From October 10 until November 30, 2013 across both of its spaces the Mūkusala Art Salon will be presenting Nudity – a chronological overview of the representation of the naked human figure or the genre of the nude in art from the beginning of the 20th century until today.
The visual metaphor of the exhibition is a nude by Leonards Laganovskis, which was created as a reference to Gustave Courbet’s painting L'Origine du monde (The Origin of the World) (1866). The unflinching gaze of the French realist in painting only the female sex, has been quoted in works by subsequent artists, as well as analysed in texts on questions of female representation as one of the first radical examples of body fragmentation. The discovery in early 2013 that L'Origine du monde most likely is only a part of a larger painting and that initially the image included the woman’s head and shoulders, creates a rift in the interpretation of this iconic work, highlighting the contingency of any view or supposition on historical facts and context.
A naked person is a person without clothes. Nude is a genre of art that has been a constant presence in Western culture with its own traditions and iconography. Basing its imagery on Ancient mythology and Biblical motifs, the image of the naked woman in visual art for a long time was predominantly a source of ocular pleasure for the male viewer. During the 20th century the nude has become both an established form of kitsch, and undergone a deconstruction by Feminism and other critical theories. The exhibitionNudity traces the transformations of the nude, starting from classical examples of the early 20th century and concluding with postmodern games with art-historical examples, references to visual culture and nudity as a conscious artistic means for expression of ideas outside the traditional rhetoric of the genre.
The exposition is approximately divided in three sections.
The early part of the 20th century, with nudes by the old masters of Latvian painting – Janis Rozentāls, Jānis Valters, Kārlis Brencēns, Konrāds Ubāns, Valdemārs Tone and others.
Mid-20th century – 1950s to 1980s – is represented, among others, by Biruta Baumane, Boriss Bērziņš, Felicita Pauļuka, Edvīns Kalnenieks, Pēteris Postažs.
The contemporary nude of early 21st century, created by artists such as Leonards Laganovskis, Helēna Heinrihsone, Vilnis Zābers, Rudīte Dreimane, Oļegs Kuļiks, Vladimirs Glušenkovs, Ivars Poikāns, Otto Zitmanis.
The exhibition Nudity from the collection of the Mūkusala Art Salon presents works by more than 50 authors.
Diāna Barčevska, curator of the exhibition
Image: Leonards Laganovskis. “Nude”. 1982. Oil on cardboard. 94 x 85 cm. Collection of the Mūkusala Art Salon. Photo: Jānis Pipars