NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The Cupola Hall of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga will host Ieva Epnere’s exhibition “Circus Under the Cupola”.

Ieva Epnere is the winner of the Purvītis Prize 2019. Her exhibition, Circus Under the Cupola, is based on photographs of the Riga Circus made over the period of 2004–2008. The legendary Riga Circus was closed in 2016, Ieva Epnere’s series of photographs suddenly acquired a conclusion.

In 2019/2020, the artist had the opportunity to live and work in Berlin. Her book Rīgas cirks (Riga Circus) was developed un published during Ieva Epnere’s fellowship with the Artists-in-Berlin Programme of the DAAD (Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD*).

In her exhibition Circus Under the Cupola, Ieva Epnere imbues a documentary approach with metaphoric radiance. Personal experience led the artist to research cultural history and read literature about circus, uncovering the genre’s legacy and continuity. For centuries people have marvelled at tightrope walkers, jugglers, jokers, trapeze artists, at the intensity and endurance of their creative power, their total dedication to work. Comedians are part of the circus phenomenon.

In her new video piece, together with actress Guna Zariņa and artist Kirils Ēcis, Ieva Epnere reflects on creative personality’s space of freedom and existence. Historically, many artists have identified themselves with circus performers – people who live on the margins. The outward brilliance and magnificent spectacle may conceal melancholia and alienation. The video was produced at a time when all cultural venues were closed. The Cherry Orchard was sacrificed. We may recall, that French painter Henri Matisse, being bedridden, cut out bold collages of acrobats symbolising movement.

How to find orientation in an ambiguous situation? How to find a new language of expression and replenish creative energy? How to overcome uncertainty and one’s own physical limitations?

The exhibition presents photographs from the Riga Circus series, screenprints and a video.

Ieva Epnere’s book Rīgas cirks (Riga Circus), which includes texts by art historian Anita Vanaga (Latvia), writer Tom McCarthy (UK) and curator Zane Onckule (Latvia), and the exhibition Circus Under the Cupola will open simultaneously in the Cupola Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art.

* The Artists-in-Berlin Programme is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Senate of Berlin.



Ieva Epnere graduated from the Department of Visual Communication (2003) and Department of Textile Arts (2001) at the Art Academy of Latvia and post-graduate studies at HISK, Ghent (2012).

Most important personal exhibitions: On Water, Wind, and Faces of Stone (Fogo Island Gallery, Fogo Island, 2018), Hybrid Identities (HIT Gallery, Bratislava, 2018), Sea of Living Memories (Art in General, New York, 2016), Pyramiden and Other Stories (Zachęta Project Room, Warsaw, 2015), A No-Man’s Land, An Everyman’s Land (Kim? Contemporary Art Center, Riga, 2015), Waiting Room (Contretype, Brussels, 2015), Mindscapes (Kim? Contemporary Art Center, Riga, 2013).

Most important group exhibitions: And That Song Is Our Amulet (Galerie Wedding, Berlin, 2020), Alias: A Different Look at Aalst (Netwerk, Aalst, 2019), 12th Kaunas Biennial After Leaving/Before Arriving (Kaunas, 2019), Purvītis Prize 2019 (Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga, 2019), One Place After Another (Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moscow, 2018), Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More (Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA), 2018), How To Live Together (Kunsthalle Wien, 2017), 62. International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2016), Identity. Behind the Curtain of Uncertainty (National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kyiv, 2016), 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2015).



Līna Birzaka-Priekule, Exhibition Curator / Latvian National Museum of Art


Laura Dravniece, Curator of Education / Latvian National Museum of Art

Gallery name: Latvian National Museum of Art

Address: Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1, Riga

Opening hours: Tue-Thu 10:00 - 18:00, Fri 10:00 - 20:00, Sat-Sun 10:00 - 17:00

Open: 04.06.2021 - 01.08.2021