Kaspars Podnieks (1980)
There can be various methods of “levitation “ – as artworks by Latvian conceptual artist Kaspars Podnieks show as. He combines photography, installation, video and environmental art in his artistic practices. All of Kaspars Podnieks’ works are connected to his native land of Drusti in Latvia. They become motifs which allude to the person’s origin, identity and status. The symbols of homeland are significant to the artist nevertheless they create associations to the spectators by reminding them of their provenance. The artist’s research on village and its people’s daily routine includes the social and political aspects of society as well as the remaining signs of the post-soviet culture. By constantly comparing symbols of different lifestyles, Kaspars Podnieks reveals the features of both, conservative and modernizing society, at the same time highlighting the core human values.
In his “levitation“ Kaspars Podnieks photographs himself and his fellow people from the native Drusti. Himself, alone, and them by themselves, non - digitally lifted above their native village and its landscapes. It is not a manipulation, there's no particular way of processing the image: the artist stands on a small gangway, as if soaring above the land of his birth. You don't see the plank, just a person in the air. Everything is real, but this reality is staged through tension which shoud be understood by the thinking wiewer.
Kaspars Podnieks's conveys about his metaphisical ties with the familiar envinonment of his native Drusti village. Here one can observe a rather paradoxical combination: a blend of urban intellectualism with Latvian country mentality, which hirts at a kind of peasant, slyness, practicality, faith and even naivete and sincerity of the artist that he himself admits.
And besides Podnieks's image is illusory, poetic and it isn't documentary realism, artist tills everything with meaningful angles.
In 2013 Kaspars Podnieks represented Latvia at the 55th Venice Biennale ("North by Northeaste", together with Krišs Salmanis). He received a Master’s degree in Visual Communications from the Art Academy of Latvia in 2007, however, he has been participating in exhibitions since 1998. Kaspars Podnieks has had nine solo shows (in Latvia, Lithuania and Germany) and participates in more than 60 group shows worldwide.
Currently Kaspars Podnieks is living and working in Drusti, at his ancestral home, the place which inspires him the most.
Rommel’s Dairy. Ilze
2013, C-print, 200x140 cm