The second Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) has been announced. This major new biennial in Latvia lists participants for the event entitled ‘and suddenly it all blossoms’.
RIBOCA2 rails against cynicism and political despair, transforming fear into opportunity and peril into vitality
In a global context of ecological, economic and political upheavals, RIBOCA2 channels the notion of re-enchantment as both a frame for understanding the present and a mindset for developing desirable futures. Borrowing its title from the Latvian poet Māra Zālīte (b. 1952), the exhibition re-imagines ways of being human and explores other paths for making relationships. Offering alternatives to apocalyptic narratives, RIBOCA2 rails against cynicism and political despair, transforming fear into opportunity and peril into vitality.
The project draws its inspiration from the history of Riga, Latvia and the Baltic States, where “worlds have ended” many times since the 13th century, across a stream of occupations, wars and economic crises. Despite these traumas, human and non-human solidarities have been maintained for centuries, through written and oral poetry, acknowledgements of celestial rhythms and practices of healing. The title of the show also links to the Latvian tradition of the dainas, a poetic form of resilience. These short poems, primarily created by women, deal with themes central to the Biennial.
Reflecting on our collective inheritance and potential future harvests, RIBOCA2 aims to give attention and space to voices, gestures, rhythms and beings that have long been silenced. The exhibition extends the territory of art beyond inherited modernist categories, inviting creators from various fields beyond the art academies. and suddenly it all blossoms proposes to recalibrate perspectives, for the possibility of a collective metamorphosis and a chance to build at the end of a world.
RIBOCA2 will comprise of a minimum of 85% new commissions, produced in close relationship with local actors and communities. The Biennial brings together artists, creators and thinkers that mirror the enmeshment of local and global perspectives. True to its mission of promoting local and neighbouring art scenes, almost a third of the participating artists are from the Baltic countries, while almost 60% are from the Baltic region (including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia) in dialogue with individuals from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.
For its entire duration, the exhibition will be enriched by talks, workshops, events and performances imagined in collaboration with associate curator of the public programmes Sofia Lemos, with the participation of, amongst others, poet CAConrad, philosopher Emanuele Coccia, historian Lorraine Daston, philosopher Vinciane Despret, researcher Monica Gagliano, anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, philosopher Paul B. Preciado, anthropologist Tobias Rees, and sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos.
– Pawel Althamer *, Poland (b. 1967)
– Kristaps Ancāns *, Latvia (b. 1990)
– Alex Baczynski-Jenkins *, Poland and UK (b. 1987)
– Nina Beier *, Denmark (b. 1975)
– Oliver Beer, UK (b. 1985)
– Hicham Berrada *, France and Morocco (b. 1986)
– Dora Budor *, Croatia and USA (b. 1984)
– Eglė Budvytytė *, Lithuania (b. 1981)
– Valdis Celms *, Latvia (b. 1943)
– Emanuele Coccia, Italy (b. 1976)
– CAConrad, USA (b. 1966)
– Lorraine Daston, USA (b. 1951)
– Edith Dekyndt *, Belgium (b. 1960)
– Vinciane Despret, Belgium (b.1959)
– Erika Eiffel *, USA (b. 1972)
– Vija Eniņa *, Latvia (b. 1941)
– Miķelis Fišers *, Latvia (b. 1970)
– Heinz Frank *, Austria (b. 1939)
– Monica Gagliano, Australia
– Cyprien Gaillard *, France (b. 1980)
– Bendik Giske*, Norway (b. 1982)
– Honkasalo Niemi Virtanen *, Finland (Felicia Honkasalo (b.1986), Akuliina Niemi (b. 1987), Sinna Virtanen (b.1987)
– Katrin Hornek *, Austria (b. 1983)
– Pierre Huyghe, France (b. 1962)
– Marguerite Humeau, France (b. 1986)
– IevaKrish * (Krišjānis Sants, Latvia (b. 1989); Ieva Gaurilčikaitė, Lithuania (b. 1992)
– Mikhail Karikis, Greece (b. 1975)
– Agnese Krivade *, Latvia (b. 1981)
– Lina Lapelytė *, Lithuania (b. 1984)
– Hanne Lippard *, Norway (b. 1984)
– Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, USA (b. 1952)
– Mikhail Maksimov *, Russia (b. 1974)
– Mareunrol’s *, Latvia (Mārīte Mastiņa-Pēterkopa (b. 1982), Rolands Pēterkops (b. 1982)
– Berenice Olmedo *, Mexico (b. 1987)
– Dominika Olszowy *, Poland (b. 1988)
– Sarah Ortmeyer *, Germany (b. 1980)
– Philippe Petit, France (b. 1949)
– Bridget Polk *, USA (b. 1960)
– Paul B. Preciado, Spain (b. 1970)
– Tobias Rees, USA (b. 1973)
– Ugo Rondinone, Switzerland (b. 1964)
– Jaanus Samma *, Estonia (b. 1982)
– Tomás Saraceno *, Argentina and Italy (b. 1973)
– Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Portugal (b. 1940)
– Ashley Hans Scheirl *, Austria (b. 1956)
– Augustas Serapinas *, Lithuania (b. 1990)
– Marina Simakova, Institute of the Cosmos, Russia (b. 1985)
– Timur Si-Qin *, Germany (b. 1984)
– Nikolay Smirnov *, Russia (b. 1982)
– Anastasia Sosunova *, Lithuania (b. 1993)
– Daina Taimiņa *, Latvia (b. 1954)
– Anton Vidokle, Institute of the Cosmos, Russia and USA (b. 1965)
– Arseny Zhilyaev, Institute of the Cosmos, Russia (b. 1984)
*An asterisk denotes a new commission
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Notes to editors
ABOUT REBECCA LAMARCHE-VADEL
Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel is a French curator and writer, director of the Foundation Lafayette Anticipations and former curator at Palais de Tokyo (2012 – 2019). Her internationally acclaimed projects include the solo exhibitions of Tomás Saraceno, Tino Sehgal, Marguerite Humeau, Ed Atkins, David Douard, Helen Marten, François Curlet and Jon Rafman. ON AIR by Tomás Saraceno (2018-2019) spanned the entire 13000m2 of the Palais de Tokyo and became the most attended exhibition in its history, while the carte blanche to Tino Sehgal (2016) was the largest live-art show ever presented worldwide. In 2015 she curated the group show Le bord des mondes (At the edge of worlds), which focused on the limits of the territories of art after the writings of Marcel Duchamp.
Lamarche-Vadel has regularly collaborated with international institutions, such as the Château de Versailles with Voyage d’Hiver (co-curator, 2017), the 11th Bamako Biennale (curatorial advisory, 2017-2018), MoMA PS1 with the projects Truce (2013) and Bright Intervals (2014), the Stedelijk Museum and Trouw with Landscape (2013), and the 12th Biennale de Lyon with Unachieved Presents (Resonance, 2013). A graduate in History, Political Sciences and Art History at the Sorbonne, she regularly coordinates and participates in seminars, juries and talks worldwide, and her writings have appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Monopol, Mousse, Cura, and l’Officiel Art, amongst others.
The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) is an international biennial with a European focus and a strong regional profile, founded in 2016. Taking the rich history of Riga and the Baltic states as its underlying framework, the biennial highlights the artistic landscape of the wider region and creates opportunities for artists to enter into dialogue with the cultural, historical and socio-political context of the city and its geographic surrounds.
Taking into account criticisms of the proliferation of biennial culture, or ‘biennialisation’ as it has been called, RIBOCA aims to create a sustainable model based on best practices that prioritise artists, artistic production and the meticulous presentation and mediation of art. The Biennial is based on a working process that starts from the local, expanding to the national and the regional, and finally to the transnational. The Biennial aims to take root and make roots in the place where it is situated. Reflecting the Biennial’s global outlook and mission to increase artistic engagement between the Baltic region and the rest of the world, a significant proportion of the commissioned and selected artists either live, work or were born in the Baltic region, a territory which still remains relatively unexplored despite its prolific artistic production.
RIBOCA sees itself as a critical site of artistic experimentation and knowledge production, an activator of cooperation and exchange between local and regional actors and institutions, an instigator of generosity towards peers, and a barometer of current social, political and economic issues filtered through artistic practices.
The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) was founded as a major initiative of the Riga Biennial Foundation, its commissioning body. The Founder and Commissioner of the Riga Biennial Foundation, Agniya Mirgorodskaya, developed RIBOCA in order to set up a new global platform for international and Baltic artists, to promote contemporary art and provide educational and community support within the region, as well as to increase artistic engagement between the Baltic region and the rest of the world.
Riga has been an important trading post since the Middle Ages, and during the late 19th and 20th centuries, Latvia has served as a significant industrial base. Latvia’s historical relations with Sweden, Russia, Poland and Germany have put it at the crossroads of different cultures and ideologies, with its gaze shifting between East and West. RIBOCA charts the particular psychogeography of this region within the new world order at a time of major global shifts.