06.05. - 31.05.2021 KRISTAPS GELZIS "Artifacts"

06.05. - 31.05.2021

Galerija "Māksla XO"

Elizabetes iela 14, Rīga, LV 1010



The means by which you can reflect your thought process are completely irrelevant. The only difference is whether you are looking forwards, backwards or at your shoes" - Kristaps Gelzis.

Kristaps Gelzis’ exhibition “Artifacts” brings together twenty-one artworks created by the artist between 1985 and 2011. Most of these works have been kept in the artist's studio for many years and are completely unknown to the audiences, whereas some of them have been exhibited abroad, but never in Latvia.
The diverse scope of artworks displayed at the exhibition “Artifacts” is characteristic of Kristaps Gelzis’ art and covers a wide range of fine art forms, materials and techniques, starting from the first etchings by Kristaps Gelzis of the 1980s, light boxes and objects of the 1990s, giant digital prints made in the 2000s, exhibited at Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport in Sweden, at the Tallinn 12th Graphic Triennial in Estonia, at the Central House of Artists in Moscow, Russia, up to the large-format watercolours created in 2011...
Kristaps Gelzis’ personality and art is one of the most significant, contemporary and spectacular phenomena of Latvian contemporary art. Since the 1980s, his art has encouraged to promote and advance intercultural dialogue not only at local, but also international scale.
Kristaps Gelzis is a sharp observer and a smart thinker, which materializes in his works. His main focus is on dissection of things we dont talk about on daily basis. Using the international language of art – symbols and archetyipes, ever since his first solo show “The Ark” (1987) Kristaps Gelzis has spoken starkly and sincerely about the events of his time, about how one feels today, about one's place in the country and about the country as such. This has become especially apparent in the artworks of recent years, where the words chosen by Kristaps Gelzis are most often related to the problematic Latvian national identity and statehood.                   
The chosen technique is closely linked to the subject matter of Kristaps Gelzis – the main idea of the work and the spirit of the time. It often takes viewer by surprise – in 2012, after large-scale watercolours, for whom he was awarded Purvitis Prize 2011, after huge, fluorescent landscape paintings, which attracted international attention at the 54th Venice Bienniale, and black drawings, made with hatching technique, Kristaps Gelzis came up with plactic paintings – his own author-technique, where the used materials are polyethylene and plastic tapes, adhesive tape and acrylic pigment. (Ilze Zeivate, 2021)

"The higher you climb, the more narrow is the circle that understands it and appreciates you...
You must see who you are, where you are - that's the idea I’ve got. You have to learn to see the miserable or wonderful state you are in. You can never realize it by looking only at yourself" - Kristaps Gelzis, 1994.

Kristaps Gelzis has graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia, Department of Graphic Art (1986). Since 2011, Kristaps Gelzis is an Associate Professor at the Department of Graphic Art of the Art Academy of Latvia. In 2011 Kristaps Gelzis represented Latvia at the 54th Venice Biennale with the solo show “Artificial Peace. Contemporary Landscape” with fluorescent paintings in Venice, Italy. He received Purvitis Prize 2011 for watercolour paintings on paper from his solo exhibition “Maybe” (Maksla XO Gallery, 15.10.-03.11.2009). Since 1985, Kristaps Gelzis has organized 21 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 100 group shows in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Hungary and Russia.
Works by Kristaps Gelzis are in public collections: Latvian National Museum of Art,
Latvian Contemporary Art Museum Collection, Museum of Artists' Union of Latvia, ZUZEUM Contemporary Art Collection (Riga, Latvia), Tukums Art Museum (Tukums, Latvia), Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma (Helsinki, Finland), Luciano Benetton Art Collection (Treviso, Italy), The European Parlament Art Collection (Brussels, Belgium), Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA), Bank of Latvia Collection, Swedbank Contemporary Art Collection, Signet Bank Art Collection (Riga, Latvia).

Thanks for the support in creating the exhibition:
State Culture Capital Foundation (SCCF)
Information Center  of the Art Academy of Latvia
Arnis Stasaaitis, Egils Mednis and EM DIZAINS
Arija Ubarste

More about the exhibition: