D’EST at Portable Landscapes: Unweaving the Iron Curtain
Posted on: 13.06.19
The literary event-happening organized by Valdis Āboliņš at the 13th congress of European Latvian Youth Association (ELJA), Westende, Belgium. August 3, 1966. Photo by Noldis Millers.
D’EST proudly announces its participation in the exhibition Portable Landscapes: Unweaving the Iron Curtain at District Berlin. De-centring, contaminating, and queering dominant historical narratives, the project is part of the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art project Portable Landscapes which examines stories of exiled and emigree Latvian artists locating them within the broader context of 20th century art history, and wider processes of migration and globalization. The exhibition and program in collaboration with District Berlin shows artistic and political expressions of diaspora and dissidence that cross, unsettle, unweave the binary geopolitical divisions referred to as Iron Curtain, both during the Cold War and its aftermath. D’EST’s temporarily installed viewing station makes this young archive of the histories of post-/socialist transformation mapped through feminist perspectives accessible in the exhibition.
Central to this exhibition is curator and mail artist Valdis Āboliņš (1939-1984), whose family took a decision to emigrate form Latvia to Germany in 1944. His creative praxis threw the second half of the 20th century puts into the spotlight the period of the Cold War and its complexity in relation to cultural production as Europe was divided in two by the Iron Curtain and the Wall divided Berlin. This leads us not only to rethink political and social tensions of the time, but also to analyse processes through the lens of Āboliņš as an insider and outsider in Berlin and Soviet Latvia.
By rethinking Āboliņš as a curator, artist, and networker, as well as the working methods of the Realismus Studio at the nGbK (neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst) where he worked as general secretary from 1974-1984, these exhibition is built up as a dialog between Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art and District Berlin or a Diskussionsausstellung* – a place for a dialogue in which participants sit around a table, whether it is round or square or positioned against a wall. We want to discuss: what does it mean to canonise Āboliņš in Latvian art history in a moment of nationalist memorialisation (100 years of the Latvian nation)? What does the swallowing of diasporic cultures into the national body do? how well accounts of exile art can be integrated into local history, whether it is possible to look at histories that exist beyond the borders of national states, and how such histories are influencing global art processes now; how should we talk about forced or freely chosen migration in relation to history and the current day?
With contributions by: Valdis Āboliņš, Decolonizing 1968, D’EST, Inga Erdmane, Leonards Laganovskis, Elske Rosenfeld, Margo Zālīte, Nguyen Phuong Linh, Tuan Mami, and Revolt She Said.
Curators: Andrea Caroline Keppler, Suza Husse, Antra Priede, Elske Rosenfeld and Andra Silapētere
21 June – 25 July 2019, Tuesday – Thursday, 3-7 pm
Opening: Thursday, 20 June 2019, 6:30 pm
6.30 pm walk through the exhibition with artists and curators: Inga Erdmane, Leonards Laganovskis, Ulrike Gerhardt, Andrea Caroline Keppler, Suza Husse, Antra Priede, Elske Rosenfeld and Andra Silapētere
7.30 pm “At Home/Not at Home” artist talk by Margo Zālīte
The exhibition runs until 25 July, is accompanied by a diaspora and dissidence reading group as well as an upcoming screening and discussion event D’EST at Scriptings: Sisters Alike. Female Identities in the Post-Utopian with Lene Markusen, Anne König, Alexandra Köhring, Ulrike Gerhardt and Achim Lengerer on July 3, 2019 at Scriptings.
Portable Landscapes: Unweaving the Iron Curtain is part of the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art research and exhibition series “Portable Landscapes”. The contribution by D’EST, Nguyen Phuong Linh and Revolt She Said have been developed in and in collaboration with and supported by the Senate Chancellery Berlin – Department of Culture, The Romanian Cultural Institute, the Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN), atelier 35, Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), the Goethe Institute Moscow, the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf, the Galeria Miejska Arsenał, Poznań, Pawilon, Poznań, and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein Video-Forum (D’EST), ifa (Nguyen Phuong Linh) and alpha nova & galerie futura (Revolt She Said).