Cult

08.02.2013. - 23.03.2013.
Upper Gallery
Cult
Cult
Cult
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The latest Kārlis Vītols’ solo exhibition - Cult - in comparison to his previous solo shows is promising to be the most political and the most laconic. This time, with the help of objects, the artist explores the national symbols worn by the residents of Latvia - Russians and Latvians - and their significance in the society. At what point do these symbols become instruments in the hands of politicians for causing the desired collision of two forces, and when do they turn into source of national pride? When individual necessity to wear a national symbol is a testament to reverence or nostalgy for a state long gone, and when does it amount to incitement to hatred?

In seven video screens the artist creatively interprets the speech by then-Prime Minister Aigars Kalvītis, broadcast on December 31, 2005, which announced the beginning of the “seven fat years”: “Dear compatriots, if we avoid silly mistakes, we can look forward to seven years of prosperity. Years of fatness, if we remember the story about Joseph. We are already world champions in terms of the rate of development, and in the next decade we can realise those dreams we all had during the time of barricades – to be masters of our own country and not migrant workers in a foreign land.”*

Being socially engaged, Kārlis Vītols reacts to social processes and dares to reflect on the current issues in his works, trying to narrow the gap between everyday life and “unworldly art”. In his view, popular culture and mankind’s mythical worldview from prehistory to our time deserves constant attention. Himself being a full-blooded member of society, the artist is engaged in recognising mythological characters and their transformation today: veneration of artificial beauty, interaction between the masculine and feminine worlds, the metamorphosis of false gods into pop-culture idols, etc.

Up to now the artist has been better known for large-format figurative compositions and bright computer-animated films. Kārlis Vītols has graduated from Department of Graphic Art  (2001), and Department of Painting (2003), as well as earning a Master’s degree in fine arts at the Art Academy of Latvia. He is self-taught in animation and music, with which he mostly accompanies his films. Lately he has turned to drawing comics and widening his means of artistic expression, by using objects and installations. He has held seven solo exhibitions: “Drawings” (2012), “Saga: Botox” (2011), “Eclipse” (2009), “Acid” (2007), “The Garden of Fetish” (2006), “Two Painters from Latvia” (2005), “Steering to Sun” (2003). Participates in group exhibitions since 1997.



Sniedze Kāle, art historian



Publicity image: Kārlis Vītols. Portrait of Mother. 2012. Computer graphics.

Authors:
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