The Latvian Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition of Venice will present Armpit, a multimedia art installation by Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis. It is a sculpted system of building constructions interwoven with video-stories about a peculiar local phenomenon, “garage elves”, who tend to spend their leisure time tinkering with various mechanisms in workshops set up for this hobby.
The source of inspiration for the video works is the garage complexes built in the 1970s and 1980s on the outskirts of Soviet bedroom communities. Today some of the garages have been turned into living spaces. Others house workshops. In some, cars are still kept. It is a closed male commune, a monastic brotherhood that includes retired blue-collar workers of a planned economy and engineers from factories closed in the course of neo-liberal reform. With the enthusiasm of alchemists, they are continuing to occupy themselves with inventing, constructing mechanical devices or re-soldering microcircuits pulled out of second-hand gadgets.
The kaleidoscopic complex of buildings at the Latvian pavilion is a hand-made cast of this peculiar microcosm. As the artists sawed, chopped and nailed together the prefabricated building materials of shantytown constructions, they used as a prototype the creative forms of vernacular architecture. Experiments with a physically approbated experience, “knowing-in-action” acquired through manual labour and the desire to decode, with self-made contraptions, the primal nature of industrial materiality represent an opportunity to confront themselves with the real as a given.
tue, wed, thu, fri, sat, sun 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Arsenale, Arsenale, Castello