Urban installations “Written in Neon. Latvia” in different regions of Latvia

“Written in Neon. Latvia” is lighting up regions of Latvia. New Theatre Institute of Latvia in collaboration with internationally renowned theatre director, dramaturg and visual artist Tim Etchells and four artists from Latvia – Santa Remere, Jānis Balodis, Kirils Ēcis and Inta Balode – invite inhabitants of Tukums, Aizpute, Rēzekne an Rīga and the guests of the cities to go on expeditions and enjoy these urban installations. The artworks will be available till the 31st of December.

Etchells’ neon and LED pieces often draw on his broader fascinations as an artist, writer and performance maker, exploring contradictory aspects of language – the speed, clarity and vividness with which it communicates narrative, image and ideas, and at the same time its amazing propensity to create a rich field of uncertainty and ambiguity. Through simple phrases spelt out in neon, LED and other media, Etchells strives to create miniature narratives, moments of confusion, awkwardness, reflection and intimacy in public and gallery settings. Encountering the neon sign works, in the streets of a city or in the space of a white cube gallery, the viewer becomes implicated in a situation that’s not fully revealed, or a linguistic formulation that generates confusion or ambiguity. As often in Etchells’ work, in the neons the missing parts of the picture are as important as the elements that are present. Invoking a story, or projecting an idea out-of-context, the work invites us in, but into what exactly we can’t be sure.

This summer publicist Santa Remere, theatre maker Jānis Balodis, author of dance texts Inta Balode and poet Kirils Ēcis took part in text making workshops led by Tim Etchells, in which they reflected on important topics and values in modern society by transforming text and language itself, freeing it from theatrical layers, showing words: their sounds, meanings and unknown word strings.

From August till October the neon signs were presented in Riga, but in November three of the five pieces travelled to different regions of Latvia – Tukums, Aizpute and Rēzekne, while two of the installations are still available to see in Riga.

Kirils Ēcis “kā iemācīties nemest ēnu? / how to learn not to cast a shadow?”, Tukku Magi, Pasta iela 26, Tukums

Santa Remere “MĪĻĀ SIRDS / DEAR HEART” / Linmeijera house, Pasta iela 6, Aizpute

Jānis Balodis “mums ir kaut kas kopīgs / we have something in common” / Rēzekne theatre “Joriks”, Atbrīvošanas aleja 97, Rēzekne

Inta Balode “mēs tieši tāpēc satikāmies / that’s why we met” / Āgenskalna market, Nometņu iela 64, Rīga

Tim Etchelss “Kad tu šo lasi / When you read this” / Miera iela 39, Rīga

Thanks to our collaborators – “Tukku Magi” in Tukums, the owners of Linmeijera house in Aizpute, Rēzekne theatre “Joriks”, Āgenskalna market, the owners of house on Miera Street 39, hair salon-reading space “Melnais knābis”, Oskars Plataiskalns and the whole team of SIA “Dekorāciju Darbnīca”.

Project “Written in Neon. Latvia” is funded by State Culture Capital Foundation programme “Kultūrelpa”