10. December, 2021 - 29. January, 2022

The traditional and the Contemporary. Latvian Textile Art

The Cēsis Concert Hall art gallery marks the turn of the year with an exhibition entitled ‘The traditional and the Contemporary. Latvian Textile Art’ featuring works from the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA), as well as some new pieces. Summer 2021 saw an expanded version of the exhibition represent Latvian textile art at the Spanish National Museum of Decorative Arts (Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas), marking the centenary of diplomatic relations between Latvia and Spain; the show in Madrid was very warmly received.

An integral part of Latvian culture and a very popular art form in this country, textile art has deep historically shaped traditions, rooted in a legacy of vernacular art values and professional craft skills. Noteworthy are the textile art achievements of the early 1900s and particularly the 1920s‒1930s, the years following the first proclamation of statehood. It was during this time that artists like Jūlijs Madernieks, Ansis Cīrulis, Jūlijs Straume, Arvīds Dzērvītis and others made an important contribution to the development of this art form, shaping a new national style. After the Second World War, the growth of the Latvian school of professional textile art was significantly furthered by the new-founded Department of Textile Art at the Latvian Academy of Arts in 1961; the department still provides higher professional education to textile artists today.

The body of works selected for the exhibition in Cēsis offers an exhaustive overview of the past and present of Latvian textile art revealing both the strength of traditions and diversity of innovative solutions. The core of the exhibition is formed by some of the most prominent pieces from the LNMA / Museum of Decorative Arts and Design collection: the Spanish-inspired ‘Corrida’ and ‘Steps’ by Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere; the Biblically inspired romantic ‘Ancient Motif’ by Professor Rūdolfs Heimrāts,  founder and long-time Head of the Department of Textile Art at the Latvian Academy of Arts; the striking Cubist-style composition ‘Woman with a Bird’ by Lilita Postaža; ‘Sea at Night’, the monumental interpretation of the Latvian landscape by Egils Rozenbergs; ‘Balance’, the exquisite  tapestry by Baiba Rītere and  the experimental ‘Oriental Garden’ by Daiga Štālberga- Senoussaoui.

Regularly held since 2001, Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial (2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2018) has grown into an internationally recognised event that has lain the groundwork for dynamic collaboration between textile artists and museums. Latvian artists regularly take part in various international shows and competitions, bringing home well-deserved awards. Alongside the selection of works from the museum collection, the viewer has an opportunity to view some very recent pieces providing an insight into the vast thematic range and arsenal of materials and techniques at the disposal of contemporary textile art. Irēna Andrejeva, Jānis Bankovičs, Lilita Bauģe, Andra DīriņaElīna ĢibieteRolands Krutovs, Ieva Krūmiņa, Katrīna Leitēna, Baiba Osīte, Ieva Prāne, Irēna andrejeva, Annele Slišāne – these artists, both the experienced and internationally acclaimed and the young and emerging, embrace daring experiments with various materials (paper, metal, leather, plastic, wood, etc.) and techniques (embroidery, collage, felting, digital tapestry, etc. ) as a testimony to the vital creative power possessed by this area of art.  

I would like thank Velta Raudzepa, Head of Collections at MDAD and the curator of the Madrid exhibition, Rūta Rinka, Curator of the MDAD Textile Arts Collection, Māra Lāce, Director of LNMA, and Iveta Derkusova, Deputy Director for Collections at LNMA, for this opportunity to show this brilliant selection of Latvian textile art at Cēsis Concert Hall.

Inese Baranovska