Solo show at kim? Centre for Contemporary Arts. Riga, 2012
"Last Birds of Passage"
3 lightboxes, print, 170 x 30 x 20 cm each
The sentence in the middle lightbox is an excerpt from the book with interviews of elderly people remembering times they lived along with Jews before and during the WWII.
This particular story is from a lady (small girl then) who remembers the day almost all of the Jews of the town (501 out of 534) were shot dead on December, 1941,
"There was this sound as if the last birds of passage were leaving. I walked in and asked the father, how come the birds are flying away so late. Father said that these are the screams of humans. It became completely empty and quiet in Aizpute (town)."
"Would Love to Meet a Girl..."
Plywood, plexi, daylights, plastic, spray paint. 88 x 45 x 20 cm
Often true identities of people become visible in anonymous internet comments or dating advertisements with avatars.
One such dating advertisement I found in a free "5 Min" newspaper and it triggered my imagination.
This is the text:
"Would love to meet a girl who honors 9.th of May understaning who was defeated and for what cause.
Not full-bodied. I'm 33, height 170, weight 68"
Photos below give an idea of what 9.th of May mean for many, mostly Russian speaking part of society.
"Sie Soll Leben"
plywood, plastic, spray paint sound recording. 125 x 60 x 30 cm
It's a true story about the birthday party of Amon Goeth, the commandant of the Nazi concentration camp in Płaszów, Poland. Wanting to entertain guests he asked to bring a piano player; he had heard that a young women who had played with Berlin Symphonic orchestra was brought in few days ago.
Natalia Karp played a Nocturne of Chopin and it made such an impression on Goeth that he exclaimed, "Sie Soll Leben" (She shall live). She survived, indeed, although later had been transferred to Aushwitz.
The Nocturne can be heard in the background of the artwork.
"The Door is Open, You Are Free to Leave"
Plywood, paint, daylight, plastic
A young poet Knuts Skujenieks studied literature in Moscow during 1960ies.
Apparently he had read not the right books and said things no favourable to USSR.
A year after the graduation Knuts was put on trial and sentenced to 7 years in Siberian labour camps. He served all the years along with hardcore criminals.
In a recent interview he was asked if he had ever been afraid while in Gulag.
"Very soon I was not scared anymore. Because I knew one thing - the last word is up to me. I can commit suicide."
This text can be read when looking into the box. Inside, sitting on a bed and staring at the wall is a figurine, but no camera lens can be put through the viewing hole.
Plywood, paint, daylight, plastic, fabric. 88 x 45 x 30 cm
I was walking down the street on a sunny August afternoon when in distance I noticed a person sitting on the doorsteps.
He seemed to be talking to someone but when I got closer I saw him waving hands and talking to himself.
Upon approaching a men I noticed an almost empty liquor bottle by his side and saw him repeating the same sentence over and over again,
"Everything is fine in my life. In general.
Everything is fine in my life. In general.
Everything is fine in my life. In general..."