Arthur Analts with his interactive installation "Matter to Matter" will represent Latvia at the 2018 London Design Biennale which will be held from 4 to 23 September.
The Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) and its department the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (MDAD) coordinate the preparatory process of participation of Latvia at the second London Design Biennale (LDB) in 2018. The author of Latvia’s exposition entitled Matter to Matter is young designer Arthur Analts from the multidisciplinary design company Variant Studio. Project is implemented as a part of international programme of Latvia’s Centenary. Latvia will be represented in this significant forum on design industry for the first time.
“We have enjoyed long-term cooperation with the Latvian National Museum of Art, but this is the first time we have implemented such a project. There are many talents in the field of art in the country and we are pleased that our nation will be presented for the first time in an event as prestigious as the London Design Biennial. Arthur Analts is a young and interesting designer who has created a wonderful object with a deep philosophical context, combining design, spatial and architectural content. We wish him every success in representing Latvia in its centenary at this remarkable event”, says Inga Shina, Chairman of the Board of the Rietumu Bank Charity Fund.
LONDON DESIGN BIENNALE
Building on the enormous success of the inaugural 2016 London Design Biennale, over 40 countries, cities and territories will be welcomed to the second edition of this prestigious global event in response to the theme of ‘Emotional States’.
A highlight on the global cultural design calendar, the Biennale will see some of the world’s most exciting and ambitious designers, innovators and cultural bodies gather in the capital to celebrate the universal power of design and explore the role of design in our collective futures. Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, entries will interrogate how design affects every aspect of people’s lives – the way we live and how we live – and influences our very being, emotions and experiences. Together the countries’ interpretations to the theme will present an exciting laboratory of ideas that will investigate the important relationship between design, strong emotional responses and real social needs.
Immersive installations, engaging art objects, visceral experiences will evoke moods and explore a particular country or city’s design story. National entries will ask: how does design generate, communicate and manipulate emotions? How can design promote and support well-being? Conversely, how can design provoke and address anger and stress? How might emotionally durable designs reduce the impact of consumption and waste? What are the possible consequences of robots as emotional machines? The powerful theme allows visitors to question some of the big issues of our time and interact with brand new work by world-leading architects, designers, scientists, writers, and artists in a broad, vibrant exhibition.
LATVIA’S EXPOSITION MATTER TO MATTER
Latvians live in harmony with nature. 52% of the country is covered by forests which are surrounded by lakes, rivers and the Baltic Sea. Matter to Matter, an installation by Latvian designer Arthur Analts (Variant Studio), reflects on the Latvian relationship with nature with his use of materials, wood and water, and the sophisticated recreation of a natural process. The result is an interactive platform for the transition of matter to matter: gas to liquid.
Artist was inspired by his native city of Riga and its surrounding forests; an area which has its own unique atmosphere and climate due to proximity to the Baltic Sea. This capital city has a constant humidity, or moisture, which often leads to condensation. Analts recreates this physical process using a large green-glazed glass surface. The visually laconic glass wall with some ‘magical effect’ will invite visitors to communicate and interact by leaving their own message.
The installation is a calm, meditative space; a floor of Latvian bark and a large bench of solid birch add a sensory experience, allowing everybody to feel something of Latvia’s sprawling forests. Besides, this art object reflects the state of Latvia, which despite being in a constant state of transition, has a serene and solid core. Latvians are known for being resilient and reserved, their deep roots in Baltic history evidenced by the Latvian language, one of the oldest in Europe.
The apparent simplicity of the design conceals a refined technological solution behind the main feature (the large glazed surface). All elements of the exhibition were developed and manufactured in Latvia, a country increasingly recognised for its ability to harness innovation.
Latvia’s leading innovation in sustainable forestry ensures the continuation of natural ecosystems, creating a benchmark for global ecological developments. Analts identifies that Latvian design, architecture and technology in the 21st century have to be socially and environmentally responsible to maintain Latvia’s coexistence with nature. The designer comments: “With the rapid development of modern technologies and cities, it is important to be aware of our interaction with and impact on the natural environment, which is essential to Latvian culture.”
ABOUT ARTHUR ANALTS AND VARIANT STUDIO
Arthur Analts (Artūrs Analts) is a Latvian artist and designer. He was born in Riga in 1991. After studying sculpture in Riga, Analts moved to London where he completed his degree in Product Design at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art And Design, University of the Arts. Now artist spends his time between London and Riga.
Analts’ most recent exhibitions include Atelier Lachaert Dhanis (Tielrode, Belgium) and Royal Academy of Arts (London, United Kingdom). Works by Arthur Analts are in the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga as well as in several private collections across Europe.
Arthur Analts encapsulates a new, entrepreneurial generation of young Latvians born after the collapse of the Soviet Union – those with a fundamental respect for nature, a curiosity for technology and a positive, international outlook bridging cultural differences between East and West. Analts’ work takes a critical view of political, cultural and environmental issues. While working in various media, Analts’ methodology is consistent – the subject matter of each body of work determines the material and the form, but the outcome is always emotionally charged.
In 2013, Arthur Analts together with Rudolph Strelis (Rūdolfs Strēlis) have founded the Variant, a multidisciplinary design studio based in London and Riga. The studio practices contemporary design, architecture and installation with high added value to each project, whether emotional or purely functional. Innovative experiments with materials and their potential, new technologies, production techniques and scale are key drivers for the ambitious company. Both Arthur and Rudolph take part in every step of the project, starting from research and brainstorming to product development, manufacturing and quality control. Variant Studio is currently working on several projects, including competitions and self-initiated designs.
Latvia is a country on the Baltic Sea between Estonia and Lithuania. Its landscape is remarkable for long, wide beaches as well as dense, sprawling forests. Latvia’s capital is Riga, home to notable vernacular wooden houses, Art Nouveau architecture and a medieval Old Town. Former Soviet housing blocks and modern brutalist structures are discovered on the outskirts of the city.
Latvia celebrates its first centenary since the country was officially established as the Republic of Latvia in 1918. It has been a country in transition, with a history tied to the shifting balance of power between East and West. Following a series of occupations, most significantly from the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Latvia’s independence was restored. Latvia is part of the UN, NATO and joined the EU in 2004. The national currency was replaced by the Euro in 2014. Latvia is now a place of optimistic independence, a cultural and economic bridge between East and West.
THE ACCOMPANYING PROGRAMME FOR THE EXHIBITION
The Latvia’s exposition at the 2018 London Design Biennale will be expanded by a culture programme inspiring to discover Latvia closer.
On 3 September at 20.00 the Pleasance Theatre (Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF) will invite visitors to the première of contemporary dance performance The Invisible Effect featuring a selection of Latvian and British dancers, actors, and musicians. Choreographer Kirill Burlov (“Ballet Rambert”) will bring his contemporary dance expertise and lifelong classical ballet training to stage in this specially sequenced performance with its origins from ancient Baltic ritualistic dance. Burlov succeeds in moving his audience beyond the aesthetics of movement to unveiling their symbolic values. The invisible effect is the mute conversation about female gender now and then.
On 23 September at 19.00 and 24 September at 20.00 audiences are in for a rare treat as The Seasons visits London after its première at the Latvian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. The 50 ft descent into the historic two-century-old grand entrance to the Thames tunnel is the underground setting for this intimate and truly captivating performance. The evening promises to be an immersive experience with extraordinary acoustics for live music concert. The world-renowned Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks’ piano cycle The Seasons will be recited by multi-award winning Latvian pianist Reinis Zariņš and choreographed by ballet soloist Kirill Burlov (Latvian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Northern Ballet, Ballet Rambert, Michael Clark Company). The Seasons portray a dancer’s life from youth to maturity set against stunning sceneries of nature.