We meet the curator behind “Boredom / Long Time” - A cycle of exhibitions featuring four young artists and their interpretation of process, time and space.
IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTIST / JEZGA
temporary.lv exhibition “Garlaicība (Boredom) / Long Time” (2020)
Seaside, the sound of waves hitting the sand, a summer breeze, an empty space, time – long, short, dragging on, going too fast. What used to be the canteen of a fish processing factory will, housed a cycle of exhibitions over four weeks this summer. Sigita Sniegs, Paulīne Kalniņa, William Jones, and Linda Vilka in collaboration with curator Tīna Pētersone each presented their own interpretation of the theme “Garlaicība (Boredom) / Long Time”.
The first cycle of exhibitions by the newly founded temporary.lv had a strong tie to its location, a micro-utopian environment in a state of transformation at the hands of each individual artist's process.
temporary.lv is a new experimental art gallery, founded by scenographer and visual artist Krišjānis Elviks, and curator Tīna Pētersone. Combining site-specific and interdisciplinary exhibitions (with an interactive and stimulating online platform) process becomes not only the means, but part of the actual result for us to devour. We are challenged in how we look at art – about time. We talk to curator and co-founder Tīna about the choice of theme, location, and what about the current global climate encouraged them to start something completely new.
OK, that might sound strange, but I have noticed that time passes fastest when I’m having my calm days; days when I’m just staying at home and hibernating. This paradox was especially evident during lockdown – at one point I realised I had lost a sense of time. I was just going with the flow, not realising that I’d spent the whole afternoon cooking my breakfast or had a 'short' 40-minute video call with a friend. Contrary, it passes slowest when the day is very packed, and I have loads to do. Therefore, I like to get up early and get straight to business, so it feels like I’ve squeezed in an extra day.
I noticed that locating the art space at a seaside village attracted a very peculiar audience. It was very liberating, because I didn’t know if our next visitor would be an elderly couple from the house next door, a group of Lithuanian tourists or a local art collector. The borders between different publics were blurred there, which is actually one of the reasons I curate — I aspire to create an accessible environment where there are no right or wrong opinions about how art should be experienced and interpreted, and where people are allowed not only to observe, but also interact with it.
I’m bored by how small it actually is. I’m bored of commercialising art and turning everything into merchandise. I’m bored with bold statements that don’t reach beyond their aesthetic value. In fact, I barely get bored, but there are things that I find dull. Like, a lack of diversity and insufficiency of thought pluralism. For me that’s a killer of creativity and artistic freedom, so I strive to attach an international dimension to everything I do.
In fact, from the very first moment I decided to switch my career from a safe and secure place to a much more uncertain and fleeting path (i.e. the field of art), everything has been so very temporary. My permanent state of existence is ‘temporary’. And I’m okay with it because I know it’s worth the sacrifice – I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.
I think I discovered her art on Instagram and couldn’t stop scrolling without whispering to myself, “Whoa, this is so good!” We mostly check social media when we’re bored, don’t we? But the reason I chose Linda is that I very much sympathise with her way of creating multiple narratives inspired by everyday peculiarities within a single piece of work, and that accumulation could be done only within a long time devoted to contemplation.
As soon as the work enters the space, I start to consider different ways of exhibiting it. In Linda’s case, I would say the exhibition was a tangible result of a collective decision. I prefer this way of working, because for me, the conversations and discussions that grow out of the collaborative process is the whole point of exhibition-making.
"Within this short period I enhanced the ability to follow inner sense, and, as soon as I started to acknowledge it, I discovered new patterns of thinking."
It was my first attempt to curate something independently in Latvia. I have had some small-scale exhibitions and projects alongside my master studies in London, but the audience was mostly people from familiar social circles, like local communities and Goldsmiths students. This project was much more challenging in terms of predicting the audience – who are the people that would come to some distant fisher village to see an exhibition? It turned out to be a much more attractive destination than expected.
What I found the most worthwhile were the discussions that emerged with visitors. The pace of life at the seaside is different, people go there to relax, and this mental repose is what characterised the atmosphere of the art space, initiating slow, unhurried conversations. Also, I realised that the most important thing is confidence – if you believe in the idea and you can substantiate it, you just have to push forward. I feel that within this short period I enhanced the ability to follow inner sense, and, as soon as I started to acknowledge it, I discovered new patterns of thinking. More precisely, it was always there, I just didn’t think it was worth listening to, mistakenly viewing intuition as a tool for personal (not professional) matters.
Like with most occupations in the arts, it is really hard to sustain yourself financially in the beginning. Sometimes dealing with the struggle that comes with pursuing an art career gets tough and then I have to remind myself why I am doing what I am doing. Since I can only speak from the perspective of an independent curator, I would say that the most challenging part is to accept the uncertainty that comes with such a flexible work pattern.