The exhibition (Re)construction of Friendship is a collaborative art project shaped through interaction with current political and global state of affairs in a particularly hot venue: the former KGB building in Riga. By examining the important role of contemporary artists as mediators of cultural consciousness and initiators of social relationships, the exhibition will attempt to take hold on some specific temporal, historical and geographical realities – and the ambiguous relationship we call friendship. Lost or forgotten, the hardest question asked is: How can friendships be (re)-constructed?
Cultural memory and architecture are inescapably linked – streets and houses have their long-time-based histories. Bringing art into such a trope of institutional power as the so called Corner House is not only a difficult technical task but also a big challenge for the artists, the curators, as well as for the audiences, who will have to take the risk of entering the fortress of horror.
We often have to take an indirect route when engaging with painful pasts. In his much acclaimed book The Politics of Aesthetics, the French philosopher Jacques Rancière asks:
“What does it mean when artists create scenarios that rely on existing social realities, or when they actively enter a social realm in order to generate works of art?”
We are no longer in the regime of aesthetics but in the regime of history and research. Many of the art works presented in the exhibition are relating to the topic of trauma, repression, and violence. In these situations of overwhelming political memories and difficult personal experiences, artworks can function as trigger, a starting point, a lifeline in the house full of ghosts.
Finally, the floor is open and through narration, interaction, humour and curiosity, the exhibition optimistically draws the audiences into thinking about the complexities of current situations, geographical borders, and the meaning of friendship.
Curatorial text: Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir (IS)