An exhibition of Gunārs Krollis’ graphic art works Contrast Substance will be on view in the 4th Floor Exhibition Halls of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1) from 19 November 2017 to 21 January 2018. Gunārs Krollis is one of the most notable masters of printmaking of the late 20th century in Latvia, whose works first and foremost bring to mind perfectly refined form of artistic expression in dealing with moral-aesthetic subjects that are relevant to the entire society.
Gunārs Krollis has taken part in exhibitions since 1956, when the attention of both viewers and critics was attracted by his linocuts and etchings which revealed the artist’s reflections on the meaning of human existence, daily work, the cosmos, interaction between different cultures of the world.
The exhibition includes Gunārs Krollis’ popular mid-1960s cycles of linocuts My Riga and Drivers of the Pļaviņas HEPP, where the interpretation of the city’s history, inter-generation relationships and the subject of work reaches an outstanding level of generalisation and heroization. Meanwhile the triptychs of etchings Reflections of Japan and Vienna Diary from the 1970s-80s reveal a more poetic and nuanced representation of historical themes and characters. Large-format Indian ink and graphite drawings from recent years have also been selected for the exposition. The experiences in Central Asia, Japan, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon have left a strong impression on the artist, creating a lasting interest and desire to view events of the ancient past in connection with current processes.
Gunārs Krollis continues to study global cultural heritage in order to establish the uniqueness of the specific historical period and region, highlight cultural peculiarities and create an engaging dialogue – a link, bridge to today. As suggested by the exhibition’s title, the monochrome visual language so rich in gradations has become an effective contrast agent, giving the master the opportunity to astutely characterise not only the contrasts and tragic collisions of various periods but also to express his own position and set accents accordingly.
Gunārs Krollis (1932) – graphic artist, Professor emeritus, Vice-President of Oforta ģilde, Professor at the Art Academy of Latvia and lecturer, Head (1974–2006) of the Etching Studio of the Department of Graphic Art. Graduated from Janis Rozentāls Riga Art Highschool (1948–1953), Department of Graphic Art at the Art Academy of Latvia (1954–1960). Since 1956, has held more than 40 personal exhibitions in Latvia and abroad, taken part in more than 450 exhibitions. Works in book design since 1958; has designed and illustrated more than 200 books. Laureate of many professional awards. Gunārs Krollis also writes poetry. He is the author of lyrics for Raimonds Pauls’ cycle of songs Melnais kliedziens (The Black Cry, 1986), and designed the visualisations for this cycle at Pauls’ 75th birthday concert (2011).
The exhibition includes works from the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art, Zuzāns Collection and works from the artist’s estate, offering a look at the old master’s long creative career in printmaking and original graphics.
Irēna Bužinska, Exhibition Curator,
Latvian National Museum of Art / Museum of Decorative Arts and Design