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RIGA - A new art museum in the city of new art museums

For quite a while now there have been heated discussions about the need for a contemporary art museum in Riga city. While the COVID-19 crisis shifted our attention to other problems, a new contemporary art space – ZUZEUM Art Centre –appeared in Riga.

The former cork factory of 1,100 square metres has been transformed into a lively art centre incorporating exhibition space, sculpture garden, workshop area, cafe, art shop and roof terrace with expansive views over life in the busy city. Located between the city centre and railway station, the art centre becomes part of further development in the area, which will soon welcome the new Rail Baltica network that will connect the three Baltic capitals and Finland to the rest of the European rail system.

The entrance to the gallery is situated through the sculpture garden, which is a public area that invites local community, passers-by and visitors to stop and enjoy a well-designed outdoor space. This has already become a favourite spot for Instagram selfies. The different parts of ZUZEUM have one common feature – the colour orange that leads visitors throughout the centre. Remarkable small details as well as the artworks can be found throughout the space, highlighting the history of the building and the alterations it required to find its new identity.

Zuzeum Art Centre was founded by Dina and Janis Zuzans – art lovers, collectors and the most visible art patrons in Latvia. The Zuzans Collection consists of more than 20,000 artworks and is the largest private collection of Latvian art. The art centre opened with the exhibition “We Aim to Live” displaying recently acquired contemporary paintings, sculptures and ceramics from the Zuzans Collection. The exhibition contains artworks acquired from different countries – Latvia, Estonia, Russia, USA, UK, France, Germany, Finland and others – many of the artists are Latvian expatriates. Covering various themes, the artworks encourage spectators to ponder, “body, identity, and feelings, crossing borders, fake news, technology, aliens, death, nature, love, the universe, and hope” placing it broadly in a contemporary perspective.

Zuzeum offers guided tours and talks about the exhibition, as well as films, DJ nights, meditation and other events when the situation allows with the aim of bringing art closer to everyone and vice versa.

Though Zuzeum will not replace the awaited contemporary art museum, it is definitely a valuable addition to the Latvian art ecosystem. Its unconstrained atmosphere allows visitors to engage with the building, its space and to get acquainted with at least part of the contemporary art scene in Latvia. A unified design and bold identity for the space itself helps visitors open up to new experiences and unique encounters.

Images: Courtesy of Zuzeum

“We Aim to Live” is on until 10 January 2021

Zuzeum Art Centre

101 Lacplesa Street, Riga

Wed–Sun 11.00 – 19.00


Written by Live Svarce.

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