Exhibition “I Remember, Therefore I Am. Unwritten Stories: Women Artists’ Archives”, LATVIA

Latvian National Museum of Art
14.11.20 – 24.01.21


From 14 November 2020 to 24 January 2021, the exhibition “I Remember, Therefore I Am. Unwritten Stories: Women Artists’ Archives” organized by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art will be on display in the 4th floor exhibition halls of the Latvian National Museum of Art. The exhibition will bring to the fore different possibilities of interpreting art history through the experiences of women artists in the context of art, social and political events during the Soviet period.

An opinion that has been already long-established is that in writing world history, within the framework of the dominant patriarchal and heteronormative social structures women’s experiences have continuously been “omitted”. The current socio-political events on the global stage, especially as revealed by the pandemic, also point out a necessity to change familiar views on world order by shaping a more open, inclusive and equal society. Despite determined attempts to change prevailing views, there has been a continuous need to produce new knowledge that would emphasise the ignored stories. It also raises the question why do we continuously forget and marginalize the achievements of women?

By re-examining events in Latvia and Eastern Europe in the second half of the 20th century, which are marked by the Soviet period and its cultivated illusion of “gender equality”, the exhibition will offer opportunities for interpreting the recent past, by turning against the established hierarchies in shaping historical narratives. The exhibition will expand different artistic practices, facts, memories, human and aesthetic values, which can comment not only on the position and influence of women artists in the social and cultural scene, but can also reveal new stories of our shared history. The core of this exhibition is the artists Rita Einberga (1921–1979), Laima Eglīte (1945), Maija Eliase (1924–1991), Mudīte Gaiševska (1935), Ruta Kreica (1946), Rasa Kalniņa-Grīnberga (1936) and Olga Neimane-Kateņeva (1908–2001). Each of them represents different artistic strategies which are linked to the alternative culture and attempts of diversifying visual language, as well as to the range of creative interests within the official art scene. Whereas considering questions of feminism and gender in present-day context, original works specifically for the exhibition will be created by the artists Anni Puolakka (Finland) and Marta Trektere, Evita Goze, Rasa Jansone, Liliana Piskorska (Poland).

The exhibition project is a collective research initiative which links ten researchers, with the purpose of understanding the ways how and what we can learn if we unite our knowledge, abilities and skills, and thereby bringing to attention questions of solidarity from the historical and today’s perspective. What shared considerations or circumstances can encourage the process of working together? What are the different approaches to knowledge that we can gain about our past in this way?

The exhibition is organized and produced by Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA)

Curator: Andra Silapētere (LCCA)

Research group: Elīna Dzelzkalēja, Evita Goze, Rasa Jansone, Toms Ķencis, Ieva Laube, Ieva Melgalve, Justīne Savitska, Paula Stutiņa, Terēze Šulca, Iliana Veinberga.

Curator of the education programme: Māra Žeikare (LCCA)

Graphic design by: Evija Pintāne

Exhibition design by: Liene Mackus and Artūrs Arnis

Project Coordinators: Adele Bea Cipste, Margarita Ogoļceva (LCCA) and Ieva Kalnača (LNMA)

Head of Communication: Paula Jansone (LCCA), Gundega Turnele (LCCA)

The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, the State Culture Capital Foundation, FRAME Contemporary Art Finland, Society Integration Foundation.

Collaboration partners: Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga Porcelain Museum of the Association of Culture Institutions of Riga City Council, Jelgava History and Art Museum of Ģederts Eliass, Zuzeum Art Centre, Art Academy of Latvia, Latvian State Archive, The Latvian Department of the International Center of the Roerichs, Fundacija Arton (Warsaw), Centre for Contemporary Arts (Ljubljana) and Office for Photography (Zagreb).