En route to the Museum of Contemporary Art - exhibition of the best collections in the Baltic region

From 12 September to 25 October 2015 at the Art Museum Rīga Bourse (6 Doma Square, Rīga, LV-1050), a contemporary art exhibition “With Seven-League Boots. First Station – Denmark” will be on view as part of Boris and Ināra Teterev’s arts programme TÊTE-À-TÊTE 2015. En route to the nascent Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, this is the first exhibition in which, in collaboration with the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation is introducing the general public to the very best examples of the contemporary art collections of museums in the Baltic Sea region.

“In future, we would like the nascent Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art to become an important arts centre in the Baltic Sea region. An equally important task is to stimulate the curiosity of the Latvian general public about manifestations of contemporary art both here in Latvia and elsewhere in the region. Therefore, we are delighted by the educational programme augmenting the exhibition, which is adapted to the interests of each and every visitor, ranging from the smallest viewers to experts in contemporary art. We hope that every step with seven-league boots en route to the museum will bring us closer to this objective!” emphasises Boris Teterev.

The first collection to be chosen is the contemporary collection of the Tønder Museum of Art, which in 2010 won the award for “Museum of the Year” in Denmark. Among the artists whose masterpieces will be exhibited in the Rīga exhibition of works from the collection, whose patron is Prince Joachim of Denmark, will be globally renowned figures such as Per Kirkeby (Denmark), Georg Baselitz (Germany), Ian Mckeever (United Kingdom), Troels Wörsel (Denmark), Kain Tapper (Finland) and Ola Billgren (Sweden) and others. Overall, the collection focuses on 20th and 21st century trends in Northern European art, placing special emphasis on Danish artists. Paintings, objects, installations and photography are the art forms that define one of the basic propositions of contemporary art, i.e. “Ideas alone can be works of art” (Sol LeWitt).

In 2005, four of the works on view in the exhibition were chosen for inclusion in Latvia’s collection of contemporary art. These are four photographs by Tuomo Manninen which were taken in Rīga in 1997.

The project’s curator is Norbert Weber who has arranged several exhibitions in Northern and Eastern Europe including “RADAR”, the 14th Baltic Sea Biennale (Rostock, Germany, 1992), “Distant Lighthouses” (Porto Brandão, Lisbon, Portugal, 1998), as well as being one of the curators of the Latvian pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2009 where Latvia was represented by Evelīna Deičmane and Miks Mitrēvics. Since 2005, Norbert Weber has been a member of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art’s commission of international experts. Norbert Weber has selected the works for this Rīga exhibition together with Ove Mogensen, Director of the Tønder Museum of Art.

“Outstanding works of art are much more influential than thousands of essays on aesthetics. A museum which accumulates and exhibits such works is a true school of viewing. In order for aesthetic upbringing to succeed, visitors should be encouraged to leave their personal taste “in the cloakroom” by the entrance. Then it is conceivable that a hitherto unnoticed appreciation of art will suddenly awaken. It is the museum’s task to reveal art to the general public. This is best achieved if visitors are not taught, but rather supported unobtrusively, encouraging them to perceive the work of art from another perspective. The museum of art in Tønder, which has a population of 38,000, has proved to be surprisingly successful at this,” stresses the project’s curator Norbert Weber.

The TÊTE-À-TÊTE arts programme is one of the ways in which the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation is facilitating the development and accessibility of culture and art in Latvia. Since 2013, the foundation has also organised an annual arts programme “Art in Public Space”. In 2014, the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation and ABLV Charitable Foundation founded the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation with the objective of using the founders’ funds to carry out the construction of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art in partnership with the government of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Culture, guaranteeing the museum’s operations, governance and development, including the formation, preservation and development of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s collection, in so doing making the museum accessible to the general public. The foundation will ensure the realization of the museum’s conceptual design and its opening to the general public by 18 November 2021.