23.03.2019. - 09.06.2019.
Latvian National Museum of Art

The Purvītis Prize 2019

Candidates exhibition

The SIXTH Purvītis Prize exhibition will be on view in the Great Hall of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1) from 23 March to 9 June 2019.


Having evaluated all 20 artists / artist groups who were nominated for the Purvītis Prize 2019 Final for their creative performance as holding significance within the visual arts scene in Latvia in the period between 8 December 2016 and 31 December 2018, the Purvītis Prize 2019 expert working group has now concluded its two year work period and named 8 short-listers for the Purvītis Prize 2019:'

ĒRIKS APAĻAIS for his series of paintings Diaries from Earth (2014–2018) exhibited at Sporta iela 2 Quarter in the framework of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (02.06.–28.10.2018);

IEVA EPNERE for her solo exhibition Sea of Living Memories at kim? Contemporary Art Centre (08.12.2016–15.01.2017);

KRISTAPS EPNERS for artwork Forget Me Not at the Residence of Kristaps Morbergs in the framework of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (02.06.–28.10.2018);

GINTS GABRĀNS for his augmented reality project SAN as implemented in 2017 and 2018;

ROMAN KOROVIN for his solo exhibition Satori of Master Wu and Master Lee in the Creative Studio of the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art (23.03.–13.05.2018);

PAULIS LIEPA for exhibition The Cabinet of Beautiful Arts at the Mūkusala Art Salon (23.03.–06.05.2017);

RASA ŠMITE and RAITIS ŠMITS for exhibition Fluctuations of Microworlds at the RIXC Centre for New Media Culture (09.09.–28.10.2017);

TEXT GROUP ORBITA (Artūrs Punte, Vladimir Svetlov, Sergey Timofeyev and Alexander Zapol) for exhibition Where Do Poems Come From? at the floating art gallery Noass (16.05.–14.07.2018).

“Over the course of 2017 and 2018, the experts have viewed more than 130 exhibitions. 83 of them were discussed at the regular quarterly nomination meetings. Out of these 83 exhibitions, 20 art events over the two-year period were nominated for the chance to make it into the short-list of the 2019 edition of the Purvītis Prize,” Astrīda Rogule, head of the expert working group, explains. “It was not an easy process to take the quarterly decision on nominees and decide on the final eight nominees for the Purvītis Prize. We always had lengthy and heated discussions, but it is important to note that the experts all shared a professional attitude towards their duties, the desire to hear others out, analyse, present arguments and accept the majority choice by a vote.”

The Purvītis Prize 2019 exhibition curator is Daiga Rudzāte.

Having gained the highest score from the international jury, IEVA EPNERE was awarded the sixth Purvītis Prize at a special ceremony on 12 April 2019 at Art Centre Zuzeum.

The Purvītis Prize 2019
The winner of the Purvītis Prize 2019 will be announced on 12 April at a special ceremony at Art Centre Zuzeum. An exhibition featuring the works of the eight nominees will be open to the public at the Great Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) both before and after the winner is announced – from 23 March until 9 June 2019. In the period between the opening of the exhibition and the announcing of the winner, visitors will be able to vote for their favourite, which, just as the winner, will also be revealed at the Purvītis Prize 2019 ceremony.

Moving into the next decade of the Purvītis Prize, henceforth an award for lifetime achievement in art will also be presented every two years. The decision on which artist to bestow this award to is taken by the organisation committee of the Purvītis Prize. The award, which is 10 000 EUR (not including taxes), will be presented at the Purvītis Prize 2019 ceremony on 12 April. This year the lifetime achievement in art award will be presented to painter Džemma Skulme.

Satellite Exhibition of the Purvītis Prize 2019
With the aim of introducing the members of the jury of the Purvītis Prize 2019, art portal Arterritory.com and culture project agency INDIE in collaboration with the Latvian National Museum of Art are offering a special exposition from 10 April until 12 May – a part of collector Galila Barzilaï-Hollander’s (Belgium) collection of chairs created by artists will be viewable in the 3rd floor lobby of the LNMA. This is one of the 20 different thematic and conceptual branches of her collection. The ideological basis of the exhibition is the chair as an object with a ceremonial, but also multifaceted character, thus this seemingly simple and mundane object has often found its way into the imagination of artists.

“There is something very fundamental about the chair, it embodies togetherness. As soon as you walk into a room, it is an invitation: take a seat! It makes you feel welcome. The chair is closely linked with communication,” Galila Barzilaï-Hollander says. “All of the chairs in my collection are masterpieces, each is unique, with its own personal story.”

The Purvītis Prize 2019 Experts
In the period between 8 December 2016 and 14 January 2019, the Purvītis Prize expert working group consisted of: Astrīda Rogule, art historian and Curator of the Contemporary Art Collection at the LNMA, Inese Baranovska, art historian, curator and Head of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design / LNMA, Vilnis Vējš, art critic, Kaspars Vanags, curator and art theoretician, Sniedze Kāle, art historian, curator and Manager of Mūkusala Art Salon, Inese Riņķe, art historian. Santa Mičule-Hirša, art historian and critic, joined the expert team on 1 October 2017 (member 1 October 2017 – 14 January 2019), replacing Zane Onckule, art historian (member 8 December 2016 – 1 October 2017).

The Purvītis Prize 2021 Experts
As of 1 January 2019 the new expert group assessing processes in art for the Purvītis Prize 2021 has begun work in the following composition: Līna Birzaka-Priekule, exhibition curator and Head of the Creative Studio at the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall / LNMA, Laima Slava, art historian, Editor-in-Chief at publishing house NeputnsIeva Kalniņa, art historian and curator, Dr. art. Andris Teikmanis, professor and Prorector in Study and Research Work at the Art Academy of Latvia, Kaspars Vanags, curator and art theoretician, Kārlis Vērpe, philosopher, and Alise Careva, founder and Director of gallery Careva Contemporary.

The Purvītis Prize
The Purvītis Prize is the most prestigious and the most substantial visual art award in Latvia. Founded in January 2008, the Purvītis Prize was launched to amass regular and systematic information about the latest visual arts events in Latvia, promote development of new projects and original ideas, acknowledge the best achievements in Latvian professional visual arts and popularise the success of Latvian artists both in Latvia and abroad.

The award is named after the Old Master of Latvian painting Vilhelms Purvītis (1872–1945). He was an outstanding artist and art professor who won critical acclaim both at home and internationally. The co-founder of the national school of art and the pioneer of the national landscape painting, Vilhelms Purvītis is one of the all-time most influential figures in Latvian cultural and art life. He was the Head of the Riga Art School, the Director of the Riga Museum of Art and the founder of the collection of Latvian art, the founder and the first Rector of the Art Academy of Latvia and for many years, the Head of the landscape masterclass at the Academy, the Commissioner General of all the representative Latvian art exhibitions abroad during the interwar period.

The authority, educational work and artistic style of this prominent landscapist and Fellow of the St. Petersburg Academy of Art has left an impact on several generations of Latvian artists. A wise and farsighted culture politician, Vilhelms Purvītis was an active supporter of the young artists of the time and discovered a number of talented painters who later played important roles on the Latvian art scene. The name of Vilhelms Purvītis has become a sign of national identity, both in the history of Latvian art and in the eyes of the general public. Therefore the Prize is a kind of synthesis of established, classical values and the seemingly momentary, contemporary art processes.

The Purvītis Prize is awarded biannually to an artist or a group of artists representing Latvia with outstanding work, which is deemed to be deeply connected to the developments of the era and forming a bridge between contemporary life, spiritual ideals and intrinsic values. The artist rated highest by a panel of experts and a specially established international jury is selected as the winner. The Prize is 28 500 EUR (including taxes).

The first Purvītis Prize was awarded in 2009 to Katrīna Neiburga for her video work Solitude. Artist Kristaps Ģelzis became the second winner of the Purvītis Prize in 2011 for his solo exhibition Varbūt (Maybe). The third Purvītis Prize in 2013 has won Andris Eglītis for his one-man show Zemes darbi (Soil Works). The fourth winner of the Purvītis Prize in 2015 was Miķelis Fišers for his personal exhibition Netaisnība (Disgrace). The Purvītis Prize 2017 went to a group of artists – Krišs SalmanisAnna Salmane and Kristaps Pētersons – for their exhibition Dziesma (Song).

The Purvītis Prize competition in visual arts is organised by the Latvian National Museum of Art in collaboration with the Museum Patron, SIA Alfor, and SIA Culture Project Agency ‘INDIE’ (Kultūras projektu aģentūra “INDIE”). The Purvītis Prize organisation is assisted by association Art Platform (Mākslas platforma) and P.R.A.E. Public Relations (P.R.A.E. Sabiedriskās attiecības).

Exhibition Curator:
Daiga Rudzāte, art historian, critic

Exhibition Designer:
Martins Vizbulis, artist

Exhibition Co-ordinator:
Velga Pule, Administrator of the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall / Latvian National Museum of Art