The river flows always
RIGA 30 October – 19 December Gallery 427 Tiled River Jānis Dzirnieks
Gallery 427 is Riga’s central artist-run non-commercial space that was opened in 2014 and since then has complemented the city's art scene with more experimental and playful expressions of artistic freedom. 427 is an important place if you want to acquaint yourself with less conventional contemporary art practices primarily by (but not limited to) emerging Latvian and international artists that work within and around different branches of post-conceptualism.
In the gloominess of November, a solo exhibition titled, Tiled River by Latvian artist Jānis Dzirnieks is on view until 19 December. Jānis Dzirnieks lives and works in Rotterdam and Riga, and has been more widely known as a member of the artist collective 3/8. Exhibitions at 427 can usually be easily viewed from the outside because the space is quite small and the windows are big enough to look through as you pass by, but not this time. Jānis Dzirnieks has covered the gallery's windows and doors with the plywood boards, thereby obscuring the exhibition from passersby. This concealment is closely linked to the concept of the exhibition – irony about the visual irritation from ubiquitous advertisements that increasingly frame our everyday experience.
Pop-up ads in social media or banners on other internet platforms catch (or rather stalk) our attention and have become an inevitable part of our communication with the outside world. Blocking exposure is one way to enclose Dzirnieks’ artworks and make them self-sufficient and isolated from the outside world.
Tiled River is a series of paintings that can be described as witty paraphrases of the contemporary conditions of image culture and the state of the “hyperimage” that we live in. The artist has transformed this never ending flow, this abundance of pictures and images constantly selling us something into a series of unusual tile compositions. The glossy aesthetics of advertising, half-naked bodies and white-teeth-smiles in Dzirnieks' works are distorted as semi-abstractions, where colours and forms interact with the soft smoothness of the tile’s surface.
Titles like, What Kind of Body Do You Like? or 11 Things Men Find Disgusting About Their Partner, seem like absurd stylizations of lifestyle magazine topics and imagery so characteristic of our consumerist society and mass culture. Jānis Dzirnieks blurs and merges all of these elements to form stunning visual errors and freezing glitches. The metaphor of the river seems an accurate way to describe our relationships with the internet environment – Jānis Dzirnieks has turned this dramaturgy into a synthetic beauty of polystyrene and epoxy resin, smudged excerpts of virtual reality that demonstrates a conceptual yet elegant use of images, forms and materials.
On until 19 December
Gallery 427, Stabu iela 70, Rīga
30 October – 19 December
Written by Santa Hirša
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