From 7 January to 27 March 2022, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga (10 Skārņu iela) will host a solo exhibition "Parmijas" by glass artist Andas Munkevica.
Anda Munkevica is a leading glass artist in Latvia who has been working with this medium for more than thirty years. She embodies existential reflections and solves ethical dilemmas in allegorical and symbolic images. Her large-scale spatial installations and extended series of works are characterised by philosophical contemplation. She is fluent in a wide range of glass technologies. Glass is tinted, fused, bent, constructed, cut, torn, polished, engraved and treated in many other ways, embracing the field of automotive technique. Anda Munkevica uses the plastic and visual properties of the material with admirable skill, composing the interplay of colour and light, creating a distinctive sensuality that is unique to glass. The sculptor Gleb Panteleev believes that "her sculptures vividly reveal the sculptural essence".
The solo exhibition "Parmijas" at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design will feature compositions created in the last five years. Most of the works have been created by the artist especially for this exhibition. The thematic leitmotif of the exhibition is the moment of transition, crossroads. It is a crossroads of time and action, when you are faced with existential challenges and no external markers help you navigate them - you have to look inside yourself, question your conscience, make choices and find the light for the way forward. The theme of "crossings" is played out in four main compositions. The central two are the installation "Identity Trail" and the cycles "Black Horses" and "White Horses". The 'Horse Cycle' juxtaposes peace, reconciliation, eroticism and balancing tenderness against the creative, urging spirit, force and destruction. They are allegorical compositions that embody the full course of life with its stable and contrasting points. The Identity Trail, on the other hand, is like a purgatory - its rituals lead through the experience of the blow of fate, which initially brings one down to earth, but then, step by step, allows one to be reborn and to rise above. The work "Society" and the group of works "Observers" expand the theme of the exhibition, allowing it to be perceived with a particular dimension of social reality or encouraging its interpretation in timeless, eternal categories.
"For more than 30 years, glass has been like a companion to me. With a special and unique traffic between us. Why glass? I work, live and think in this material. It is strong and fragile, fiery and icy at the same time. A material that does not forgive mistakes. It takes time, strength, sweat and tears, giving in return joy, celebration and indescribable happiness. I use this material to reveal the space of thought and feeling, its inner structure and essence, to infuse it with light," the artist describes her enduring interest in the material.
Anda Munkevica graduated from the Department of Glass Art and Design at the Art Academy of Latvia under the supervision of Professor Teņs Grašs jun. and Arnolds Vilbergs (BA 1998) and Bruno Strautiņš (MA 2001), and received a second Master's degree in 2021, graduating from the Department of Sculpture. She calls sculptor Bruno Strautiņš and glass artist Dainis Gudovskis the ones with whom she is "on the same wavelength" in art, but Anda Munkevica calls Ojāras Bērziņš, a teacher at Salaspils Secondary School No 1, founder of the Visual Plastic Arts Department and fine arts teacher, her real teacher, who first saw the spark of art in her and guided her into the fateful glass path. Studies abroad played a decisive role in the artist's creative development. In the late 1990s, she studied in the USA at the Eastlake Glass Studio and the Pratt Fine Arts Centre, as well as at the Pilchuk Glass School, founded by Dale Chihuly, under the guidance of American artist Curtiss Brock and Czech glass artist Jan Mares. Returning to Latvia, Anda Munkevica and her husband founded the glass art and design studio "AM studio", which they have been running for 20 years. It has grown from a small studio to a unique company, where particularly complex and original commissions in the fields of architecture, construction and interior design are executed.
She has held 14 solo exhibitions in Latvia and abroad, and participated in more than 60 group exhibitions, festivals, biennales and symposia in 19 countries. Andas Munkevica's works are in museums in the USA, Belgium, Japan, Russia, China, Ukraine, Hungary, Germany, as well as in Latvia - in the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design and other organisations, institutions and private collections.