For three years now the Riga Photography Biennial has been collaborating with the Lithuanian publisher NoRoutine Books to evaluate entries for the Seeking the Latest in Photography! award. An international jury of experts is charged with judging the submissions and selecting one young Baltic artist to receive the main prize, the opportunity to have their work exhibited in Riga, while NoRoutine Books also selects its favourite of the young contenders, giving them the opportunity to publish their own photobook.
This year, the publisher’s choice and decision-making strategy can for the first time also be surveyed in the format of an exhibition. The Culture Palace Ziemeļblāzma is showing the works of three artists selected by NoRoutine Books from the submissions to this year’s Riga Photography Biennial young artists’ competition, as well as the photobooks in which their works have been printed, processed and multiplied. Alongside publications from the Riga Photography Biennial competition winners, the exhibition also introduces some of the Lithuanian publisher’s other achievements in book art.
NoRoutine Books was established as an independent publisher by the Lithuanian artists Gytis Skudžinskas and Vilma Samulionyte in 2014. Their aim was to create unique art books – in print runs of no more than 99 copies – that would be individually perfected in the studio after printing. Books made by NoRoutine Books have been exhibited in various important art centres and exhibitions.
From all of the submissions to the Riga Photography Biennial’s Seeking the Latest in Photography! award in the last three years, the publisher has thus far selected Latvian artists three times. In 2016, their award went to Ieva Balode, whose series Invisible Images focused with a professional sensibility on a human, historical subject through the prism of her family`s personal memories. Commenting on their selection, NoRoutine Books explained: “Ieva Balode uses the medium of photography to realise her creative ideas, and the artist’s original approach presents her interpretation of memories, turning her works into something more than photography”.
In 2018, it was Madara Gritāne who earned the opportunity to realise her photographs in the format of a book. Her winning photo series archived and reflected philosophically on architectural implementations of the Latvian dream, the longing for one’;s own plot of land, in allotment gardens deep in rural Latgale. In the young artist’s work, NoRoutine Books saw the potential for an intriguing collaboration: “Madara Gritāne’s series Layers (2016–2017) is consistently and visually clear. We believe her works would successfully fit into an artistic book that would bring her vision and our ideas together into a shared project.”
In the 2019 competition, Reinis Lismanis was the publisher’s choice. His spatially expanded project Trial and Error was inspired by the ideas of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger. By taking a technological and analytic approach it was able to simultaneously reflect on the creative artistic process in general and the author’s relationship with the methods and framework determined by his medium of choice. Representatives of NoRoutine Books commented: “Reinis Lismanis’ works analyse the processes of photography and study its technical aspects. In terms of content, they are completely different from what comes to mind when hearing the word ‘photography’. His works function in the field of visual art and their abstract content allows them to be interpreted and perceived in different ways.”
Gallery name: Culture palace ‘Ziemeļblāzma’
Address: Ziemeļblāzmas Street 36, Riga
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 09:00 - 19:30
Open: 20.05.2019 - 28.07.2019