ART NOUVEAU - STYLE THAT LINKS CITIES
10 May, 2012
ART NOUVEAU - STYLE THAT LINKS CITIES

‘Art Nouveau in Riga’ exhibition opens

“Art Nouveau in Riga” is the name of the exhibition that was launched on May 4, at National Gallery under the aegis of Georgian National Museum and Latvian Embassy in Georgia.

Together with Latvian Embassy in Georgia and Georgian National Museum, the organizers of the display are Department of Education, Culture and Sport of Riga Municipality Council and Riga Art Nouveau Centre.

Art Nouveau is the artistic direction that emerged on the verge of the 19th and

20th centuries, and almost simultaneously spread all over Europe.  The buildings built in Art Nouveau Style are distinguished by original, distinct and expressive facade d?cor withinthe urban landscape. However, the essence of its style is defined not only by the ornamental decoration. Specific and easily recognizable Art Nouveau  decor makes a complete harmony with the architectural structure of buildings.

The main figurative principle of the aforementioned style is the artistic interpretation of the functional and utilizable elements/items. The evolution of Art Nouveau coincided with the unprecedented urbane boom in Riga. The number of the local population highly rocketed. Within several years, over 100 of tall apartment houses were built. The modern face of Riga city centre, in which Art Nouveau edifices represent almost 40% of the urbane structure, was built at the beginning of the 20th century. This index is much higher than those of other countries.

“It was my initiative to take this exhibition to Tbilisi because there is a huge amount of Art Nouveau buildings in Riga. I know that there are perfect nice buildings here in Tbilisi too. Riga has a huge heritage of Art Nouveau. I hope that it will be a good example for Tbilisi City Council too to exhibit your Art Nouveau heritage because you are also rich with this art. Very many tourists come to see these buildings in Riga and therefore, it’s a great pride of me that we, Latvians have this capital – Riga,” Mrs. Elita Gavele, Ambassador of the embassy of Latvia to Georgia commented.

Among guests, other ambassadors were in abundance. “It’s a very good exhibition. I am very surprised to find so many beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in Riga. I have not had the opportunity to go there yet. I have known Art Nouveau from places like Paris, Brussels and even Rio de Janeiro where there are some examples, but it’s my first approach to Art Nouveau in Latvia. I’m very glad the Latvian embassy organized this beautiful exhibition and it provides me with another incentive to visit Latvia,” Carlos Alberto Asfora, Brazilian Ambassador told Georgian Journal.

Mrs. Urszula Doroszewska, ambassador of Poland also talked to us: “Art Nouveau is very popular in Poland as well. But Poland was very much damaged during the Second World War. The old part of Warsaw was completely destroyed. But we have Art Nouveau edifices in other cities, especially the city of Lodz, second to Warsaw. I think  all over the Europe there are some links between the cities of Art Nouveau and I think that Tbilisi is also engaged in this cooperation web. I think that Tbilisi must be restored because there is a big potential. This is a very beautiful time of architecture. We have a very good example on Aghmashenebeli Avenue. But there are more places that need restoration.”

Lela Tsitsuashvili, Georgian art historian made a brief assessment for Georgian Journal: “Art Nouveau is a very interesting direction in the European art and not only in architecture. This is a very diverse and interesting style. I was in Latvia around 20 years ago. These constructions I see at this exhibition seem to have been restored. They are organically merged with the architectural ensemble of Riga. This city is a nice mix of old, Art Nouveau and modern styles. Art Nouveau has slightly different connotations in Georgia but the style itself is so multifaceted and aesthetic that it needs a decent care and should be given a decent place in the architecture of each city. This significant epoch should by all means be preserved.“

The exhibition that will last until May 24, represents the photos of the blocks of flats constructed according to the projects by the Latvian architects such as Constantine Peshkin, Friedrich Shepel, Alfred Ashenkamp, Max Shervinsky, Nikolas Boklap, Eujens Laube, Karlis Johan-Pelsko, Alexander Shmeling, Janis Alskin and engineer Mikhail Eisenshtein.

 

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