NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

To mark 15 years since its founding, Kim? Contemporary Art Centre announces an annual contemporary art festival in Riga. Since starting its public activities in 2009, Kim? has retained the status of a key platform in the region’s art scene, consistently providing rigorous contributions to contemporary art programming. As it celebrates its anniversary and ponders its future directions, Kim? is expanding its physical and programmatic ambition by presenting its soon-to-be new premises – a historic building awaiting renovation and the adjacent inner courtyard at Hanzas iela 22, marking an exciting step not only for the institution but for Latvia’s art scene and the Baltic art scene in general.

Around the time Kim? opened its doors next to Riga Central Market in its first location in Spīķeri, which was then a creative quarter, the American art historian David Joselit wrote his seminal essay “Institutional Responsibility: The Short Life of Orchard”, devoted to the at that time recently closed artist-run gallery Orchard, from the inception of what was meant to be a three-year project. Although referring to an art unit operating under significantly different circumstances and formation, the author observed the reality of “institutional critique” and the complexities surrounding the existence of, and discussions and decisions within and about art space(s) and art infrastructure at large, which are still no less relevant in the here and now. In the context of EDEN and particularly the question contained in the name of Kim? (which stands for “Kas ir māksla?” – “What is Art?” in Latvian), the significance of this responsibility is directly linked to the hundreds of individuals without whose presence and guidance our “institutional” or “architectonic” contours would not be secure and – in our case, more importantly – would not continue.

Conceptually, EDEN unfolds as an exhibition/site/performance. Soaked in layers of history, the very act of attempting to enter this uninhabitable environment becomes a metaphor for artists-agents examining the mood and reverberations within the present social space. In constructing EDEN, one of the more obvious questions considered had to do with the fear of being expelled from it. But where there is doubt, a new opportunity appears to contest conventional visuality as a norm in producing an effect.

In dialogue with the participating artists, the thematic arc of EDEN is marked by a turn to the illusory tools of self-representation, reflections on contemporary society in its manifold manifestations, ruling ideologies, and public and private space. It unfolds via a sensory experience brought out by the merging of two earlier installations – Bed-Room-Bed and Impulse – inspired by the streets surrounding the venue (Evita Vasiļjeva), a performative Cabinet of Eden which receives and transmits radio signals (Tīrkultūra), a premiere of a video work documenting four protagonists engaged in interdependent, movement-based choreography (Viktor Timofeev), an audiovisual installation as a transposition of humanity’s early architectonic forms, oscillating between primal beginnings and a constantly re-emerging digital ecosphere and its auditory memories (Jonas Wendelin, Evita Manji), a large-format silent vanitas of contemporary society placed within the interior of the building (Santa France), a site-specific set of sculptural units that stems from an interest in optimising subordination to all and resulting in an inwardly growing complexity (Jānis Dzirnieks), a meticulously constructed computer animation that follows the restless activities of a not-quite-human protagonist and reflects on the illusions of image-making, society, ideology and its own “self” (Sanya Kantarovsky), a “ghostly” spatial arrangement reflecting on positive-negative spaces (Agate Tūna), a site-specific installation emphasising encounters with exhibition visitors’ frail memory and carefully sought out ambiguities and dailiness (Laura Kaminskaitė), a fragile witness to a protracted regional conflict expressing harsh sentiment (Nikita Kadan), and a rhythmic account of the spiritual implications of colonial plunder, fused with earth, sky, sea, myth and place (Sky Hopinka), as well as a constellation of deeply intimate collective energy and objects produced prior to and during the opening performance (YBDG); meanwhile a more traditional medium – small-format painting – is contributed by an artist (Kaspars Groševs) with his ongoing series about an old man who walked and walked and has by now already returned home, to EDEN. The exhibition experience is also complemented by a model of the forthcoming renovated site designed by the architecture office Vilnis Mičulis, which can be found by taking a walk through the exhibition space.

The title New Address: EDEN is a literary and imagined construction, which, from one side, indicates the life-cycle of an art institution changing addresses due to gentrification and other external considerations, perfecting, questioning and advancing itself in the process. At the same time, the name also includes a self-reference to a Kim? happening which took place back in 2010, when a group of artists and stage designers (among them participants in this year’s EDEN) used an abandoned, roofless warehouse overgrown with trees and bushes to set up EDEN, an improvised hotel that was easy to enter, but challenging to move around and visitors quickly sought the exit. A decade and some years and a half have gone by and we are back to this mantra, returning to it with a renewed sense of excitement and purpose.

Opening: 7 June 2024
Duration: 8 June–28 July 2024
Venue: Hanzas 22, Riga


Jānis Dzirnieks (LV), Santa France (LV), Kaspars Groševs (LV), Sky Hopinka (USA), Laura Kaminskaitė (LT), Sanya Kantarovsky (USA), Nikita Kadan (UA), Viktor Timofeev (USA/LV), Tīrkultūra group (Rolands Pēterkops, Emīls Jansons, Emīlija Didžus, Reinis Semēvics, Michael Holland, LV), Agate Tūna (LV), Evita Vasiļjeva (LV/FR), Jonas Wendelin (DE) and Evita Manji (GR), Young Boy Dancing Group (YBDG).

Festival curators: Evita Goze, Žanete Liekīte, Zane Onckule
Festival director: Zane Čulkstēna
Festival design: Krišs Salmanis
Communication: Austra Stupele
Project management: Katrīna Jaugiete, Žanete Liekīte

Exhibition opening hours:

Wednesday–Friday 14.00–19.00
Saturday 12.00–19.00
Sunday 12.00–17.00
Closed on 22–23 June

Festival Patrons:
Novum Riga Charitable Foundation, Pillar