adrián villar rojas in riboca
Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA), a major new biennial in Riga, Latvia, is pleased to announce the artists who will participate in the first edition. Entitled Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More, the chief curator of RIBOCA1 Katerina Gregos, who has been instrumental in setting up the biennial alongside founder and commissioner Agniya Mirgorodskaya.
A total of 99 artists including 10 collectives will be participating in the biennial. Almost a third of the participating artists are from the Baltic countries, while almost 70% of the total are from the Baltic region (including Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Germany). The rest of the artists come from countries as diverse as Korea, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, South Africa, the United States and Canada, as well as Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.
The title of first edition of RIBOCA, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More, is borrowed from the book written by the Russian author Alexei Yurchak of the same name. The book references the paradox of sudden but expected social and political change as it occurred in the Soviet Union. Taking the title of Yurchak’s book as a metaphor for the present moment of accelerated transitions, the exhibition will reflect on the process of change and how this is registered, anticipated, experienced, grasped, assimilated and dealt with at a time of rapid transformations.
As chief curator Katerina Gregos states, “Whereas many biennials and large-scale exhibitions recently have been quite retrospective – anachronistic, even – looking to the past and harking back to lost political and social utopias, the first edition of the Riga Biennial will set its eyes firmly on the present and the near future of the human condition as we approach the second quarter of the twenty first century. It will explore the shifts that have been taking place in the region but will also contextualize these into a broader picture, as the world is now decidedly interconnected. The biennial will be regional in its geopolitical focus but global in its examination of the issues that concern us all. From the personal to the political and social, to the philosophical and the existential, the Biennial will probe how contemporary artists are responding to some of the major challenges of the day, how they register change, and how they imagine the future. Riga seems to be the perfect place to do this, as a place that has often experienced pivotal change.”