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The Pleasure of Ignorance

Photography exhibition “The Pleasure of Ignorance” featuring works by Latvian photographer Inga Erdmane will be exhibited from April 5 in Latvian Museum of Photography. This exhibition is a part of Riga Photography Biennial 2018 programme.

In 2016 Inga Erdmane created a social art project in the form of a photography workshop for five clients of the Latvian Probation Service. This led to a 1000 page photo book – a testament to the pleasure that ignorance can bring to the artistic process and shows how five “naive amateurs” allowed their freedom from understanding photographic conventions to produce a compelling collection of images. For the workshop, participants were given a disposable camera and developed tools to capture the world as they see it. Erdmane intended to serve solely as intermediary helping them become aware of themselves, the camera and their environment through photography. During regular meetings she would discuss the results with the participants and offer artistic and technical feedback making them increasingly perceptive and more confident with the medium. No specific subject matter was imposed and the photos could be of anything deemed interesting. This led to nearly 40 rolls of filled film. The resulting images were of varying quality and a document of process, progress and result. Erdmane discovered that her workshop photographers had a quality she rarely encountered in the professional field. They exhibited a “pleasure of ignorance” allowing them to break rules they didn't realize existed. The results were frequently surprising and exciting. With the book Erdmane wants to invite the reader into the world of the participants as they captured it but also to have them consider the wealth of potential that ignorance, naivety and not knowing can have on the creative process.

Inga Erdmane (1973) in her works looks at the relationship between society and the individual, documenting actual events and offering their interpretation in installations, video, photographs and photobooks. The artist's interest in systems and structures is often directed at the margins where individuals enter the so-called grey zones. Erdmane graduated from the Department of Photography at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, and studied psychology in Riga. She had a solo exhibition “I Agree I Have Blundered. Criminalcase No 15890013311” at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (2013), and has taken part in group exhibitions in Latvia and abroad, including “INexactly THIS”, as part of the “Kunstvlaai” festival in Amsterdam, “The Rencontres d’Arles” (2012), “Rauma Biennale Balticum 2014” and the contemporary art festival “Survival Kit 6” (2014) in Riga. She has self-published six books and has participated in a number of book fairs and exhibitions in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Guatemala and elsewhere.

Curator: Edd Schouten The Riga Photography Biennial (RPB) is an international contemporary art event, focusing on the analysis of visual culture and artistic representation. The term ‘photography’ in the title of the biennial is used as an all-embracing concept encompassing a mixed range of artistic image-making practices that have continued to transform the lexicon of contemporary art in the 21 st century. The biennial covers issues ranging from cultural theory to current socio-political processes in the Baltics and the wider European region. Riga Photography Biennial attempts to record changes taking place all over the world and invites us to collectively interpret them whilst translating the complicated and oversaturated contemporary visual language into meaningful relationships between our daily reality, the camera lens, historic material, contemporary art, technologies and the future. In 2018 RPB is a part of a wider programme celebrating the centenary of the Republic of Latvia.