CĒSIS ART FESTIVAL
Finding abstract emotions and amazing spaces where the past meets the future.
TEXT & IMAGES JEZGA STUDIO
Earlier this month we jumped on a train in Riga and took a ride out east, to visit the Cēsis Art Festival. For those with a chance to head down before mid-August, treat this as a reminder to get up and go! For those who can’t, we hope to introduce you to something new to put into your search bar.
The festival is a month-long celebration of the creative arts, consisting of two main exhibitions, as well as other cultural events, such as film screenings and concerts.
The first exhibition we visited was “CONNECTIONS” – consisting of works created by graduates of Art Academy of Latvia. The backdrop, the grounds of the 800-year-old Cēsis Castle, represents Latvia’s past and stands in stark contrast to the county's future as explored through the works in the show.
The exhibition space is dark (with the stone walls thankfully shading us from the summer heat), but bursting with the energy of the work. Alongside the usual fare, we found a wide selection of pop-culture references, trippy cats, architectural exploration, video installations, multimedia installations… If you can imagine an installation, they’ve probably already made it (a year ago).
On the other side of town, in the forthcoming Cēsis Contemporary Arts Centre, we visited the “CLOSE-UP” exhibition. The centre is a vast space with open areas of concrete, towering ceilings and large windows that make you want to move in immediately.
Filled with work by artists of Latvian descent and from various generations, this exhibition was funny, exciting, emotional and impressive. The artists featured all have links to New York – living and working in this global metropolis – and we are given the opportunity to explore their work to see if they maintain their sense of self in that chaotic place, or if national identity even matters in the globalised world of today.
With sculpture, installation and video there’s something to stimulate all tastes. The retrospective of Edvīns Strautmanis paintings was beautifully curated and presented, a clear highlight and worth a visit on its own.
Did we feel there was anything missing?
Postcards featuring works by the exhibited artists – like you’ll find at the large, commercial galleries – because we would probably buy every single one.