The exhibition revolves around the story of Diana Tamane's grandmother, who once became a 'flower smuggler'. Artist's grandmother was accused of contraband when she crossed the border between Latvia and Russia with two flowerpots that she had planned to bring to the cemetery of her grandfather in Abrene. Once part of Latvia, in 1945, the city of Abrene was incorporated into the USSR, and today is part of the Russian Federation. While uncovering the personal experience of an individual and a family, the project demonstrates how historical events and transfers of power can leave lasting consequences continuing to affect contemporary society.
The exhibition joins together flowers photographed by Tamane's grandmother - flowers are the main subject of her photo albums - and documents that her grandmother received from the Federal Customs Service of Russia, as well as photographs taken by the artist of the cemetery in Abrene - the resting place of her ancestors (Flower Smuggler, 2017-2019). In addition, in the sound work from the series I'll tell you everything I remember (2019-2021) artist's grandmother delves into the memories of her childhood home in the post WWII Abrene, opening up the daily life, it's joys and mundanity alike, from a child's perspective where the post-war grievances and political and economic transformations, such as the Soviet collectiviation of agriculture were a decisive background.
Diana Tamane (1986, Latvia/Estonia) was born in Riga, lives and works in Tartu. In the artist's works, family albums, documents, and private correspondence are transformed into catalysts, making it possible to reveal not only touching autobiographical stories but also apt portrayals of society and how a complex political history and presence intertwines with the needs and dreams of ordinary people. Tamane graduated from the Tartu Art College, the LUCA School of Arts, Brussels, and HISK post-academic program, Ghent. In 2020, with APE, she published Flower Smuggler, which has received the Authors Book Award at Les Rencontres dArles Book Awards and been shortlisted in the Paris-Photo Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. Her works have been exhibited at the first Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art. Contemporary Art Centre, contemporary art festival Survival Kit, S.M.A.K Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, Winterthur Museum, Kathmandu Triennale and elsewhere.
Inga Lace (1986, Latvia) is C-MAP Central and Eastern Europe Fellow at MoMA, New York. She has been curator at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art since 2012 and curator of the Latvian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2019 with the artist Daiga Grantina (co-curated with Valentinas Klimasauskas). In 2015-2016 she held a Curatorial fellowship at the Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam after finishing her Curatorial programme. She has been co-curator of the Allied - Kyev Biennial 2021 (as part of the East Europe Biennial Alliance) and co-curator of the 7th-10th editions of the contemporary art festival Survival Kit (with Jonatan Habib Engqvist in 2017 and Angels Miralda and Solvita Krese in 2018-19, Riga).
Photocredit: © Manuel Carreon Lopez