From 9 September to 6 November 2016, the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (1 Torņa Street) will host a solo exhibition by Latvian artist Sandra Krastiņa “Civilians”.
Sandra Krastiņa sees the task of painting and art in the ability to formulate images that express a broad context of the era, at the same time retaining a link to a specific mentality of place. For her solo exhibition Civilians, the artist brings to the fore a subject that she has found significant since the beginning of her creative career – the relationship between the individual and events. How do human beings position themselves in various historical, political and cultural situations, how do they perceive themselves in the urban environment and processes? The author also deals with the thematised questions on a technical level in order to capture in the static medium – painting – a fragmented yet dynamically directed movement of time and emotions.
The exhibition includes a 12-part painting from earlier times, Gold-plated Riders, who sit rather exhausted and confused on the back of the classical Western symbol of victory and leadership – the horse. It is notable that in the cycle Sleeping Riders from the period of the 1990s both horses and riders are made as newly born and feeble creatures at the beginning of an unknown journey. These are followed by a search for new stylistic approaches, and the Blue Period is a time when a single colour – ultramarine blue – comes to the fore as the defining expressive means of the artist’s painterly space, the ornament of multi-reproducible human silhouettes appears, compositional tension and rhythmical movement is underlined.
The contemporary lineage of subjects in Sandra Krastiņa’s latest works is represented by white male shirts and mighty bulls. The shirt suggests a certain uncovering of the masculine and de-individualised nature of power – the wearers are absent beyond the frame of the painting. Meanwhile the motivation to take up the character of the bull was a Kārlis Lakše’s photograph from an agricultural exhibition in Koknese in the late 1930s showing a woman sitting on a bull. Both the specific historical moment, which is not neutral in European history, and the clichéd resonance of the image of the bull with the rape of Europa aptly express the current situation. Furthermore, the bull embodies a masculine, mighty and uncontrollable power which, when used from the practically consumeristic aspect, is easily split into pieces.
Sandra Krastiņa (1957) studied at the Department of Monumental Painting of the Art Academy of Latvia (1976–1982), Professor Eduards Kalniņš’ studio (1982–1986). She worked as a pedagogue at Janis Rozentāls Art Highschool, was establisher and director of Museum of the Artists’ Union of Latvia (2001–2006), editor-in-chief of Neputns Publishers magazine Dizaina Studija (2006–2012). She has also worked in graphic art, animation, designed collector coins for Latvijas Banka.
Takes part in exhibitions since 1980. Regularly holds personal exhibitions in Riga, Latvia and abroad. The artist’s works are held in the Latvian National Museum of Art and the Artists’ Union of Latvia (Riga), Ludwig Museum (Cologne, Germany), State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), as well as many other museum and private collections in Latvia and abroad.
The exhibition hall ARSENĀLS offers its youngest visitors an engaging way to explore the exhibition – colourful, interesting and informative worksheets.