Aristide’s Yard: a new destination for culture and creativity in Riga.
Latvia’s cultural offer is growing, and May 20th 2022 welcomed a new cultural quarter “Aristīda Pagalms” or “Artistide’s Yard”.
While some cultural destinations are “historical”, and some “naturally occurring”, Artistide’s Yard is a combination of both. Embedded in the histories of the K. K. Von Stricka Villa quarter, the yard is inspired by the character of “Aristids”, a bohemian who enjoys the high life, and is a visitor to each of the establishments in the area: K. K. Fon Stricka Villa, Labietis, M/Darbnica, M/Gallery, and Piens. As people are increasingly interested in experiencing the arts in new spaces and contexts, Aristide’s Yard is a destination where you can hang out, socialise, and visit according to your own schedule.
In its first art offering, three Latvian contemporary artists - Kristīne Kutepova, Evija Skriba, and Emma Sofia - transformed Aristīda Pagalms into a creative playfield for the city.
Evija Skriba’s decorative paintings on the yard's floor take inspiration from the historical patterns found in the Von Stricka Villas. The shapes imitating soft rug covers create a cozy comfortable environment for socialising. Emma Sofia’s Children’s Corner envelopes the trees in a sea of colourful ribbons, producing a playful way to awaken the summer’s arrival. Kristīne Kutepova’s painting of “Sparkling Forest” resting on the side of M/Darbnica’s wall tells a story of a place where you can experience a miracle. Everything in the “Sparkling Forest” constantly grows and improves due to the power of nature and the fullness of its biodiversity.
The authors of the creative development of the courtyard are the activists of the cultural space "M/Darbnīca" and the art gallery "M/Gallery", who have been joined by the other residents of the courtyard, both financially and with ideas and labour.
"Since more and more people are interested in experiencing art in new spaces and contexts, Aristide's Yard will be a great place to spend time, socialise and enjoy various art expressions," says Maija Moira Mazanova, Creative Director and Manager of "M/Darbnīca". "The yard is located in a sunny leeward area, the parking lot will no longer function in it, and various improvements will be made during the summer, and new art objects will appear."
About Evija Skriba: Evija Skriba graduated from Environment Art, Art Academy of Latvia. The main priority of creating her artworks is the process. At the time of the process, she does research and experimentalises using different kinds of materials and technics. She draws big attention to those subjects, which affect the mind of a human being or the structure of the planet (nature), in order to try to find and figure out the meaning of things. Through the philosophic and empiric senses, she creates artworks for things that she cares about the most. About Emma Sofia: Emma Sofia is a Latvian contemporary textile and visual artist who works with weaving, printing, and painting. She is interested in nature and human behavior and how people relate to each other in this fragmented post-digital world. Emma weaves stories to express her feelings and thoughts about issues in our society. Her large-scale artworks aim to attract an audience by making them outthink the obstacles that trigger these problems. About Kristīne Kutepova: Kristīne Kutepova (1982) graduated from the Latvian Academy of Arts, Department of Visual Arts, Bachelor's (2017) and Master's (2019) study programs. She received the award of the Latvian Academy of Arts “SEB Scholarship in Painting” in 2017 and the scholarship of patron Ināra Tetereva in 2015. Since 2014, she has participated in various group exhibitions, including international projects in Italy and Germany. The works are in private collections in the Royal Palace of Sweden, Russia, Norway, and Poland.
Recently Aristide's Yard has added a new addition to the yards interior - an ear on the left side of the M/Gallery and M/Darbnica building called "Orden and Chaos" by the artist Toms Valmiers. Toms is one of the participants in a latvian band "The Coco'nuts". Besides playing bass he is also a sculptor.
About the ear Toms says: "I had come close to the need to create something. One can only be swept away from this body-occupying magnetic field by creating something. This is how the ear was born. I needed to create something, like rain sometimes needs to fall and like a flower needs to bloom from it. I listened around for what needed to be created. I watched what wanted to be created. My music group “the COCO’nuts” needed a visual identity for an upcoming music album. Knowing that now the band is starting to think about its audience for the first time, I thought that I would make an ear, which I would then hand over to the band's photographer.
The kind of creation I practice that liberates and heals me is very material and physical. It takes up space and time, it creates noise and disorder. You can't do it at home, you can't do it at your friend's house, you can't do it at your mom's. This work requires a workshop. Which I don't have.
At the relevant moment, I participated in the exhibition of young artists named "TOČKA". I agreed on a new work that I wanted to exhibit - the work will require electricity and distance from other works. The work will take time, create noise and disorder, but also the pearl, the order of the organized spirit. We found a free space between Arita Germova's installation objects and Kristine Kutepova's painting. My work will be a performance, where the artist creates the nature of art. My workshop was at the exhibition.
I brought a spruce log, a chainsaw and my chisels to the site. Inside the block lay an ear, which had to be freed from excess material. Everything I separated from it I moved about a meter away from where it fell. When the work was finished, I noticed that the result resembled M.C.Escher's graphic "Order and Chaos", which depicts the laws of nature or physics regarding the connection of the phenomena mentioned in the title. About the increase in clutter, and we fix something. I named my work the same - Order and Chaos.