Divdabis. Duet of Artists from Different Eras: Oļegs Tillbergs / Jānis Filipovičs
From 8 July to 6 August 2017, the third and final exhibition of Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art’s exhibition cycle “Divdabis” will be on show at the 4th Floor Exhibition Halls of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1), featuring a strong duet of installation artists of two different time periods Oļegs Tillbergs and Jānis Filipovičs.



The concluding episode of the exhibition cycle Divdabis presents the encounter between artists Oļegs Tillbergs and Jānis Filipovičs, demonstrating both boyish competition and a moving necessity to talk about personally and universally significant questions.


Installation is the main means of expression for both artists – if for Tillbergs it is a monumental materialisation of an idea, not being afraid to realise the most daring concepts, then Filipovičs’ installations mostly are charged with ambiguous and ironically formulated linguistic pirouettes, which help to turn everyday objects into works of art. Exhibition curators Solvita Krese and Diāna Popova reveal that in terms of scale and materiality this is the largest and most ambitious duet of artists.


Oļegs Tillbergs is the internationally best known Latvian artist of the 1980s – 1990s, one of the generation of “trespassers” of the time, who bravely experimented with new forms of expression, crossing the familiar borders of contemporary art, as well as on several occasions including socio-political criticism in his works. Tillbergs’ spatial sculptures are made as multi-layered, large-format constructions of poetic images where existential feelings merge with considerations about absolute values, adding a lightly patinated layer of memories. Using unusual objects in his impressive installations – Soviet warplanes, excavator buckets, whale bones and others, master turns them into socio-political as well as metaphorical statements.


In the early 90s, while making the installation Flood (1994), Tillbergs gathered hundreds of rusty buckets during his regular roams through Riga allotment gardens. Now he has reconstructed it especially for the Divdabis exhibition, this time using social networks and inviting residents of Latvia to take part in the gathering of buckets, letting the artist’s work become a result of a collective experience. Moreover, an aggregation of countless rusted buckets are surrounded by white sheets, creating a spatial painting kept in the characteristic colour palette of the classic of Latvian art Vilhelms Purvītis. Thus the artwork is to be read as testament to individual and collective experience, drawing reflections on people’s destinies and the flow of time.


The installation Flood also serves as the point of departure for the development of Jānis Filipovičs’ idea, building a provocative, ironically witty interplay with Tillbergs’ oeuvre. With playful humour Filipovičs goes straight for the transformation of the buckets and imbues them with a new form and function, making heard the echo of the absurd grouping of words characteristic of “Sots Art” and showing the approaches popular in the DIY culture.


In the second hall Jānis Filipovičs elaborates the subject of “frying” and, identifying himself as a grillmaster in a black apron, puts tin soldiers on spits like juicy pieces of meat, thereby turning this childhood toy into an apt symbol. “Jānis Filipovičs’ works stand out with sparkling humour and lively imagination. In making witty objects from everyday sources, he also weaves in political and social critique. By analysing the drastically changing political situation in the modern world, the escalation of military conflicts and simultaneously the start of the grilling season in our latitude, in one of the installations the artist will develop the subject of collective frying,” tells Solvita Krese.



Oļegs Tillbergs (1956) studied at the Department of Interior and Design at the Art Academy of Latvia. Since the mid-1980s, Tillbergs has taken part in exhibitions where he started his career as an installation artist. He began working in the genre of installation at a time when it was neither a recognised nor appreciated form of artistic expression in the institutional art scene. Together with Sarmīte Māliņa and Sergey Davidoff he organised provocative performances Cages (1987) and Children of the Staburags (1988) in public space.


Oļegs Tillbergs earned broad recognition in the 1990s, being one of the best known Latvian representatives of the genre of monumental and poetic installation, took part in many international exhibitions in Cracow, Berlin, Kiel, Rostock, Helsinki, as well as the São Paulo Biennial in 1994. Received the prestigious Ars Fennica prize in Finland for the exhibition Conjuncture (1994), which also included the installation Flood. Currently works as associated professor at the Department of Environmental Art of the Faculty of Design at the Art Academy of Latvia.


Jānis Filipovičs (1978) studied metal design at the Riga College of Applied Arts, earned a master’s degree from the Department of Visual Communication at the Art Academy of Latvia. Has also studied advertising, welding and basic pedagogy.


Jānis Filipovičs has taken part in several group exhibitions: You Are What You Love (2015) in Kaņepe’s Culture Centre, On the Wave (2014) in Riga Art Space, Greetings, Head! (2014) in Latvian Railway History Museum, Mother Wind (2011) in Hamburg, A Smiling Lady on a Tiger (2010) in Bremen, The Way (2010) in Riga International Airport, as well as in contemporary art festival Survival Kit (2010). The exhibition Пчеловек / Pchelovek, which took place in the Office Gallery of the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art in 2014 was the artist’s first personal exhibition.



From May to August 2017, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) organizes a cycle of exhibitions in the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) bringing together two different personalities and space-times of Latvian art. The LCCA has chosen three vivid duos that include notable artists of their epoch: Jānis Borgs and Kaspars Groševs, Atis Ieviņš and Inga Meldere, Oļegs Tillbergs and Jānis Filipovičs. Specially for these exhibitions, works made in the 70–90s of the 20th century have been reconstructed and new works are produced, surveying the conditions and context which has affected creative processes in different eras.


A string of artists which were active in the 1970s – 1990s have traced the development of Latvian contemporary art and have become important markers on the art map. Nevertheless, for several decades their work has only fragmentarily been accessible to the general public. Through the reconstruction and interpretation of works from this period, the cycle of exhibitions is an attempt to fill in the blank or little-known chapters in art history, and, in a broader sense – to make these works and their context accessible to a contemporary audience.



The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA), curator and producer of national and international art events, is the largest contemporary art institution in Latvia. Since 1993, it studies and shapes contemporary art processes both in Latvia and abroad, with the aim of provoking a critical reflection on contemporary societal issues. Among the hallmarks of the LCCA is the most ambitious annual contemporary art event in Latvia, Survival Kit, exhibitions of contemporary art at the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Year of Hardijs Lediņš as well as the representation of Latvia in such international events as Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Venice Art Biennale, Bienal de São Paulo, Manifesta, Rauma Contemporary Art Biennale, and others. The LCCA maintains the only archive of Latvian contemporary art.









Solvita KreseInga LāceAndra SilapētereDiāna Popova,

Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art



Ieva Kalnača, Exhibition Curator, Latvian National Museum of Art


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