Completion of the project Extraordinary souls. Symbolism in the art of the Baltic countries of the presentation in Riga, we can say that we are also chosen in this respect in a sense, because as a united team we could draw attention to the Baltic countries culturally, politically and diplomatically, leaving Paris, Tallinn, Vilnius and Riga visitors indifferent. We made our contribution by opening the Baltic States to France and Europe, while proving to ourselves that we can implement powerful ideas together. Lorraine Dekara has repeatedly recalled that Europe is united not only in politics, but also in the creation of common cultural values. This conviction, which is one of the pillars of the Orsay Museum’s exhibition policy, has shown that the contribution of lesser known Baltic artists, alongside the works of famous masters, belongs to the common European cultural heritage. We can add that, guided by the sentiment towards “unaccustomed souls”, we have established our position as part of the common values of Europe. The specificity of the Baltic states is revealed in this cultural dialogue and now, as a unified geopolitical whole, they begin to realize the advantages of their community and the creative power of their soul, says the project. Extraordinary souls. Symbolism in the art of the Baltic countries Head, LNMM Head of the Latvian Department of Visual Arts Ginta Gerharde-Upeniece.
A more intimate character
“This exhibition will be 99 percent identical to the one seen at the Orsay Museum,” reveals Dace Lamberga, art curator at the National Museum of Latvia. At the moment, it is worth looking up again and read her research published in 2019 by the Neputns publishing house in the era of Latvian art symbolism. “For our part, we only added a few more works – one by Rosenthal and two by Pearl that could not be sent to Paris for conservation,” says Dace Lamberg.
When asked who surprised her when choosing the curator Rodolfo Rapetti and whether she tried to influence or at least direct her, the art historian replies: “Yes. I tried to dissuade a bit and propose it. I don’t know how many Estonians and Lithuanians were offering. I offer 150 She was as interesting as Emilija Gruzīte, I said we only have one job and we don’t know her at all, and she is not very professional either, but Gruzīte is the only woman in this series. then I saw that the collection offered by Lithuanians and Estonians is narrower. However, we have much more to do. We didn’t have to convince Rapeti. I showed him Vidberg’s very early drawings, he said yes, he needs them.
Both Dace Lamberga and Aija Brasliņa, head of the Collections and Research Department of the LNMM, emphasize that the exhibition reveals more of the “French view” and that the symbolism it represents is more intimate. “The German is a stranger to them, they are against it,” says Dace Lamberg. For example, works by Janis Rozentalds have not been selected Black snake flour edge behind Temptationavoiding the scenes of gloomy temptation and eroticism associated with the Swiss master of symbolism Arnold Becquin. Dace Lamberga recalls that the French curator was rather excited about the rush presented by Adam Alder in which the devil chases a rabbit. “The Latvian devil is such a madman, he is not Satan. You can wrap it around your finger, ”emphasizes Dace Lamberg. In turn, Estonian artists are influenced by their epic Kalevdel.
“At the conference accompanying the Kumu exhibition, I prepared a report on Rozentāls Arcadia. Of course, at the turn of the century, they all headed for Paris. Our symbolism meets various influences from the time of St. Petersburg Mir Iskusstva, non-academic life in contemporary art that was available in Saint Petersburg, of course in the Nordic and Finnish direction, also Čurļonis as an influential person at that time. The influence of German art is historically strong in Riga, the main metropolis of Baltic art. Both when it comes to the friendship of Rosenthal and Borchert, both in terms of art magazines and the orientation towards art centers in Berlin, especially in Munich. This is something the French curator did not seem to stand out so much, “says Aija Brasliņa.” In her selection, the works associated with symbolism remained in our own exhibition. Upstairs there are works by Rozentāls and Valters who might as well have expanded this exhibition. ‘
As Dace Lamberga writes in his book, the people of Riga had the opportunity to see 38 works by Beklin in 1903, although Rozentāls regretted that “many paintings, which the great master would never have allowed during his lifetime to be exhibited: either from the corners of the workshop failed attempts or unfinished works of an earlier youth, or again things that, by some whim or temperament, have little value as works of art in themselves “Art observer, 1903).
“It is very nice to meet a European art researcher who has his own opinion. It also makes us stronger. What did not seem important to Mr Rapetti made me think as a researcher, ”summarizes her fruitful experiences with the French curator Aija Brasliņa. Its invisible curtains are exposed Extraordinary souls. Symbolism in the art of the Baltic countries Accompanying texts for the works of Rozentāls and Pēteris Krastiņš are being prepared. “I was also honored to briefly describe the title work of the exhibition – a painting by Johann Walter Farmer girl. The fact that this girl not only holds the image of this exhibition not only in the Baltic States but also in Europe is excited, “the artist is very emotional. All researchers without exaggeration call the exhibition of Baltic symbols at the Orsay Museum a miracle.
Curator Rodolfo Rapetti, who is currently the director of the national castles and museums of Compiegne and Blancankour, continues to work on the project remotely, is interested in creating the exhibition and approves changes as necessary.
Value in different
In 2018, when three Baltic writers – Nora Iksten, Kristina Sabaļauskaite and Mihkel Mut – talked as part of the London Book Market – British Library program, the Lithuanian writer clearly got rid of the presumption that the discussion leader was strongly influenced by folklore themes. Sabaļauskaite said she thought the Baltic community was not as big as it was said.
I asked art scientists to what extent we could talk about the common Baltic soul in the context of visual art and this exhibition, or whether the Baltic countries were a geopolitical concept and a more convenient marketing result.
“In the Soviet times, there were joint exhibitions of Baltic artists, a painting triennial in Vilnius, Tallinn – prints, posters in Riga. Back then, there was a sense of community and it was much appreciated. This exhibition of symbols shows that we are very different. “All the artists were young, but at a high professional level. Exhibitions were held in Riga with the participation of artists from Lithuania and Estonia. There were also many German artists in Riga. “We share the language with Lithuanians, but history and religion are completely different. The Finns wrote that the symbolism is different in Lutheran countries. In Catholic countries, it is more pompous, expressive and emotional. What we have in common with Estonians is the lack of passion. Estonians are Finno-Ugric and have a different mentality Good that we are all different Also color perception Latvians have a very subtle color perception from ethnography Estonians are more reserved Although their national costumes also have very colorful things The flag of Estonia and Lithuania shows their color perception. They have colors in national costumes that may not be very close to us. I think that’s the value of not being similar, we’re different. “
Slightly sloping like in a forest
The artist ‘Ineta Sipunova’ provides ‘Riga Accent’ for the exhibition at the Latvian National Art Museum, still working with Flavio Bonučelli, designer and set designer of the Orsay Museum exhibition. The core of the French version was kept, the most important quotes from the design were added, but local moods and shades were added. The same happened at the National Art Gallery of the Lithuanian National Art Museum in Vilnius and at the Estonian Art Museum. Kumu In Tallinn.
When asked if the period of symbolism resonates in it, Ineta Sipunova replies: “Yes, of course. This is a very interesting period with a hint of transcendence, today when there is a pandemic. ‘ According to her, modern man has forgotten to feel the greatness of nature and to be aware of his loneliness. Much of the picture is about this. Working with Bonuchelli and Rapette, the artist experienced interesting “moments of cultural synergy, showing how they see our information field”. Ineta Sipunova points out that there are no works on the outer wall, everything is exposed only on the sliding walls. “They wanted to create even more tension inside. There is so much work that I had to touch the great walls ”- the artist reveals the details of her work. Seeing Rosenthal, Rapetti said, “he’s just brilliant.” “These pearls were taken to France and slowly put in order in space,” recalls the history of the Ineta Siponova exhibition.
“For the Baltic countries, the cool space with mythology has been quite sincerely preserved and passed through Christianity, the Soviet Union, various systems, the inner root has been preserved. It has already been destroyed by the French since the bourgeois revolution. Everything has been wiped out, “They are missing that human code. However, in order to live, people need a balance between rationality and mythology. Feelings of God and materiality. It was a great discovery for them. ” A separate space at the exhibition in Riga was created by Mikalojus Konstantins Čurļonis, whose music will also surround the blue of the universe.
The yellow display case in the tone of ripe cereals attracts attention. “This is a classic turn-of-the-century color scheme that might not be so used in Latvia. Saturated colors from the turn of the century are a normal part of the interior. If the exhibition was created only by the Latvian group, it would certainly only be gray. Our perception always comes from nature, the Latvian landscape It cannot be denied that it is a subtle sense of color, Flavio himself is Italian and there is no doubt that the sunny tone of Italy is felt, ”explains Ineta Sipunova, emphasizing another important nuance of the exhibition’s scenery. “Latvians and Lithuanians have a strong sense of rhythm. Here too – everything seems to be in the waist, but not. A bit sloping like in a forest. Conceptual rhythms give a sense of order.
Therefore, Ineta Sipunova decided that it is important to “plant” a birch triangle at the beginning of the exhibition. “To put down roots, show us how we form an energetic triangle. When the viewer comes to take him out of the daily race. You get a little rhythmic touch of nature and then you slowly come down to the show. ” Birch trees come from the Bolderāja fortress for summer cleaning. The artist hopes that the interactivity of birch trees will delight the youngest visitors to the exhibition.
Aija Brasliņa says that at the same time as the exhibition, the publishing house Neputns he has also published an extensive catalog in Latvian and English. An international scientific conference is planned in parallel, if the epidemiological situation allows it Symbolism in Europe and the identity of the Baltic nations. Lecturers from France and the Baltic States, who took part in the development of the exhibition concept and catalog, as well as in various professional discussions preparing the scientific basis of the project, are invited to participate.
A rich program of accompanying events is also planned.