EXHIBITION "NO-OBJECTS" 2023
28.01.2023. - 26.03.2023.
Museum of Decorative Arts and Design
Jānis Straupe. No-objects
From 28 January to 26 March 2023, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga (Skārņu iela 10) presents the exhibition No-objects, for the first time bringing together artist and designer Jānis Straupe’s creative work from the last twenty years as well as introducing his latest proposals – ambitious sculptural and kinetic objects.
Jānis Straupe’s solo exhibition No-objects sheds light on the recent history of Latvian design, giving visitors the opportunity to get to know one of the most unconventional creators, who already under the Soviet regime’s strict separation of styles strove to work in an interdisciplinary manner, demonstrating that wood sculpture, or wood as material, has the capacity to be surprising and contemporary. Jānis Straupe continues to work in experimental design and art, and with the new paradigm of sustainability has acquired particular relevance in today’s context.
"Throughout the process, from the idea to its realization, I am in constant doubt regarding possible improvements. I have expressed my sensations in different, seemingly unrelated objects, and yet curiously they constitute a unified whole. In the exhibition of my latest works I wanted to create a somewhat skewed impression – like Alice in Wonderland, since every object also contains its opposite, giving it meaning. Everything is in constant flux and the state of peace is illusory." Jānis Straupe.
The contrasts and paradoxes characteristic to Jānis Straupe’s oeuvre are on display in this exhibition – for example, his work Self-isolation Chair (2019) is conceived as an ironic commentary – a fortress for the individual’s inner world. The large-scale sculpture Pendulum (2022) invites reflections on the fragility of the contemporary world, while Scorpion is a symbolic ladder that can also lead astray. The author used biographic references as well – for instance, he found inspiration for the work Ballerina (2021) while preparing models of Kārlis Johansons’ works at the Latvian National Museum of Art after its reconstruction, in its turn, the spherical object Eye (2020) includes a fragment from Straupe’s 1992 solo exhibition and symbolizes an eye of his teacher, Jānis Poļaks.
“In his oeuvre, Jānis Straupe has been able to combine remarkable quality of craftsmanship with complexly innovative creative thinking, transforming the traditional material of wood, so popular in the practice of Latvian craft and design, in original, unpredictable ways. It could be said that the artist works on the boundary between sculpture and conceptual design. In the exhibition No-objects, visitors will not encounter any examples of functional design – its goal is to expand the horizons of imagination and thinking, to encourage looking at the world and things that surround us from a different perspective – critically, ironically and romantically”, stresses curator Inese Baranovska.