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NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The sixth summer season of Voronja Gallery is curated by two Riga-based curators and art critics Valts Miķelsons and Indrek Grigor, who will introduce to the gallery new-media artists from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. But the exhibition titled Wanderlust will not so much centre on media as on the ever-changing question of how and what people know about the world.

Miķelsons and Grigor continue the custom of colliding two opposing traditions that symbolically meet in Voronja, explain the gallery owners Kaili Kask and Raul Oreškin. On the one hand, the historical material heritage – the abandoned boat shed turned into a tourist season gallery. On the other hand, the virtual information surrounding us everywhere and in every moment, even in the most abandoned corners of the world. The synchronized omnipresence of virtual information makes the disintegration of the material history, which the Voronja boat shed is a symbol of, perceivable.

Post-structural philosophy, which arose in the second half of last century, doubted the understanding of a fixed meaning, of truth, of objectivity and finally of reality. Post-truth has today become a matter of fact, which, when used in newspapers, does not need to be accompanied by simplified descriptions of elaborate philosophical thought. “We all know that the news is being produced. The only question is, are the intentions of the producer malicious? Nobody seems to long for the real anymore,” Grigor explains the choice of the topic. “But this does not mean that people would at last be totally alienated from the material world. Quite the opposite: human entanglement with things is growing at a faster pace than ever. Virtuality is just a new form of material entanglement.”

The British archaeologist Ian Hodder describes the moments in human history when established human-thing entanglement relations undergo a change as creative disentanglement. But the structure does not stay loose and a new entanglement will set itself in place. This becomes evident in the way archaeologists describe the advancement of human sociocultural development through changes in material culture: Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age. “Today we speak of an Information Age, based on a similar model. Information, in comparison to stone or iron, might seem immaterial, but this is not a contradiction, rather a challenge to our current understanding of materiality,” adds Miķelsons.

The exhibition Wanderlust does not strive to change the world as we know it, but the curators are aware of art’s ability to model the unknown. To focus on new-media art that centres on information is a logical choice when speculating about the future.

Valts Mķelsons is a Latvian art critic and curator living in Riga. Since 2012, he has been working at the Mūkusala Art Salon in Riga, where he has curated the exhibitions SPAM (2015), Coal Debt (2016), Golden Years, Porno (2017), and National Pavilion (2018). In 2014, he became co-moderator of the reading group Evening School at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, as well as its 2016 outdoors counterpart Summer School. In 2014, he was one of the critics in the Artishok Biennial.

Indrek Grigor has studied semiotics and art history in Tartu University. He has worked as the photo- and video art custodian in Tartu Art Museum and from 2008-2018 was the gallery manager of Tartu Art House. Traveling between Riga and Estonia, Grigor currently is a freelance art critic writing for different publications in the Baltics.

Artists: Taavi Suisalu ja Timo Toots (Estonia), Krišs Salmanis ja Zane Zelmene (Latvia) ning Zilvinas Landzbergas ja Dainius Liškevičius (Lithuania).

Gallery name: Voronja Gallery

Address: Kesk 27, Varnja küla, Tartumaa

Opening hours: Wed-Sun 12:00 - 18:00

Open: 16.06.2019 - 25.08.2019