From 20 September to 17 November 2019, the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Torņa iela 1) will present the "Academia", a centenary exhibition of the Art Academy of Latvia.
Nulla dies sine linea – Not a day without a line! This motto adopted by the Art Academy of Latvia (AAL) marks several centenary celebration events in 2019 produced by the AAL. One such event is a special exposition at the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art.
The Platonic Academy in ancient Greece and its unique approach to teaching philosophy serves as a starting point for this show. The Academy, founded near Athens and known for its liberal atmosphere in the enclave of olive tree gardens, facilitated the formation of philosophical theses and deductions following conversations and exchanges of opinions.
In contemporary language, the term ‘academic’ often acquires heavy overtones, therefore the format of this project seeks to provide viewers with an opportunity to embrace the original meaning of this term as a free and creative process of thought. Inspired by the Platonic Academy, this show brings the atmosphere and essence of the Art Academy of Latvia to ARSENĀLS, presenting a continuously changing display where the works on view will be enhanced and developed on site for the duration of the exhibition. More than 50 students and recent graduates contribute to this project, creating work that reflects the interests of emerging artists in the field of creative research. The novelty of this exhibition is expressed through its open format of action providing audiences of all ages a possibility to participate in the creation of artworks and witness the beauty of a virtual reality garden.
A living archive will run on set days throughout the exhibition, inviting former and current students, academic and professional staff to share their personal photo archives documenting the life of AAL. Under the leadership of young researchers, these materials will be documented and presented as part of the exhibition with new acquisitions added every week.
Special architecture has been designed for the ARSENĀLS to emphasise interrelationship between a creative space and the creation of art objects. The ajourstructure and garden atmosphere on the second floor will serve as a location for talks with the AAL’s graduates that will take place every Saturday as part of the discursive programme. It will introduce personal stories about the study years and subsequent professional practice, sometimes quite removed from art. Creative workshops will take place every Sunday led by the AAL’s academic staff. This space will also be used for teaching current AAL’s students and exhibition visitors will be welcome to join in.
The project is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation programme Latvijai – 100.