This co-production, a set of outdoor art objects by Katrīna Neiburga, Andris Eglītis and Jānis Noviks, was created for the summer program of contemporary art at Klosterruine in central Berlin, the site of a former Franciscan monastery. Since 2016, the Berlin Municipality has been offering a concentrated summer programme of contemporary art exhibitions at the site, inviting artists to create works of art for a public setting. Solvej Helweg Ovesen and Ute Müller-Tischler, the curators of the 2019 season, conceptualized the medieval monastery garden as a place of change and metamorphosis in an allusion to the traditional Garden of Eden, a myth of a “paradise” and several utopias of survival. Following an invitation by the curators, the artist duo Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis teamed up with Jānis Noviks to create an alchemist’s garden and a sculptural playground. As a reference to the past alchemists’ drive to discover the elixir of life and to the modern-day cult of youth, evident in the obsession with plastic surgery, beauty care, fitness and yoga, the installation centers upon reminding us of our own mortality. The artists created a labyrinthine fern garden, placing different art objects inside and offering visitors to take pleasure in new rituals and relaxing experiences, such as sleeping inside “beauty-sleep” capsules, having their backs massaged on acupressure mats, observing the slow decay of a peat sculpture, listening to someone’s whispers, and enjoying a slow ride on a carousel, all the while pondering the transitoriness of things and nature, their own mortality included.
The outdoor installation has been partially restored for Mobile Museum. Next Season and is on show among industrial ruins inside the territory of the former Boļševička textile factory (similarly to the way it was displayed in the original context).
“Our idea was to create a ‘playground-laboratory’ in which everyone can bear their mortality, leave their fears of death and the anxiety about immortality outside the Gray Monastery gate, and enjoy a variety of relaxing and life-assuring experiences: reach the state of fulfilment and mindfulness by enjoying the rain in custom-made beauty-sleep pods, experience acupuncture of the pranamat carpet between silently whispering reeds. Through the fern maze, enjoy the light game of the colourful stained-glass windows and contemplate the slow decay of sculptures made of turf; or get a slow ride on a carousel, looking at the surrounding landscape as the scenery of passing time.”
- Katrīna Neiburga’s and Andris Eglītis’ decription of the project
Katrīna Neiburga (1978) is an artist making installations, light and video projections as well as scenography. She creates works for opera and theater productions. Employing an anthropological approach, she researches the life experiences of different people and turns to everyday phenomena that are often either overlooked or ignored, depicting interesting and often intimate and personal stories. Katrīna Neiburga graduated from the Visual Communication Department of the Art Academy of Latvia in 2000, and she studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm from 1999 to 2000. She has been participating in exhibitions since 2000, including the biennials of Sidney (2006), Moscow (2007), Venice (2015), Kochi-Muziris (2016) and Rīga (2018). In 2015, together with artist Andris Eglītis, she represented Latvia at the 56th Venice Biennale with the project titled Armpit. Andris Eglītis (1981) is an artist associated with the medium of painting, but large-scale architectural installations likewise occupy a significant place in his art practice. He is a graduate of the Painting Department of the Art Academy of Latvia (2005) and the Higher Institute for Fine Arts (HISK) in Ghent, Belgium (2013). Jānis Noviks (1989) is an artist solving the topics interesting to him using large-scale sculptural objects and installations, paying particular attention to sound and movement. He holds a master’s degree from the Painting Department of the Art Academy of Latvia (2015).
Thursdays and Fridays: 14:00-20:00;
Former textile factory “Boļševicka”,
Ganību dambis 30