In 2007, the association for adventurous music and related arts “Skaņu Mežs” organised the first SKAN sound art exhibition with the participation of 12 internationally renowned, as well as local artists, at the erstwhile chicory and pasta factory near Arkādijas Park. Back then, in the context of Latvia’s contemporary cultural scene, SKAN was a unique event, because it was the first time that such a broad exhibition dedicated to the genre of sound art had been held in Riga. Moreover, this fact did not go unnoticed in the international arena, and a favourable review was duly published in the English avant-garde music magazine, THE WIRE.
Seven years later, a follow-up exhibition SKAN II has been included in the official programme of events celebrating Riga 2014 – European Capital of Culture. On this occasion too, the exhibition has attracted outstanding artists from all over the world, for whom sound is at the very epicentre of their creative oeuvre.
In the context of sound art, the space in which the works of art are exhibited is of paramount importance, and is defined by its architectonic, historical, social and acoustic attributes. The work of art unquestionably interacts with the space in which it is aired. With this in mind, the venues chosen for this exhibition are the University of Latvia’s Botanical Garden in Riga, as well as the Kalnciems Quarter Gallery and Pardaugava’s wooden manor houses. The goal of SKAN II is to allow this aesthetic experience to attract not only art lovers, but also chance bypassers.
Works of sound art have the ability to accent a space and transform it into a special event venue. As the main venue for the exhibition, the Botanical Garden will serve as its central axis, in order to also draw attention to the adjoining historical building district of Pardaugava. It brings with it a layer of history and culture, which is worth highlighting, including places like the forgotten Philosophers’ Alley, as well as the old manor houses and wooden buildings such as the Volfschmidt Manor House in the Botanical Garden. Skaņu Mežs is able to accent this urban environment through the material that is the foundation for its creative offering, i.e. sound.
The exhibition will take place in three parts from 30 May to 24 August. It will feature works by a total of 18 artists who represent a broad spectrum of approaches to audio-visual art: Jitske Blom & Thomas Rutgers, Peter Bogers, Aernoudt Jacobs, Signe Lidén, David Helbich, Pascal Broccolichi, Stefan Roigk, RIXC, Anke Eckardt, Tommi Grönlund & Petteri Nisunen, Heimo Lattner & Judith Laub, Carl Michael von Hausswolf & Leif Elggren, Evelīna Deičmane, Max Eastley, Voldemārs Johansons, Michael Schumacher, Edwin van der Heide & Jan-Peter Sonntag, and Christian Skjødt.
The exhibition’s main supporters are: the Foundation Riga 2014, EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) Global, the British Council, the Danish Cultural Institute, the French Institute, the Goethe Institute in Riga and the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Riga (EUNIC Riga Representative Office).
The central venue for the SKAN II exhibition is the LU Botanical Garden at Kandavas Street 2, as well as, in the case of three works: the Kalnciems Quarter. The exhibition is open to visitors from Wednesday to Sunday between the hours of 13.00 and 18.00.