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JUST ON TIME. Design Stories About Latvia

From 22 November 2018 to 27 January 2019 the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (Riga, Skārņu ielā 10) will present the Latvian centenary exhibition "JUST ON TIME. Design Stories About Latvia".

Through traces of material culture, the exhibition will tell about Latvian society in several periods of history. How did the Latvian sensibility come about, what role did design play in it? What were the discussions about the beautiful and the contemporary in different periods, about the boundaries of design and art? How does design change alongside fluctuations in prosperity? What are the trends under which new design movements have come into being?

Design strives to be contemporary – the ideas proposed by designers often come as an answer to a functional problem, a need or a consumer desire. A successful design solution is inextricably linked with the technologies and aesthetic perceptions of the day thus embodying the values and daily life of the society at large. In their day, Ansis Cīrulis and Jūlijs Madernieks were just on time with textiles and furniture ensembles, as well as Baltars workshop, and the most outstanding examples of book publications of the 1930s (Zelta ābele), Minox, VEF. Spīdola, the design of the Riga Porcelain Factory in the 1960s, the Riga school of poster, Zaigas and Māris Gailis' Mēbeles jauniem cilvēkiem [Furniture for Young People].

The exhibition JUST ON TIME. Design Stories About Latvia will look back at the 100 years since the establishment of Latvia, over which design gradually became an independent discipline, detaching from art, architecture, craft and industry. This exposition will not be a chronological story about achievements across the centenary – the episodes in the history of design will be arranged by a search for common themes and points of departure in the work of designers of different generations.

Along with design objects, the exhibition will include videos, photographs and other records that reveal the contexts in which these objects were created and used. The project is made using the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, National Archives of Latvia, Latvia State Archive of Audiovisual Documents, National Library of Latvia and other memory institutions.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an anthology offering scholarly articles about important pages in the history of Latvian design, for example, about the heritage of Jūlijs Madernieks, about the Army Economy Store as the most modern in the Baltic States in the 1930s, about the plywood aeroplanes built by Kārlis Irbītis, about the graphic identity of the VEF factory, about kinetic art projects etc. The second part of the catalogue will consist of interviews documenting eyewitness accounts about important signs of the times from the 1930s to nowadays.

Parallel to the exhibition the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design is preparing a broad programme of events: a scientific conference, creative workshops, meetings, excursions and other activities.

Latvian National Museum of Art / Museum of Decorative Arts and Design

Inese Baranovska, LNMA / Head of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design

Ilze Kalnbērziņa Praz and Zane Zajančkauska (association Kolektīvs), Kristīne Budže,
Irēna Bužinska, Rūta Rinka, Dace Ļaviņa, Ieva Zvejniece,
Austra Stupele, Liene Granovska, Kristīne Šica

Ilze Kalnbērziņa Praz (association Kolektīvs), Zigmunds Lapsa