The Latvian Collection

Malmö Konstmuseum
02.12.2022. - 16.04.2023.

Participating artists: Makda Embaie, Ieva Epnere, Santiago Mostyn & Susanna Jablonski, Ieva Kraule-Kūna, Lada Nakonechna, Jaanus Samma, Anastasia Sosunova and Asbjörn Skou 

Artists in the collection: Jānis Aižens, Augusts Annuss, Arturs Apinis, Kārlis Baltgailis, Erna Dzelme-Bērziņa, Jānis Cielavs, Elza Druja-Foršū, Eduards Dzenis, Otomija Freiberga, Jāzeps Grosvalds, Arvīds Gusārs, Eduards Kalniņš, Kārlis Krauze, Valdemārs Krastiņš, Jānis Kuga, Ludolfs Liberts, Marta Liepiņa-Skulme, Jānis Liepiņš, Jūlijs Madernieks, Marija Induse-Muceniece, Oskars Norītis, Jānis Plēpis, Janis Rozentāls, Pēteris Rožlapa, Arijs Skride, Oto Skulme, Jānis Šternbergs, Arvids Strauss, Niklāvs Strunke, Erasts Šveics, Leo Svemps, Zelma Tālberga, Jānis Tīdemanis, Valdemārs Tone, Konrāds Ubāns, Johann Walter, Sigismunds Vidbergs, Vilhelms Purvītis, Teodors Zaļkalns.

Curated by Inga Lāce and Lotte Løvholm

Exhibition architect: Līva Kreislere

Graphic design: Rūta Jumīte

The Latvian collection of Malmö Konstmuseum was given to the museum as a donation in 1939 and was on permanent display until 1958. There are landscape paintings, portraits, still life, illustrations, scenography and images of war, primarily from the 1930s.

The collection was meant to be representative of contemporary art in Latvia at the time. With Latvia getting its independence in 1918, the collection of 47 artworks encapsulates a general zeitgeist toward thinking and developing ideas about what Latvia is through art. Marked by the authoritarian regime of president Kārlis Ulmanis, who came to power after a coup in 1934, and its subsequent cultural policy, the collection represents an inward gaze as well as national romanticist ideas praising Latvian soil and culture.

The exhibition The Latvian Collection presents the collection in its entirety for the first time since the 1950’s alongside eight new commissions by artists who have researched the collection. The exhibition highlights overlooked narratives within the collection and looks at new ways of accessing the historic collection as a moment in time.

The exhibition is addressing larger issues pertaining to nationalism and nation state building in the Baltic region at the same time acknowledging the fragility of smaller nation states and how they could act asantidotes to imperialism.

The starting point for the invited artists was to look at the collection and explore ways of thinking beyond nation states. Dreaming of new ways of organizing something as fundamental as nation states is not an easy task and with the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 by Russia it has become almost impossible.

The newly commissioned works will become part of Malmö Konstmuseum’s permanent art collection, emerging as extensions and interpretations of the existing Latvian collection, providing windows into how it was perceived in 2022 for future curators, artists, and visitors. This way, the collection-building process stretches in time towards present and going beyond the borders of the Latvian nation state.

The exhibition is organized by Malmö Konstmuseum in collaboration with the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art.


Curators: Inga Lāce and Lotte Løvholm
Exhibition architect: Līva Kreislere
Graphic design: Rūta Jumīte

Research: Marcus Pompeius, Mimmi Sjö, Arthur Gorzny
Education programme: Mimmi Sjö, Ellen Arvidsson
Commissions: Marcus Pompeius, Kirse Junge-Stevnsborg, Anna Johansson
Project management: Ditte Nielsen, Jan Hansen, Björn Jumme
Exhibition production: Anders Lindsjö, Robert Kapos, Max Emland, Mattias Almlund, Niklas Antonsson, Andrés Camacho, Shekib Momand, Per Pålsson, Morgan Schagerberg, Anna Hillbom, Emil Sandström
Conservation: Karin Hermeren, Egil Ahlgren, Matilda Thorlund-Brönmark, Hanna Eriksson, Amanda Nyagake Mwita
Communication: Disa Torbjörnsdottir, Julia Stenberg
Exhibition hosts/mediators: Gabriel Bohm Calles, Asa Hector, Soad Aziz, Aline Rosas, Anna Hillbom, Emil Sandström, Patricio Aros, Yasmin Yacob, Emma Juel Justesen, Clara Gustafsson, Henric Wollmér-Persson

The exhibition The Latvian Collection is organized in collaboration with the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) in Riga. It is also part of the project “From Complicated Past Towards Shared Futures”, a collaboration between the LCCA, the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius (Lithuanian National Museum of Art), OFF-Biennale in Budapest, Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz, and Malmö Art Museum, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Supported by