Edgars Vērpe’s personal exhibition “Interests. Conflict” will be on view in the Cupola Hall of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1) from 9 September to 22 October 2017.
Edgars Vērpe began his creative career traditionally, painting still lifes and figural compositions with a brush on canvas. Major transformations began in the 1990s when the dominant image became the clearly recognisable silhouette of a fish. This was accompanied by treatment of the surface – his own experimental technique whereby the fish itself looked like a ghost swimming in the depth that one could barely make out behind the layers of texture.
Experiments with texture also form the basis for the solo exhibition Interests. Conflict whose message is contemporarily relevant. The concept’s images, shells, are associated with the artist’s childhood interests – Vērpe spent summers in Priekule, Courland where there were major battles in the Second World War. Even twenty years after the war ended, the ground was full of unexploded artillery shells and infantry ammunition.
The artist returned to the image of shells thinking about the ideal form. For a long time this had been the fish whose form had seemed ideal. On the other hand, the shape of bullets, mines and other munitions doesn’t have to be simplified at all – it is already ideal in order to overcome the distance to the target more accurately, to make the “game” of war ever more effective and to be able to keep up with the technological advances of the enemy. Clearly, the return to a childhood passion is linked to what is topical today because warfare or “war” as a fact is one of the first items in the news. Today we can find out precise figures on how many were killed and where. Numbers are replaced by numbers – also ideal units that are packed into just as ideal forms – body bags. This seemingly formal “exchange” is quite laconically expressed in Russian Federation armed forces jargon for cargo: ammunition is GRUZ 100, but GRUZ 200 – dead bodies.
The colourfully restrained objects in Edgars Vērpe’s solo exhibition Interests. Conflict symbolising individual shells and dead individuals make us concentrate our thoughts on the unimaginable futility of war.
Dr. art. Dace Lamberga, Exhibition Curator, Latvian National Museum of Art