Remembering Ilmārs Blumbergs (1943–2016)
Snowing All the Time

Ilmārs Blumbergs passed away on 11 February 2016. What an outstanding artist. What a great man. People like him only appear once every century. Everyone who had the fortune of meeting Blumbergs found that a partnership with him left deep tracks.


Ilmārs Blumbergs said that the main subjects in his artworks were LOVE, DEATH and GOD. Now he has experienced all of them. The artist needed them to live and to understand life in a better way.


Ilmārs Blumbergs’ artworks included encoded signs and words. The image of a Devotion. The image of an Observer. What he described as a “one corner” – his symbol of endlessness. Great statements: Everything is All, Tat Tvam Asi and No End. He believed that life is a process and an endless road. Ilmārs Blumbergs titled his last major exhibition at ARSENĀLS I Won’t Die. That was the idea of being reborn. Samsara – the cycle of existence.


In commemoration of Ilmārs Blumbergs, the Latvian National Museum of Art presents the cycle Snowing All the Time. The artist worked on these artworks for twenty years. A series of 35 paintings trace Latvia’s history from Stalinist deportations to the restoration of independence.


Snowing All the Time is an autobiographic message that starts in Siberia. In 1949, Ilmārs Blumbergs’ father was deported because he had been in the Latvian Legion. Though his sentence ended in 1950, he was not liberated. Instead he was sent to a camp in Tyuhtet for life. Ilmārs was a child when he and his mother went to his father in Siberia.


The visual development of the cycle represents the artist’s stream of consciousness, and it is a montage of dramatic fragments from his life. The tragic and emotional aspects of Ilmārs Blumbergs’ life merge with pages from Latvian history. The worldview of a child, the struggle of his parents to survive, the Soviet era, the activism of the 1980s – all of these take us through half a century in Latvian history. The fact that the artist learned about Siberia as a child is seen in Snowing All the Time. This provided Ilmārs Blumbergs with an understanding of life and death, patience and love, wishes and their fulfilment. The cycle is a monumental historical saga that is based in personal experience.


Elita Ansone

exhibition curator