NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The first exhibition of the Riga Photography Biennial program NEXT 2023 (RPB - NEXT 2023), the solo show Soft Spot by Polish artist Michalina Kacperak, will be hosted at the exhibition hall Riga Art Space Intro Hall starting on April 28. The exhibition showcases the artist's personal experiences growing up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father. The opening of the show, along with the entire RPB – NEXT 2023 program, is scheduled for April 27 at 6 PM.

During the opening, a meeting with the artist and a guided tour of the exhibition will be held. Visitors will be able to view Soft Spot until June 18.

Every other year, as part of its NEXT program, Riga Photography Biennial showcases young and promising artists from the Baltic, Nordic, and other European countries who are just starting out in their creative careers. This year’s program delves into “awkward” topics. Biennial’s curators have curated eight thought-provoking exhibitions where, through challenges, the young artists seek answers to questions about identity formation.

In Soft Spot, Michalina Kacperak (1993) explores her personal experience as the oldest of four daughters of an alcoholic. She is drawing inspiration from her youngest sister, now 13-year old Zosia, who has created a safe world for herself in a menacing home. For years, she has covered the walls of her room with drawings, created colorful structures and filled it with dolls, figurines, toys and games, turning the room into a colorful shelter.

Through this room, Kacperak found a resemblance with her own experiences. Initially, she started documenting the space taking photographs for herself, with the intention of comforting her inner child. Later on, she began to create installations based on the original compositions. Soon Kacperak began to provoke various actions with her sister, resulting in a breakthrough – jointly produced portraits of their father. The exhibition showcases the captured photographs, Kacperak’s installations, as well as works created collaboratively with her sister.

Michalina Kacperak’s artistic practice engages both documentary and fine arts. She holds a master’s degree in philosophy and currently is a student at Film School in Lodz in the field of photography. In her work, she applies many imaging techniques, from digital through analogue photography to collages and using archives. The most important part of her work is devoted to personal, complex stories which bring up the themes related to childhood, memory, social exclusion and identity in the broad sense. So far, Kacperak has taken part in several group exhibitions in Poland and Lithuania, and she is the laureate of the 12th edition of Circulation(s) festival in Paris (2022). The project Soft spot has been published in OVER Journal (2022) and awarded first prize in the Bartur PhotoAward in the Ann Lesley Bar-Tur Student category (2022).

The exhibition is curated by the Latvian artist and curator, the head of Riga Photography Biennial Inga Brūvere, in collaboration with the Jednostka gallery and National Film School in Lodz in Poland.

Riga Photography Biennial program NEXT – 2023 will run from April 27 to July 23. Besides the Soft Spot, it will kick off with the solo exhibition of Latvian artist Adele Bea Cipste titled On Transitions: Impressions of Abu Dhabi at the LOOK gallery from April 29 to May 20. The program will continue in the first half of May at the Experimental Art Space Pilot of the Art Academy of Latvia and ISSP Gallery. Subsequently, exhibitions will also be opened at the Latvian Museum of Photography and the Gallery of Latvian Artist’s Union. In late May, the city will host a public exhibition of photo art by Ukrainian artist Elena Subach, titled Grandmothers on the Edge of Heaven, at 10 public transport stops from May 29 to June 11. Additionally, the annual publication of RPB will feature a special “pocket” format exhibition titled Safe Light, showcasing the works of nine Ukrainian artists. The edition will be available at the venues throughout the festival.Along the exhibitions, viewers are invited to participate in creative workshops for children and events dedicated to the development of the photography industry.

The RPB – NEXT 2023 program will span various exhibition halls and art galleries in Riga until July 23.

www.rpbiennial.com; www.makslastelpa.riga.lv