Daniela Vētra's multimedia exhibition and immersive performance Declaration of Independence

01.04.-21.05.2023. 11.00-18.00

From 1 April to 21 May, the exhibition Declaration of Independence by artist Daniela Vētra will be on view at the Riga Art Space. On 17 and 19 April, the exhibition will include an immersive performance directed by the artist and based on a play by British playwright Adam Donen.

Declaration of Independence is a manifesto of artistic and reproductive freedom that, in a synergy of installation, drama, performance, video, vocal and sound art, mercilessly explores the link between childbirth and violence at a time when conservative populism poses a global threat to women's bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. Daniela Vētra rages with righteous anger against the societal double standards, censorship and shaming practices to which the anonymous societal mob subjects individuals who dare to speak out against discriminatory norms.

The exhibition is an experimental feminist artwork created by a team of men who are subject to the will of one woman: artist Artūrs Virtmanis, curator Igors Gubenko, composer Toms Auniņš and others. The audience will be presented with a multimedia installation, the space of which is marked by dystopian objects in a post-human aesthetic - a futuristic medical cabinet with a birthing chair, a podium of shame surrounded by LED screens, a fountain with a sculpture of a pregnant cyborg, Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki stone, as well as four video installations and a specially created sound art piece by composer Toms Auniņš.

As part of the exhibition, an immersive performance directed by Daniela Vētra based on a play by British playwright Adam Donen will take place on 17 and 19 April at 19.00. The main roles will be played by the artist, Artūrs Virtmanis and Kašers, with Viktorija Pakalniece and Mārtiņš Zvīgulis as soloists. The performance, for which the exhibition space will become the stage and auditorium, transgressively depicts the continuation of life as a serial, industrial production-like process. As she tirelessly gives birth to one child after another, the protagonist delivers a dramatic monologue that concentrates the pain, anger and longing for autonomy as an unconditional value of countless women. The performance includes scenes of nudity and violence and is not suitable for children, young people under 16 and people whose feelings can be hurt by transgressive art.

Tickets for the performances can be purchased at the Biļešu Paradīze box office and on the website, and from 1 April they will also be available on site at the Riga Art Space, Kungu iela 3, Riga.

The performance and exhibition Declaration of Independence is accompanied by a public programme, which will include discussions on artistic freedom and women's bodily autonomy by experts and opinion leaders, a lecture on socially active and transgressive art by art historian and curator Līna Birzaka-Priekule, and a masterclass on the productive manifestation of anger and aggression by Daniela Vētra.

Video artists : Adam Donen, Sandijs Ruļuks, Krišs Apšenieks, Andrejs Strokins, Emīls Geršinskis-Ješinskis, Māris Ločmelis, Egija Smeile, Lolita Epnere.

Supporters: Māris Ločmelis, Laura Dišlere, Laura Aizporiete, Sunstudio, Philip Shein, Mārtiņš Straupe, Anna Kalnā, Mersedes Margoit, Anna Priede.

Daniela Vētra (1991) is a multimedia artist whose practice focuses on the performative interaction of the body with the environment and the audience, creating immersive and transformative collective experiences. She works in installation, live art and experimental theatre, creating her works as affectively saturated autobiographical narratives with sharp socio-political messages denouncing inequality. Vētra’s performances are "total works of art" (Gesamtkunstwerken), in which expressive actions of the body bring to life a synaesthetic space created by light, sound, objects, video and text. She studied classical ballet for seven years, graduated from the Riga School of Design and Art's clothing design programme, and holds a BA in contemporary circus arts from L'Escola de Circ Rogelio Rivel in Barcelona. Daniela Vētra's work has been created and exhibited in Latvia, Spain, the Netherlands, Finland, Georgia and Estonia.

The exhibition is organized by the Association of Culture Institutions of Riga City Council and the exhibition hall Riga Art Space with the support of the Riga City Council and the State Culture Capital Foundation and LG Electronics.