29.08. - 19.10.2019 MARKO MÄETAMM & HELENA HEINRIHSONE "How Marko Mäetamm met Helena Heinrihsone"

29.08. - 19.10.2019

Galerija "Māksla XO"

Elizabetes iela 14, Rīga, LV 1010


“How Marko Mäetamm met Helena Heinrihsone”

One of Estonia's most prominent contemporary artists Marko Mäetamm and one of the brightest Latvian painters Helēna Heinrihsone met for the first time in 1998 at the artist residency Litografiska Academia in Tidaholm, Sweden.
The idea about a joint exhibition emerged, when the artists met again after 20 years – at the contemporary art fair ART VILNIUS 2018.
The exhibition is about the wish to “connect the incompatible” or to highlight each other, or to compose a portrait story about the artist and his/her art.

Helena Heinrihsone. From Swamps. 2019

Thoughts about the friendship with the known Estonian artist led me to a reflection on the evolution of humanity through the centuries. The development of the body, the changes of the skull shape – from a boulder to a polished diamond.
The paintings are perceived as the alphabet of development with a lightness of watercolour and a touch of fun – Latvians, a thieving nation living in trees, and Estonians – early inhabitants of peat bogs.” (
Helena Heinrihsone, 2019)

I met Helena three times. First it was I think… 1998. I happened to take part of one lithography workshop in Tidaholm, Sweden. They had invited one artist from each Baltic country and from Latvia they had invited Helena. I didn’t know much about Latvian art scene and I didn’t know Helena and her work. And I am sure she didn’t know me and my work either.
Second time I met Helena in Vilnius Art Fair in 2018. Although we hadn’t seen each other for almost 20 years it felt like we were good old friends. And comparing to Tidaholm it was much more fun there. We were sitting in Art Fair VIP Lounge and drinking fancy glowing cocktails surrounded by blue light and cool people dressed in black.

Marko Mäetamm. Party! 2019

Third time I met Helena half a year later in Riga. Helena’s gallerist Ilze had come out with the plan of making our joint exhibition and I went to see Helena’s studio.
To see Helena’s studio I first had to go and stay in Helena’s apartment. Helena’s apartment was mind blowing. And Helena’s hospitality was mind blowing. A lot of red wine, delicious food, interesting conversations about art, airplane crashes and life on Mars. All through the night. In the morning when I climbed up to Helena’s studio upstairs she was already working. Large paintings everywhere. Some finished, some she had only started. I didn’t want to disturb her so I was just looking around to see if I can find some ideas for my works in our joint exhibition. On one table I found a book, a golden book “1000 NUDES Uwe Scheid Collection”. I started to look at it and sucked me in so I completely forgot where I was and why. And who I was. And of course I forgot about time so I missed my bus back to Tallinn and had to stay in Riga for another night. When I eventually got back to Tallinn I was so disappointed getting myself attracted by this book and not looking enough Helena’s works to get some ideas.
Some months later I started my series about nudes and women. I didn’t see any particular reason why I wanted to do this but I wanted. And I was really enjoying it. Then suddenly I realized - this was all because of this book I saw in Helena’s studio! And these are all these works I want to show together with her!”
(Marko Mäetamm, 2019)

Helena Heinrihsone is one of the brightest and the most versatile artists in Latvian art, who works not only in painting, but also in watercolour, lithography, photography, porcelain painting and animation. It is in her power to change, go into the unknown, and discover the new and return to the once found.
The painter has received The Art Academy Award (2016), Lielais Kristaps – Prize of Latvian Filmmakers Union – “Best Animation Artist” (2008), The Annual Prize of Latvian Museum (2007). In 2008, Helēna Heinrihsone was awarded with the Order of the Three Stars – order awarded for merits in service for Latvia.
Helena Heinrihsone has graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia (1973).  Her works are in public collections - Latvian National Museum of Art (Riga, Latvia), Museum Ludwig (Köln, Germany), State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), Zimmerly Art Museum (New Jersey, USA), and Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NY, USA).

Marko Mäetamm’s art practice is very autobiographical, focusing on family life and society, exploring the grey area between what is private and public through a variety of media such as photography, sculpture, animations, painting, and text.
He has graduated from the Graphic Art Department of the Estonian Academy of Arts (1995). In 2003 and 2007, he represented Estonia at the La Biennale di Venezia.
Marko Mäetamm has received various awards –Kristjan Raud annual art award (2000), Baltic Assembly prize (2009) and others. In 2008, Marko Mäetamm was awarded Order of the White Star V Class – the recognition for services rendered to the Estonian state.

Exhibition supported by: