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Interview with artist Luīze Rukšāne about her solo exhibition "Folding Lines" at TUR_telpa

Luīze Rukšāne's solo exhibition "Folding Lines" at TUR_telpa

“Luīze Rukšāne has merged the space of TUR_telpa with an abstraction of the winter landscapes her grandmother and the many generations of Latvian grandmothers before her might recognize. Her large graphite drawings on canvas are an interpretation of her grandmother's digital tablet photos sent to the family chat to inform about the daily conditions around her countryside home.” - Edd Schouten, quotes from the text of the exhibition "Folding Lines"

This interview discusses the artist's Luīze Rukšāne unique path into the art world.

How did your journey into the art world begin? 

I started going to art school at the age of seven, encouraged by my mother, but it wasn't until I entered the Art Academy of Latvia in 2017 that I decided to dedicate my life to art. Before that I studied painting at Janis Rozentāls Riga Art School, then architecture at the Riga Technical University, worked as a graphic designer and selling tea at a tea shop, all the time not wanting to be an artist until I had to admit to myself that (unfortunately) there were no other options.

Are there any particular themes or topics that you prefer to explore in your work?

I’ve been fascinated with human memory for the past four years. Recently, I’ve started to investigate the relationship between specific personal histories and collective memories of a society. The theme of memories permeates much of my work in its various aspects.

The exhibition description mentions that you worked with photographs captured by your grandmother using a tablet. What is the difference between working with digital information/photos than, for example, drawing from life? And do you use one more than the other in your practice?

For 17 years, my drawing teachers taught me to observe nature, while telling me that it was wrong to draw from a photograph. When I first started drawing from photographs, I was drawing for myself, not for school. It was like a mischief. I was encouraged to do it by Kaspars Groševs' interview with Līva Rutmane, where Līva mentioned that drawing is very cheap, all you need is paper and a pencil. At that time I didn't have the opportunity to buy oil paints and canvases (I wanted to be a painter) and Līva's work made me see that drawing can also be a medium for contemporary art.

Why did you want to record these photographs in drawings? Do you think that turning photographs into graphite drawings gives the photograph an extra meaning?

Although I love to draw, the process of drawing itself is very mechanical for me at the moment and I imagine myself as an impatient printer. I like the fact that by investing my time in making this image, I can attract other people's attention to a small random photograph. In this way, the viewer's initial interest in the technical execution of the drawing can develop into a longer observation of the image, delving deeper into the subject. Similarly, through drawing I can make another persons photograph part of my own story, appropriating and exploring it. I use images as vehicles for ideas, the aim is not to "show off my drawing skills", but to organise my thoughts in images. The more creative part of the process is the selection of images.

What was it like working with textiles? And especially with textiles that have this layering of information and emotion?

My mother taught me to sew and I have been doing it as a hobby since primary school. I sew animals and simple clothes, but I've never really pursued it in an exhibition context. I'm not a professional in this craft, so working with these old textiles, for which I have so much respect, was also accompanied by fear and anxiety that I was robbing them of their original function. Since I didn't know the woman who owned the textiles I was using, and I didn't know her family story, it was easier to let it become something else.

You mentioned that you think it's important for the younger generation to think about the past and that we write things off too quickly, why do you think the younger generation is like that?

I am also part of this generation. I think the opportunity to get rid of things with a light hand is given to us by the abundance of things we have now. To be interested in history and not to forget it is especially necessary in times when, at a national level, part of our history is being removed and banned.

What inspires you in the art world?

Seeing how much other artists are working, I am inspired to also work hard. I like to explore different technical ways of doing things, but trying to be thematically or visually inspired by particular artists has led me to unsuccessful results. As an art viewer, I get extremely excited by good exhibitions. I like materiality, I like the beautiful and the witty and the sad, and I like how art has no function in a utilitarian way but can exist anyway. It's beautiful.

The exhibition will take place from 18 January to 17 February 2024 at TUR_telpa.

Don't miss the chance to see this exhibition in Riga!

Photo: Kristīne Madjare TUR_telpai

Curator: Edd Schouten

Production: Kristīne Ercika

Production support: Andris Freibergs

Cube exterior and interior: Matiss Aboliņš

Light Design and Technical Support: Maksimilians Kotovičs

Graphic design: Andris Kaļiņins

Supported by: State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, Rigas Dome, Tu jau zini kur, Angārs and Rilak Paints.


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