Ieva Epnere Pyramiden and Other Stories
21.11.2015 – 17.01.2016 Ieva Epnere Pyramiden and Other Stories
curator: Magda Kardasz
cooperatiom: Karolina Bielawska
The Pyramiden and Other Stories exhibition in Warsaw gives one the opportunity to confront Epnere’s newest project with a selection of her earlier works. It seems that the point of departure for all of them is the artist’s intention to reveal the spiritual aspect of art.
Film Solo (2008) is a double portrait — of a music teacher and a boy practicing singing under her guidance. Extreme Fugue for One Voice. Laima (2013) is another portrait of an artist in Epnere’s oeuvre. The singer is filmed close up and from different angles while performing a piece by a young avant-garde composer – Evija Skuke. Another film by Epnere Renunciation (2014), focuses on the search for beauty and the deep (mystical and religious) experience of art. The main character, a priest and an admirer of beauty, serves in a Catholic province of Suiti, where he reconstructs the unique local traditions (such as Fauxbourdon singing which he introduced to the mass), as well as conservation of historical objects (chasubles). The three films described above are shown in a sequence. They are screened in the underground part of the gallery, arranged in a manner which helps one to better concentrate. A slide show of the first important work of the artist – a series of poignant black and white photos of circus artists – is shown in the adjacent space. The probing eye of the artist has recorded the fit (though not necessarily beautiful) bodies, the cheapness of the entourage, the very special close relationship between people and their animal partners.
Ieva Epnere’s exhibition at Zachęta Project Room plays with chronology. The viewer is first invited to see the artist’s newest piece, Pyramiden, which was inspired by her trip to an abandoned old Soviet base/coal mine in Spitzbergen. The place, the name of which is the same as the film’s title (Four Edges of Pyramiden), was founded in the 1940’s and functioned as a communist propaganda flagship project until the fall of the Soviet Union. When the artist arrived, it was already in a state of inertia and abandonment, lost to the world. She photographed and filmed the astounding nature around the place – with the majestic mountain in the form of a pyramid cut up by mining equipment, the jetty-like wooden sidewalks, the deserted buildings or the object-filled spaces which were once the set design of the Soviet reality now gone. Ieva Epnere would not be herself if she didn’t confront these images with the stories of the people, whose fate have taken them to this extraordinary place. The conversations with these people unravelling the different life paths delineated by history are an important part of the film. What they all have in common is the fascination with this special place at the end of the world, far from civilization or time. There is a specific cult with which they approach this place which, as may be gathered from their stories, gives them almost mystical experiences. The tropes seen in the Pyramiden appeared for the first time in Ieva Epnere’s solo exhibition at the Kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga, in August this year.
The project has been made with the use of different means. There is the film, but also photographs in different sizes – close ups and shots from far away, some framed, others adhered directly on the wall or printed on fabric and scattered on the floor (like bunched up cloth or ice crystals). Elements which serve as references to the iceberg landscape are also to be found in fragments of the exposition’s architecture.
Pyramiden and Other Stories
21.11.2015 – 17.01.2016
Zachęta Project Room
ul. Gałczyńskiego 3, 00-362 Warsaw
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tuesday–Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Special thanks to: Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in the Republic of Poland
sponsors of the opening ceremony: Freixenet, Chocolissimo
media patronage: The Warsaw Voice, Stolica, Artinfo.pl