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Show me a good time!

Neuroscientists claim that art improves brain activity, it changes one’s worldview and increases serotonin, the happiness hormone. This is experienced not only by the creators of art, but also those who enjoy their creations. The power of art and its presence is invaluable for the proper functioning of us as individuals and as a society. Worn out by the tensions of a pandemic and war, we yearn for a ‘good time’, and that is what we will give you – we’ll show you a good time!

At this year’s Liepāja Art Forum, contemporary art will take over an industrial space of the past century, Liepājas Metalurgs. The festival will melt down metals not in blast furnaces but on the stage of the Great Amber, and the audience will become the creators themselves.

3 days, 8 events, 64 creators, 75 grams of serotonin, and an endless audience!

On the first day of the festival, we will open the solo exhibition YOU are the model! YOU are the majority! by internationally acclaimed Latvian photographer Ilya Lipkin, in which the artist takes a critical look at the aestheticization of youth. The exhibition will consist of large-format photographs taken this spring in Rīga and Berlin. They will explore young people’s understanding of the attractive and how it is reflected in constructing their own identities.

The opening concert of the festival will be a salon music night – just like at home, in a living room, under intimate warm lighting and in the company of friends, French and Argentinian musicians. It will be performed by the amazingly talented trio Surel, Segal & Gubitsch. Three characters and three voices – the violin of Sebastien, the cello of Vincent and the electric guitar of Tomás. The masters of sound will sail between intricately written scores and explosive improvisations and navigate between many musical continents, plunging us into the subtlety and the intensity of their unique language of sound.

During the Klubnacht Berlin DJ night, the futuristic shapes of the concert hall will transform into a sister of Berghain, the world’s most iconic night club in Berlin, where we will be taken on a journey through New York, London, Berlin, and Rīga with hypnotizingly transcendent sets of electronic music by British artist Steven Warwick and Latvian master of experimental sound Kaspars Groševs.

Choreographer and dancer Olga Žitluhina and musician Juris Kaukulis have created an original piece for the festival, a musically choreographed stage performance at the former Liepājas Metalurgs steelworks, whose territory is currently experiencing a process of revival. After being closed for decades, the enormous ‘stage’ of the industrial territory will allow us a closer look at the abandoned chimneys of black metallurgy and listen to the sounds of electric guitar and the delicate steps of dancers in the chain shop.

Sonic ensemble soundinitiative, with its nine brilliant artists from Paris, will turn the Great Hall of the Great Amber into an exciting playground for themselves and us, their listeners. These artists, who specialize in creating space and site-specific concerts, will perform immersive and interactive pieces by contemporary composers. The ensemble’s special approach is based on original musical creations enriched by theater, dance, visual and performance art with fluent boundaries between performers, creators, and listeners.

On Sunday morning, circus performers Grete Gross from Estonia and Juha-Matti Eskelinen from Finland will make children’s and parents’ jaws drop with wonder at their performance Lemon and Honey full of surprising tricks of aerial acrobatics. In their workshops at the Concert Hall, the experienced teachers of the Rīga Circus School will share their skills in the simplest disciplines of the art of circus with all participants!

The Festival will be concluded with a masterpiece by Italian composer Fausto Romitelli, the futuristic video opera An Index of Metals, both electric and psychedelic in its orchestration. Soprano vocals playing with effects, humming with reverberations, flickering through a megaphone, screaming like a popstar, and an electric guitar partiture such as no ‘serious’ composer has ever written before. The author describes it: ‘Index of Metals presents a violent, abstract narrative, denuded of all operatic artifice, providing an initiation rite of immersion and a trance of light and sound.’ This time, it will be interpreted by Sinfonietta Rīga, solo Joanna Freszel, and Normunds Šnē.

Liepāja Art Forum ’22 | Programme:

September 30 | Friday

  • 6 p.m. OPENING OF ILYA LIPKIN’S SOLO EXHIBITION ‘YOU are the model! YOU are the majority!’
    (Art space Civita Nova, Great Amber)
  • 7 p.m. LAF OPENING CONCERT. FRENCH SALON – FROM TANGO TO EXPERIMENT
    (Great Hall, Great Amber)
  • 9 p.m. DJ NIGHT. KLUBNACHT BERLIN
    (Public space of the 2nd and 3rd floor, Great Amber)

October 1 | Saturday

  • 1 p.m. ŽITLUHINA AND KAUKULIS. DANCE PREMIERE AT LIEPĀJAS METALURGS
    (Territory of the former Liepājas Metalurgs factory, Brīvības iela 98)
  • 7 p.m. PERFORMATIVE MUSIC CONCERT. SOUNDINITIATIVE, PARIS
    (Great Hall, Great Amber)

October 2 | Sunday

  • 11 a.m. | 2 p.m. LEMON AND HONEY. PERFORMANCE OF THE RĪGA CIRCUS
    (Chamber Hall, Great Amber)
  • 5 p.m. LAF CLOSING EVENT. SINFONIETTA RĪGA. VIDEO OPERA AN INDEX OF METALS
    (Great Hall, Great Amber)