From 19 December 2019 to 1 March 2020, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga (Skārņu iela 10) will present the “Coffee Cantata”, a personal exhibition by famous Latvian textile artist Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere. It is a dedication to the beloved artist’s eightieth birthday and her fifty years of creative work.
Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere (1939) is one of the leading, most talented and also most popular textile artists in Latvia. The anniversary exhibition’s seemingly unusual title, Coffee Cantata, was chosen together with the artist – as a reference to the fact that the aroma of the coffee, as well as music, has always had a significant role in the long process of her work creation. It has another associative explanation: Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere’s four-part composition of the same title is dedicated to the collection of poems Ceturtā grāmata [The Fourth Book] written by Latvian poet Jānis Peters (1939) in 1975.
Already since the 1960s, artist’s career has developed in close parallel with the formation of the Latvian school of textile art established by Rūdolfs Heimrāts (1926–1992). Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere is the most characteristic and artistically original representative of this school. Therefore it is impossible to pass her works at the exhibitions without recognition and admiration. They always excell with creative thinking in terms of form, techniques and materials. Similar to how Poland takes pride in the oeuvre of Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930–2017), France and the USA – in the textiles by Sheila Hicks (1934), Latvia particularly highlights the art of Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere as a kind of cultural symbol.
The “ensemble principle” established convincingly by the master in the 1970s–80s is an innovation that has not lost its importance even today. The textile ensembles by Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere should be considered as worldwide achievements. Just like her imaginative form of expression – always emotional and poetic – irrespective of being executed in active color or tonal moods.
The concept of the solo show this time is focused on the retrospective part of the artist’s creative contribution, career legacy, with which Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere won over and charmed the audience, beginning already with her very first extensive personal exhibition at the turn of 1978–1979 in Riga at the then Foreign Art Museum. Almost twenty large-scale compositions and textile ensembles reveal to viewers sources of author’s inspirations and emotions.
The exposition is located in the Great Hall as well as in the both upper floor vestibules of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design and creates a decorative atmosphere. The scenography elaborated in tandem with the artist herself (exhibition designer – Jurģis Krāsons). The author’s works live in close bond with special light effects and her brother’s Raimonds Pauls composed music.
The exhibition includes all of Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere’s most important large-scale tapestries that have been inscribed in the “golden fund” of the Museum (like Harmony, Riga, Germany, Sowing Time), as well textiles executed in mixed techniques (Corrida, Lifetime, The Third Generation, etc.), also refined and carefully thought-out textile ensembles (Universe, Coffee Cantata, Travel Notes) created in the 1970s–1980s. The panorama is supplemented by works dealing with history and nature protection problems realized at the end of the 1980s – beginning of the 1990s. Moreover, the artist’s role in designing unique public interiors is of great significance.
The exhibition holds many large-scale photos reflecting Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere’s creative work (photos by Jānis Kreicbergs, Oleg Zernov) and posters of her previous solo shows.
The visual identity of this project includes the photo shot by the famous Latvian photographer Jānis Kreicbergs. Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere highly evaluated his professionalism and frequently asked him to assist in documenting her working processes.
The artist thinks and creates ceaselessly, still taking a very active part in exhibitions. Master has held personal exhibitions, participated in various important international projects, competitions (in Mexico, China and elsewhere), sectional shows, symposia. Her works have brought pleasure to Latvian viewers and proudly carried the name of Latvia beyond its borders – in Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, and other countries. They have been created for interiors, included in museum collections and held in private collections.
Alongside displays of public affection, Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere has received many awards, including, in 2014, the highest national distinction of the Republic of Latvia – Order of the Three Stars. The 1st place at the 6th Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial IDENTITY in 2018 also has to be mentioned.
The exposition will once again remind us about the artist’s unique contribution to the Latvian culture. Those viewers, who already love her creativeness, for sure, will have a good chance to focus on her artworks, furthermore, it will be a surprise to the younger generation and Riga guests. Hopefully, the exhibition will bring pleasure to a wide audience and will inspire our young artists.
In the context of the project, meetings with Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere and Talks at the Museum about her versatile, creative ideas-rich art are also planned.
Text by Velta Raudzepa