The exhibition of Kristians Brekte and Modris Svilāns "Latvian Musical Instruments. Experimental Laboratory"

02.09.-16.10.2022. 11:00-18:00

From 1 September, the exhibition of Kristians Brekte and Modris Svilāns "Latvian Musical Instruments. Experimental Laboratory" will be open to visitors in the Large Hall of Riga Art Space. Exhibition will be open to visitors until 16 October.

The experimental laboratory "Latvian Musical Instruments" is a visual art and sound project dedicated to folk instruments, their history and influences, as well as their contemporary re-creation. The initiators of the laboratory are the artist duo Kristians Brekte and Modris Svilāns, in collaboration with the curator Auguste Petre, while the project is based on the research on Latvian music instruments by the traditional music expert, ethno-musicologist Valdis Muktupāvels. Folk instruments are a large and important part of traditional culture and people's lives, and their influence is felt in various rituals and traditions, but it is significant that most often knowledge about the visual and sound properties of instruments has been passed on orally - by memory rather than by specific instruction.

The core of the laboratory are the kinetic and sound objects by K. Brekte and M. Svilāns, whose creation is based on the research of Latvian folk music instruments. Memory-based reconstruction includes the artistic potential to create pieces according to one's own subjective vision. In the context of visual art, any of the created instruments can be given new functions and properties, their appearance can be hyperbolized, or enveloped with new mythological qualities.

The involvement of guest artists is an essential part of the project. During the five evenings of the accompanying programme, guests will conceptually and physically intervene in the development of the exhibition. The exhibition layout provides a performance space for each participant, whose performative intervention becomes an integral part of the exhibition. The laboratory is open to people whose professional activity focuses on sound or instrument research from various aspects. The exhibition also includes instruments from the collection of composer Kārlis Auzāns.


On 1 September, there will be a performance of Andrejs Gradinarovs and Kodeks.

On 22 September at 19.00 - performance by the experimental music group Bērnu rīts.

On 29 September at 17.00 ethno-musicologist Valdis Muktupāvels will give a lecture on Latvian folk instruments.

On 13 October at 19.00 a conversation with the composer and instrument collector Kārlis Auzāns.

The laboratory will conclude with a +K+M+B performance on 15 October at 21.00.


Kristians Brekte (1981) graduated from the Stage Design Department of the Latvian Academy of Arts. He is currently an associate professor at the Art Academy of Latvia and the head of the Environmental Art Department of the Faculty of Design. Since 2003, he has participated in several group exhibitions in Latvia, Europe, as well as in Russia and the USA. He was nominated for the Purvītis Prize for the exhibition “Madonnas of Riga” (2010) and won the title of the Best Foreign Artist under the age of thirty-five at the international contemporary art fair Art Vilnius'12.

Modris Svilāns (1979) graduated from the Metal Design Department of the Art Academy of Latvia. M. Svilāns is an analog photography enthusiast. He has participated in group exhibitions since 2003. In 2012, at the House of Architects, he organized a solo exhibition “Inertia” dedicated to kinetic art objects and black and white photography. Together with K. Brecte, he has organised several joint exhibitions in recent years, including "Negative" at the New Castle in Cēsis and "HELIOS" at the Madona Museum of Regional History and Art.

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,, Erica synths and Kokmuiža. Special thanks to Kārlis Auzāns.