(AV17) gallery presented an exhibition by one of the best known Latvian contemporary artists – Andris Eglītis and Katrīna Neiburga, called “Long Pickled Cucumbers”. The artists represent Latvia in many significant contemporary art exhibitions, including Venice Biennale, where the duo has been participating in 2015.

In collaboration, Andris Eglītis and Katrīna Neiburga create installations which integrate video, painting and sculpture. Their works in “Long Pickled Cucumbers” were unified by a prevailing human-nature theme. In a work created by Katrīna Neiburga, displaying the integrity of nature in humankind, a projection of Adam and Eve to an extent, along with the paintings by Andris Eglītis, created using soil, sand and clay, as well as other objects, created by an artist, produce somewhat of a new world, where the traces of the past can still be felt. Co-existence and confrontation between the present and the primordial worlds were constantly felt. In the exhibited video installation, featuring the sound by electronic music producer Richie Hawtin aka Plastikman, the modern society´s rituals, placed in the nature, gained a hint of absurd, but while being performed during the video, gradually became natural and acceptable for a human, striving to survive in the wild conditions. By picturing various contemporary rituals and attributes the artists were balancing between neutral and post-apocalyptic moods, while the modern world, portrayed in the exhibition, gained a barbaric view. The artists analysed questions concerning the present human-caused ecological problems, and the “return to the nature”, emphasized a strong link between nature and humankind as well the contradiction of human actions. A well-known method of preserving – pickling, had been used in the name of the exhibition, while the usual, short cucumber had been “elongated”, in order to provoke the viewer to reflect on the meaning on settled habits in our lives as well aspects of rationality and irrationality.

The works by Katrīna Neiburga and Andris Eglītis are characterised by their anthropological view on social and cultural occurrences, as well as by capturing the changes of these occurrences as their function changes. Their artworks often reflect on the shifts of the post-soviet period, the clashes of the past and present times. By deconstructing and giving a critical dimension to it, the authors are questioning the stubborn stereotypes: the constraints of gender, power and authority. The centre of Katrīna and Andris creation is a human in the midst of inner and outer change, and the duality between the material and spiritual human world. The idiosyncratic feature of their works is a rough aesthetic, created by a use of natural, coarse materials: wood, clay, tree branches.
Katrīna Neiburga has a master’s degree in Visual Communication from the Latvian Academy of Art and has studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. She has been participating in exhibitions since 2000, as well as Sydney and Moscow biennials. In 2008, Katrīna has been awarded Purvītis Prize – the highest award in the art field in Latvia. For an exceptional value of her works, the artist has been also nominated for a Fennica award. She also creates scenography for Perma and Latvian National opera and ballet theatre, as well as the Paris Bastille theatre.
Andris Eglītis has studied in the Latvian academy of art, the institute of art of I.E.Repin in Saint Petersburg as well as in HISK in Belgium. In his work, the artist links various art forms: painting, sculpture, object art. He has been an exhibition member since 2000, and has exhibited exclusively several times in Riga, Antwerp, Berlin. He has received a Purvītis Prize in 2013.

The project was partially funded by The Lithuanian Council for Culture.