ANOTHER PLACE, 2022
22 works, 21 x 30 cm, pearl acrylic on photo.
An abandoned rural homestead evokes feelings about what has happened, what a family has experienced. What remains when a person leaves? What happened? A bush of a wild rose blossomed on the unmown lawn of the backyard; a bench broke by the old oak tree; as the snow melted, the roof of the barn caved in. Time runs its course until it collects all the evidence of man and what he has done.
Latvia is a place where many have made the choice to build a life outside the country. This especially affects Latgale, which has lost the largest number of inhabitants in the last 10 years – 52 thousand people. In the summer of 2022, Kristaps Priede randomly inspected and photo-documented 22 abandoned homesteads in Latgale. The topic of the “extinction” of Latgale’s homesteads has been known for a long time, and some residents have already come to terms with it. Unmanaged farms, often deliberately vandalised, are already becoming a part of the modern landscape of Latgale. However, behind this desolation, you can feel the former life, processes and prosperity of the homestead, evidenced by the extensive construction of the homestead with several buildings, with decorative elements of the architectural art characteristic of the region, fences, drinking water wells with sweeps, orchards, interiors of residential buildings and furniture made by craftsmen.
In the abandoned homesteads of Latgale, the author searches for the connection between a person’s identity and the place from which they have come, which they have left. Does it matter that people attach themselves to some “first” place? Does each place leave its mark on our identity map?
The exhibition “Another place” consists of 22 photographs painted in pearl acrylic. The photo-fixed reality is overlaid with abstract fields of colour, marking these two distinct existences. Something from the photograph is hidden, but something is changed and continued in a different way, making both realities equally “happening”. The author borrowed the inspiration for this method from the German artist Gerhard Richter (1932), who started this technique in 1989. Richter declares that reality resides in the applied paint, not in the photograph, which is one hundred percent image. Kristaps Priede's spontaneously selected and mixed colour tones are covered over photographs, creating seemingly random, challenging, irreversible, expressive strokes – an energetic abstraction that makes the image behind partially undecipherable. A fundamental dichotomy, in which a fading photo reality is covered by a new, still unclear, but already vivid reality. Thus already making the visible place into another (place).