Closure of the May Residency Programme

On the afternoon of 26 May, anyone interested could visit the International Artists’ Residency “Pedvāle” to meet the artists of the May residency programme and view the works created during the residency.

Johannes Gerard (Netherlands) created an environmental art object called “9047” or “The Place Between the Mountains”, which metaphorically represents a city or a forest between mountains with clouds, during his stay in the Pedvale International Artist Residency. At the closing event of the May programme, Johannes Gerard the audience gave a performance entitled “Stones” in the newly created environmental art object and also presented a video work created during the residency entitled “structure & patterns.”

Also, Johannes Gerard led a “social sculpture” workshop. “Social sculpture” is a term coined by the German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) in the 1970s to describe an expanded concept of art and to embody one’s understanding of the potential of art in the transformation of society. As a work of art, social sculpture involves human activity that seeks to shape and create a society or environment. The central idea of the social sculptor is the person/artist who creates structures in society through language, thought, action and objects. Social sculpture revolved around four main axes: body awareness – spatial awareness – creativity – cooperation. Location of the body in the environment/location. Johannes Gerard’s participation in the residency programme is financed by the Goethe Institute within the EU programme “CULTURE MOVES EUROPE”.

In turn, the writer and poet from Scotland Morelle Smith embodied Annemarie Schwarzenbach, the main character of her books, at the closing event of the May residency. Annemarie is a real historical person – a Swiss writer, short story writer, journalist and traveller who travelled through Germany and East Prussia to the Baltic States in the 1930s. On the afternoon of 26 May 2023, she symbolically returned here, in Latvia, to Pedvāle.

Francesca Carvallo Pirola (Chile) presented to the audience a short film, a video diary centered on the very relationship of the body, mind and soul with nature. She has used photography, video and analogue animation – rotoscopy and stop motion. The visitors also had the opportunity to see the working materials and get to know the animation creation process more closely.

The event ended with a performance by Susanna Kompast (Austria), in which both Morelle Smith and Franceska Carvallo Pirola, as well as performance artist Laura Feldberga and folklore ensemble “Sabiles ogas” took part.

During her residency, Susanna Kompast used red clay obtained in the territory of Pedvāle Art Park in her creative work. Inspired by the symbolic combination of numbers “three by nine” (“trejdeviņi” in Latvian, with a figurative meaning “very far” or “a lot of”) mentioned in Latvian folklore, the artist recreated 27 clay figures – female figures made in the archaic style.

The numbers 3 and 9 have a special meaning in Latvian folklore. They are ideal numbers and symbolize perfection, a unified whole, and happy success. The number 9 refers to the world around us, while 3 is a symbol of the perfection of the inner world of a person.

Since the material – clay – came from the land of Pedvāle, after burning the figures in an ancient technique, using a metal barrel and a mixture of sawdust and wood shavings, they were returned to the earth in a performative way.

By implementing this art project, artist Susanne Kompast embodied the creative concept of Pedvāle Art Park – the unity of natural landscape, cultural heritage and contemporary art in one whole.