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A book Latvian Landscape has been released

A new book has been released, where five Latvian photographers (Arnis Balčus, Reinis Hofmanis, Alnis Stakle, Iveta Vaivode and Ilze Vanaga) and five scholars (Sergei Kruk, Klāvs Sedlenieks, Kārlis Vērpe, Laine Kristberga and Ivars Austers) have co-created a unique interdisciplinary study of contemporary Latvian landscape. Since 2013, they have worked in pairs (scholar/photographer) to create five semantically linked series of photographs and five essays, approaching a specific topic through both the photographic narrative and text. The overarching theme of the book is landscape, which is construed as a surface for contemplative viewing, a stage for a quaint or ordinary event and, beyond any doubt, a catalyst for an individual’s becoming who they are only when embraced by a particular landscape.

The book Latvian Landscape presents Arnis Balčus’s photo series Beyond the Blue River, which has been created at the Latvian-Russian borderland district Zilupe. Using photographs made in a documentary style, as well as archive materials and photographs taken by unknown authors, Balcus, similarly to a fairytale narrative, constructs a photo story about a place, which on an everyday basis is characterized as economically unstable and politically disloyal to Latvia. Reinis Hofmanis in the framework of the photo story Fire has photographed landscapes, where special attention is drawn to fire outbreak as a crowd-attracting event. Alnis Stakle’s photo story Theory of R is a diaristic, partly documental and partly staged story about Riga, the capital of Latvia. The author turns his camera to seemingly eccentric places, encountered weirdoes and unexplainable combinations of objects, creating a personal visual theory of Riga. Whereas Iveta Vaivode’s photo story Somewhere on the Disappearing Path has been created in Pilcene, a small village in the Eastern part of Latvia. Led by autobiographical impulses, the artist spent several years in the village, becoming familiar with the locals and assimilating with the community, trying to formulate the meaning of home. When first examined, the picturesque photo story Home by Ilze Vanaga offers simple photographs based on poetic codes. Yet, these works cannot be easily deciphered, as they are biographical and at the same time focused on a historically and mythologically important part of the Latvian cultural landscape – the seashore.

The book is published by KultKom, art design provided by Krišs Salmanis, edition – 600 copies. The project is exhibited at the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre till 12 April.

The book can be purchased on internet. Limited number of signed copies are also available.