The exhibition Synergy - Contemporary Trends in Metal Art and Design at Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga
Exhibition traces the current trends in the field, the artists’ working directions and creative endeavours for experimental and classical forms in jewellery art, objects and design, aiming to highlight peculiarities and specifics in synergy with the material, which can reveal itself in form, structure, rhythm, colour, light, visual, spatial and psychological perception of the object as well as the synthesis of various senses.
The realisation of the project was motivated by the fact that there has been a lack of exhibitions that would popularise contemporary trends in metal art and provide a broader overview of the work of a group of artists engaged in this sphere. Therefore, one of the goals of the exposition is to draw attention to metal art as a field of art, to see similarities and search for differences in the dialogue among the artists.
Metal art is an active phenomenon in Latvian history of culture with developed traditions – beginning from the goldsmiths’ guilds in Riga and the smiths in forges all the way to forging and casts in the Soviet ideological climate and contemporary authors, whose expressions vary from individual search for form in the context of art to the fulfilling of standard commercial orders merging into the field of contemporary design and entrepreneurship.
An important ‘school’ of metal art as a medium of expression in Latvia is connected to the Department of Metal Design established in 1961 at the Art Academy of Latvia. Most metal artists in Latvia have graduated from it (e.g., Māris Šustiņš, Valdis Brože, Armands Vecvanags, Uģis Traumanis, and others). There are also notable masters who have acquired education elsewhere, for example, at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn (Tallinn Art Institute 1944–1989) (e.g., Juris Gagainis, Māris Auniņš, Andris Lauders, Guntis Lauders). Today’s opportunities to study abroad have to be taken into account as well, marking new artistic strategies in the work of the authors, especially younger generation.
The exhibition has a catalogue that allows not only to get to know better creative biographies of the artists and their works, but also offers an overview of the metal art and design tendencies in recent past and today.