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2000 | 1 | 164-175

Article title

STYLISTIC PARALLELS IN WESTERN AND LATVIAN CONTEMPORARY ART IN THE 2ND HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY (Rietumu un Latvijas 20. gs. otras puses laikmetigas makslas stilistiskas paraleles)


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The article deals with the parallels in Latvian and Western contemporary art. There is no specific reference point in time as the range of material is too broad. Therefore the conceptual origins in Latvia, observable from the late 1960s while Latvia was still under the Soviet system - Hyperrealism, Pop art, performances etc. - that can be considered as contemporary art, in this article are only mentioned in passing. The main accent is on the 1980s and 1990s and the chosen methodology is based on several related directions with clearly expressed stylistic characteristics in the world and Latvia. The article examines the parallels between Latvian new painting and graphics in the 1980s (Ieva IItnere, Franceska Kirke, Aija Zarina, Ojars Petersons and others) and the Italian Transavantgarde, German Neo-expressionism and American Post-modern painting. It looks at the similar tendencies in Russian Sots Art (Komar and Melamid, Bulatov) and the art of Leonards Laganovskis. Latvian object and installation art (Olegs Tillbergs and others) is compared both with older tendencies in Europe, for example Arte Povera, as well as to more recent expressions in the world. Latvian objects may be compared with New British Sculpture - Richard Deacon and Andris Breze - and with the 1990s witty art in public space. Here we can mention the Latvian artists Ojars Petersons, Janis Mitrevics and, for example, the German Martin Kippenberger. Latvia too has seen a flourishing of new media. Alongside photography, which is of a high artistic quality, recognized in the world and similar in style (for example the Latvian Inta Ruka and the Finn Esko Mannikko), the 1980s saw the appearance of video art (Juris Boiko) and the electronic media (the E-Lab group in Riga). Expressions of contemporary art should be evaluated not only in the stylistic but also in the thematic and therefore social context.


  • Helena Demakova, c/o Latvian Academy of Culture, Ludzas iela 24, Riga LV-1003, Latvia


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