The art gallery of Cēsis Concert Hall opens the new season with an extensive show of works by painter Andris Vītoliņš. Vibrating with energy, the artist’s paintings offer a critical reflection on the perception codes of the 21st-century civilization ‒ the fragmentary outlook perpetuated by the rhythm and progress of life ironically referred to by Vītoliņš as simplistic pixel-thinking, frequently interfering with our ability to see the big picture.
Back in 2017, Andris Vītoliņš showed his art in the ‘Urban Poetry’ exhibition at the Cēsis Concert Hall art gallery. The new exhibition is the first public viewing in Latvia of the artist’s most recent works dating from the last three years, a time marked by radical changes that sent shockwaves through global society. The new works carry no reference to specific locations, landscapes or people. These are abstract compositions, classified by the artist as ‘ornamental orientalism’. Rhythm and colour are two elements of great significance in his art, the building blocks of his structural visions of the destructive and fragile existence of today; any moment can bring either extinction of life or the birth of a new world (as, for example, in the painting ‘Spark or Star’).
Not known for stopping at what he has already achieved, Andris Vītoliņš is always searching for new creative challenges, looking to vary the subjects and means of expression while holding on to the essence of his art ‒ the suggestive power of colour and dynamism of composition, proposing a critical reassessment of the generally accepted ideas of beauty and harmony. Vītoliņš has always recognized the appeal of contrasts: the exact vs the approximate, structural order vs chaos. The artist is fond of experimenting with techniques and materials and questions the possibility of producing a painting without using a brush, borrowing skills and tools from industrial technologies.
In February 2022, the new works were presented to art lovers in Lithuania in Vītoliņš’ exhibition ‘We Need a Chance to be Reborn’ at Vilnius Town House and Meno Niša Gallery. It carried a convincing message of an individual’s need to find a vision of the future in crisis situations. Provocatively titled ‘The Persuasion Power of False Structures’, the show in Cēsis is a continuation of the visual reflections on global events started in Vilnius, simultaneously preserving a belief in the energetic power of creative ideas and thoughts to be reborn in physical space.
‘I try to capture the vibrant flow of the world in my works. On one hand, the paintings are populated by man-made comparatively stable structures; on the other hand, they carry a sense of an irrational world that reaches way beyond the down-to-earth obvious environment. I have noticed that many things and phenomena are experienced by us as flashes: first the thought or the process is active but then immediately it subsides and fades. At this point, what matters is our physical situation: are we at the epicentre or the periphery of the processes?’ ‒ that is how Andris Vītoliņš describes his artistic message.
Andris Vītoliņš (b. 1975) is a Latvian painter, Deputy Rector and lecturer at the Latvian Academy of Arts; an active exhibiting artist since 1996 with solo shows in Latvia and abroad ‒ in Austria, Azerbaijan, China, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Lithuania, Slovenia, Sweden, USA and elsewhere. The artist’s works are held in many private and public collections ‒ at the Latvian National Museum of Art, KUMU art museum (Estonia), at the Swedbank Latvia building in Riga, etc.
Inese Baranovska, curator