Paula Zariņa-Zēmane. The Still Point of the Turning World
Paula Zariņa-Zēmane’s personal exhibition “The Still Point of the Turning World” will be on view in the Creative Studio of the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Torņa iela 1, 2nd floor) from 21 July to 20 August 2017.

Young Latvian painter Paula Zariņa-Zēmane got the impulse for such a poetic exhibition title from American-English author and playwright Thomas Stearns Eliot’s (1888–1965) set of poems Four Quartets (1943). It contains a phrase about a still point where all the contradictions of the world come together in harmony. In Paula Zariņa-Zēmane’s case, the still point of the turning world is to be found in each of the works which show a search for an intermediate state between the spiritual and earthly lives. Excessive movement makes us anxious, while lack of forward progress induces boredom. The artist paints places that give one the opportunity to enjoy peace and quiet – even when the surrounding world is turning faster than ever.


Paula Zariņa-Zēmane’s latest works move further from representation of nature, allowing the viewer’s imagination play an ever bigger part. They are the associations perceived by the author in landscapes – mystical moments realised in large-format, tonally sensitive oil paintings, where an image occasionally appears. Each brushstroke is an emotional but concentrated process that fills the canvas with delicate, sometimes even imperceptible reflections of the experienced moments creating an endless flow of consciousness.


In his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984) a Czech-born French writer Milan Kundera asks: “But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid? The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.” Paula Zariņa-Zēmane’s exhibition is playing between the big opposites – heavy and light, dark and bright, peace and movement. A balance point appears to break the excess realities.




Paula Zariņa-Zēmane (1988) graduated from master’s studies at the Department of Painting at the Art Academy of Latvia. She has held several important personal exhibitions at art gallery Māksla XO, as well as at Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre and the Summer House of the Foundation Mākslai vajag telpu. In 2016, the artist’s works were exhibited at the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art as part of the project Tension. The Young in Latvian Painting III, as well as in the Cēsis Art Festival exhibition Contemporary Landscape in the Old Brewery.



Līna Birzaka-Priekule, Exhibition Curator, Head of the Creative Studio at the ARSENĀLS Exhibition Hall, Latvian National Museum of Art


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