STRAIGHT, NO CHASER

07.06–25.08.2024

The works presented in the exhibition, for the most part coming from the Zuzāns collection and different Latvian museums, range from icons dating back to the 16th century to the contemporary scene. Among the works, old Latvian masters such as Vilhelms Purvītis, Jānis Rozentāls, and Johann Walter-Kurau. Also on view is a selection from an important memorial collection of Visvaldis Ziediņš’ works. Latvian avant-garde and contemporary scene – Andris Grinbergs, Laimonis Stīpnieks, Rudīte Dreimane, etc. Finally, such international contemporary artists as Alicja Kwade, Thomas Hirschhorn, and David Altmejd.

Following an invitation from the Zuzeum Art Centre, the Parisian research group La Méditerranée has composed an exhibition and created two architectures, Mooring Beacon and Zeppelin, that are rooted in the history of Riga and echo the singular nature of the Zuzāns collection. Mooring Beacon is inspired by the forms of the puzuris and resembles a mooring beacon for Zeppelin. Its idea arose during a visit to the Central Market in Riga, which was constructed using parts of Zeppelin hangars. The two architectures built here will join a greater collection La Méditerranée has conceived and built over the years in its exhibitions. Models of these previous architectures are also featured in the exhibition. Members of La Méditerranée wish, at a certain point in the future, to gather their collection of architectures, expecting it to grow into a village bearing the possibility for a small family size group of humans to inhabit.

La Méditerranée is an exhibition-oriented research group founded in 2020 by Ulysse Geissler, Mateo Revillo and Edgar Sarin. For the past ten years, each of them has been working on generating specific ecosystems within exhibition processes. La Méditerranée considers the exhibition as an active system, seeking to shift from a classic method of presentation to an experimental and dynamic one. To describe that drift, La Méditerranée wields an analogy with a Jazz formation, as artists in their studio practice are like a lonesome saxophone player working his scales, while also he finds himself in a space that complements the studio, enrolled in the ensemble’s improvisation.

Improvisation plays a significant role in the group’s modus operandi, bringing them closer to the musical practice of jazz. In their approach, La Méditerranée does not select works around a theme. Instead, it follows the law of the good neighbour in the manner of Austrian art historian Aby Warburg, and casts an unranked look at a set of works. Without themes, the discovery and free selection of works for this exhibition give them a renewed sense that established methods prevent. The singular parts of history, bits of geography, and patchworks of individual paths that inform each work’s unique shape are the different pulses that mark the rhythm of viewership. This inverse perspective on the pieces, where each brings their own beat, reveals them to this exact historical and local moment. All these concurrent points of view compose the exhibition as a work of art. The exhibition Straight, No Chaser is named after a 1967 piece by the famous American Jazz musician Thelonious Monk.

The first research cycle of La Méditerranée was developed within a three-and-a-half-month process and resulted in two consecutive exhibitions, Programme Spécial and Grand Final. At the heart of the latter was built the very first architecture, analogue to the first settlement. Since then, other architectures inspired by the local context and landscape have been adding up, developing the village in size and function. Being modular and reproducible, these are meant to be built anew, to live and develop through cycles of destruction and reconstruction. Like the ship Argos, all pieces are replaced while the name is kept.

Each of these architectures pivots the development of exhibitions where historical and contemporary artists are brought together, mirroring but also and more importantly influencing the creation of the architecture. Their creation of these architectures and their stir over the exhibition process sustain the formal and theoretical core of La Méditerranée’s research. La Méditerranée’s research spans around heuristics for art exhibitions by developing singular exhibition models as spaces for action and discovery.

Artworks presented in this exhibition are courtesy loans from Latvian museums and private collections. We thank Latvian Museum of Architecture and Ināra Appena, The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia and Gundega Skagale, Mike Ovcharenko, Solvita Krese, Gustavs Grasis, Galerie Derouillon,  Galerie Lo Brutto Stahl, Gallery Artbeat, Thomas Hirschhorn Studio, ‘Mākslai vajag telpu’ foundation for participation.

*Exhibition artworks include motifs of erotic and sexual nature.

Featured artists:

Valdis Āboliņš, Mathilde Albouy, David Altmejd, Anda Ārgale, Māris Ārgalis, Natalie Ball, Miriam Cahn, Valdis Celms, Vija Celmins, Rudīte Dreimane, Andris Grinbergs, Thomas Hirschhorn, Miriam Cahn, Sanya Kantarovsky, On Kawara, Nika Kutateladze, Alicja Kwade, Inga Meldere, Miervaldis Polis, Vilhelms Purvītis, Mateo Revillo, Janis Rozentāls, Edgar Sarin, Nastaran Shahbazi, Uga Skulme, Laimonis Stīpnieks, Johann Walter-Kurau, Manon Wertenbroek, Visvaldis Ziediņš

EXHIBITION TEAM:

Exhibition-oriented research group La Méditerranée: Ulysse Geissler, Mateo Revillo and Edgar Sarin

Research group assistant: Jevgēnija Hamudajeva

Project manager: Katrīna Jurkevica

Head of Zuzāns Collection: Ingūna Ģēģere

Curators of the Zuzāns Collection: Laura Briede, Annija Grīsle

Conservators: Liene Muceniece, Anastasija Skopenkova

Project consultants: Mikhail Ovcharenko and Tatiana Melnikova

Research consultant: Gustavs Grasis

Technical manager: Raivis Švarcs

Technical team: Andris Konošonoks, Māris Mikāns, Mareks Ieviņš

Head of graphic design: Karlīne Anete Čepjolkina

Graphic designer: Elizabete Bušēvica

Public relations and publicity: Eduards Grizāns

Website editor: Katerīna Alijeva

Translators: Valts Miķelsons, Artūrs Punte, Annija Grīsle

Coordinator of educational programme: Erna Marija Poča

Art pedagogues: Aļona Rjazanova, Tonijs Strods

Art mediators: Līva Indriķe, Sabīne Locika, Vallija Lintere, Jānis Pūga, Madara Siliņa, Jegors Sņetkovs

Financial management: Ilze Baumane

Director: Aļona Solovjova-Belikova

Founder of Zuzeum and Zuzāns Collection: Jānis Zuzāns