25.11.2023. - 11.02.2024.
Latvian National Museum of Art

Artūrs Virtmanis. Psychopomp: A Beginner's Guide to the Afterworld

From 25 November 2023 to 11 February 2024, Artūrs Virtmanis’ solo exhibition Psychopomp: A Beginner’s Guide to the Afterworld is presented in the Cupola Hall of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1).

“...I think about these things,
I feel a kind of horror at the superior tyranny
that obliges us to keep walking even though we have no idea
what it is that our uncertainty is going to meet.”
(from Fernando Pessoa The Book of Disquiet)

The ecological crisis, war, pandemic and inequality have become part of normality. Dystopian end-of-the-world scenarios increasingly turn into our reality. Left on its own, each system over time tends towards chaos: heat energy dissipates, biological organisms die, societies collapse. Is there anyone who could lead us into this new reality – a guide that could prepare us for change?

The exhibition Psychopomp: A Beginner’s Guide to the Afterworld lets the visitor experience catastrophe as a spectacle where the gloomy and the melancholy merges with the dreamlike and the ecstatic. Space and environment as the artistic object and a performative occasion, which functions similarly to the mechanism of Greek tragedy described by Nietzsche, allows the eyewitness experience invented events as truly real and at the same time enjoy them aesthetically as though looking from aside. With his presence, the visitor becomes part of the installation. The project does not draw attention to any specific natural, environmental, technological or socio-political cataclysm, but rather the idea and presence of catastrophe as such. The exhibition is complemented by a programme of performative interventions aimed to activate the spatial installation.

About the artist

Artūrs Virtmanis (1971) studied at the Department of Sculpture of the Art Academy of Latvia, has experimented with cinema, so-called paper architecture, processual art, performance, sculpture, painting, and graphic art. He has taken part in countless exhibitions and projects related to stage design in the USA, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Italy, France, Great Britain, China, and the United Arab Emirates. In Latvia, author’s works have been nominated for the Purvītis Prize, Public Broadcasting of Latvia’s annual award 1kg of Culture. Artist has received the Baltais Zvirbulis [White Sparrow] annual award of the Riga City Council’s Education, Culture and Sports Department.

Working with subjects such as entropy, melancholia, messianism and utopia, Artūrs Virtmanis creates fragile large-format installations that bring together charcoal drawings with multimedia spatial elements. His installations are characterised by philosophical poeticism as well as intense visual and metaphoric saturation.

Exhibition curator

Agnese Zviedre
Exhibition Curator /
Latvian National Museum of Art, Latvia

Curator of education programme

Elza Ēķe
Curator of Education / 
Latvian National Museum of Art

Video direction, choreography, performance

Daniela Vētra


Toms Auniņš

Sound director

Elīna Karaseva


Agnese Levinska


Gustavs Daugulis, Kārlis Graudiņš, Oskars Grinčpons, Reinis Janbergs, Kārlis Lukaševics, Olafs Podāns, Francis Romanvoskis, Mārcis Romulāns, Viesturs Rulietis, Markuss Stanks, Patriks Strads, Dāvids Šagarovs, Rodrigo Zubs, Ričards Romanovs

Technical solution

Antons Ugrjumovs


Krišs Apšenieks

Video special effects

Pēteris Tenisons


Anna Kalnā


Sintija Skrabe, Poļina Filippova, Lauris Limbergs, Rūdis Vilsons, Anastasija Čornaja, Anna Marija Puķe, Artūrs Nīgalis, Mārtiņš Emīls Aržanovskis, Mārīte Supe

Text editor

Kārlis Vērdiņš

Special thanks

Agita Rimšēviča, Pēteris Brīniņš, Olga Zhitluhina, Iluta Lapiņa-Arāja


The Latvian National Museum of Art /
Cupola Hall (5th floor)
Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1, Riga