paris, France. She worked with venues such as the Old Sorting Office and organisations such as the Louise Blouin Foundation in London, UK, and the Leila Heller gallery in New York, USA. Anastasia was also involved in Yarat’s project The Union of Fire and Water at Palazzo Barbaro at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Anastasia brings her international experience in project management, external relations and working with artists to the Riga Biennial, for which she is responsible for managing and directing all operations. She lives and works in Riga.

Olga Sivel
Biennial Coordinator, RIBOCA

Olga Sivel is an exhibition coordinator and independent curator, with experience in museum and gallery management as well as in art festival organisation and the production of art-related events.

Olga received her MA in Art History and Translation Studies (2010), and her MA in Linguistics (2015) from the St. Petersburg University of Humanities and Social Sciences. She began her career as the Head of Visitors’ Services at the Erarta Museum in St. Petersburg, the biggest contemporary art museum in Russia. Two years later she became the museum’s Global Galleries Coordinator, working across St. Petersburg, New York, London, Zurich and Hong Kong, to promote Russian contemporary art worldwide. She worked for Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg as part of the exhibition’s production team (2014). She was Curatorial Assistant and Head of Production for Francis Alÿs' first solo exhibition in Russia Beyond the River: Afghan Projects 2010-2014 at the Sergey Kuryokhin Center for Contemporary Art, St. Petersburg (2015). In 2016 she curated the Geek Picnic in St. Petersburg. She also served as development director at APERTO Reading Room project, a library and research platform for contemporary art (2015).


Inese Dabola
Head of Communications, RIBOCA

With more than ten years of experience in communication, Inese develops communication strategies and supervises their implementation on a daily basis. She is the founder and director of the Riga based communications agency HUGE.

Her extensive experience includes both commercial and non-commercial projects with BTL and ATL production. As a communication strategist, she has worked on campaigns and organised events for different local and global companies. She has also initiated social corporate projects that have gained wide recognition and have fostered the development of new social movement. Other past roles include working as the head of the Marketing and PR department of Diena - the biggest media group in Latvia. She has been awarded the Baltic PR Award and has also been the head of the Latvian Photo Award of the Year since 2010.


Pelham Communications

Pelham Communications is an international visual arts agency delivering strategic brand development, media relations and digital development to key cultural organisations.

Based out of London and New York, Pelham have over twenty years’ experience in cultural communications, gaining specialist knowledge and valuable experience working with leading international artists, biennials, art fairs, charities, museums and not-for-profit foundations, collectors, galleries and foundations. 

Pelham have a team dedicated to digital and social media made up of specialists who cover strategy, marketing and content generation. The team at Pelham Communications work with a range of 

clients based in the USA, China, Ghana, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Baltics, Russia, Belgium, Turkey, Ireland, Finland and the UK.

The team is highly skilled at managing international projects on the ground. Working on a range of large scale projects including EVA International: Ireland’s Biennial, five national pavilions and six collateral events at the last four editions of the Venice Biennale.

Accreditation

Press and professional preview
Thursday 31 May – Friday 1 June 2018

Public opening
Saturday 2 June – Sunday 28 October 2018

Accreditation for RIBOCA 1 is open to press and arts professionals until 1st of May 2018. Preview days will be Thursday May 31st and Friday June 1 2018. To register, please enter your details in the form to the right. 

If you have any problems with registration then please email accreditation@rigabiennial.com with your request.

For national and international press accreditation contact: 

Pelham Communications
Alice Haguenauer or Mary Doherty
alice@pelhamcommunications.com
mary@pelhamcommunications.com
+44 20 8969 3959

For local and regional press accreditation contact:
Inese Dabola, Head of Communications,
inese@rigabiennial.com
+371 29 147 722

News

 
Katrīna Neiburga Pickled Long Cucumbers 2017 Two Channel Video Colour Sound 1144 Courtesy Of The Artist

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) Announces Artists

Mar 23, 2018

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) is pleased to announce the artists who will participate in the first edition. 

A total of 99 artists including 10 collectives will be participating in the biennial.

Almost a third of the participating artists are from the Baltic countries, while almost 70% of the total are from the Baltic region (including Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Germany). The rest of the artists come from countries as diverse as Korea, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, South Africa, the United States and Canada, as well as Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

During the biennial 113 works - including 49 new commissions - will be shown in nine different venues across Riga. There will also be 10 public sculptures and site-specific interventions in various locations around the city. Many of the participating artists will present more than one work, appearing in several of the venues, thus providing an opportunity for visitors to gain a more in-depth insight into their practice.

The artists participating in the public program and making performances will be announced at later date.

See a list of the participating artists here


RIBOCA1 opens to the public: Saturday 2 June 2018

Press Preview and Vernissage: Wednesday 31 May – Saturday 2 June 2018


Image: Katrīna Neiburga Pickled long cucumbers, 2017

Two-channel video, colour, sound, 11’ 44’’

Courtesy of the artist

 
Снимок Экрана 2018 03 23 В 19 30 40

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art is looking for volunteers!

Mar 22, 2018

We are looking for people who will be available starting from May, 2018 in order to assist our team in the following:

- assistance to artists, journalists, art professionals

- assistance in organizing RIBOCA events

- meeting artists and guests of the Biennial (airport, stations, hotels, city navigation)
- working with kids
- exhibition assistance at our venues

RIBOCA is providing:
- flexible timetable
- food and drinks during working shifts
- free attendance to the Biennial events
- a possibility to participate in a large scale art project
- a possibility to spend time with artists and art professionals
- letters of recommendation and other documentation proving participation in the Biennial

If you
- are over 18 years old
- speak English (other languages are appreciated)
- are interested in the cultural events and contemporary art
- are reliable and responsible

 
Riboca Save The Date Art

Announced dates for RIBOCA1 - the first edition of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art

Jun 06, 2017

RIBOCA1 will open to the public in Riga, Latvia, on Saturday 2 June 2018 and will run through October Sunday, 28th. 

Press preview and vernissage events will be held from Thursday 31 May – Friday 1 June 2018

A major initiative of the Riga Biennial Foundation, RIBOCA1 is set to pave the way for new opportunities for leading international and regional artists to engage with the rich cultural, historical and socio-political context of the city and its surrounds. 

Chief Curator Katerina Gregos and Associate Curator Solvej Ovesen are already in the process of selecting artists from the Baltic region as well as further afield to be included in RIBOCA1 next year. A significant proportion of works on display will be newly commissioned.

The biennial will unfold in several locations throughout the city centre of Riga. 

Elizabetes iela 19 - 6
Riga, LV-1010
Latvia
hello@rigabiennial.com

Design: Wiedemann Lampe

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