Cēsis Art Festival 2018

June 07, 2018. year • News

This year’s Cēsis Art Festival is running from 22 July through 26 August 2018. The key event of the programme will be the 36-hour live sound installation Unexpected Sourcesby the TĪRKULTŪRA show of Klasika Latvian Radio 3 station featuring performances by the intellectual American retrofuturist John Maus, the unpigeonholeable redefiners Visible Cloaks, an Internet dream by the synth pop sound artist Motion Graphics and live appearances by the fascinating Italian percussionist Andrea Belfi and other internationally acclaimed artists, and taking place on 27‒29 July 2018 at a completely new venue. A reunion with the video art icon of our age that is James Benning is expected, as are performances of some of the most significant Latvian theatre productions of the season. Alongside all that, the programme includes a selection of classic values ‒ the Grand Gala on the Cēsis Castle Park open-air stage, starring the internationally acclaimed Latvian opera diva Marina Rebeka and the conductorKarel Mark Chichon.

‘Keeping the promise we made at the 10th Cēsis Art Festival to alternate the dominant of the editions between music and visual arts, it is the latter that we are building this year’s programme around.  We have invited a new team who are selecting events for the programme, and they have been given complete freedom in their creative decisions. These people are Rolands Pēterkops/MAREUNROLS, one of the presenters of the TĪRKULTŪRA radio show of contemporary music on Klasika Radio 3, and the architect Austris Mailītis, who have come up with an audio-visual installation featuring live sessions. The sound installation will inaugurate a new Cēsis venue at 6 Lenču Street. A very special solo show by the American director and artist James Benning is being mounted by Žanete Skarule who brought the iconic avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas to Cēsis a few years ago. The Cēsis Art Festival continues its experiments while retaining all of its excellence,’ Director of Cēsis Art Festival Juris Žagars explains the plans for this year’s edition.

TĪRKULTŪRA (PURE CULTURE) at the Cēsis Art Festival will transform into a pure white space where you can try to see the as yet invisible,things like ‒ what music looks like in the language of visual arts and how pure talent and live creativity are revealed in an interaction of genres and media. The programme of the installation features vivid auditory and visual experiences: the intellectual of avant-garde music John Maus with his emotional and mature compositions filled with courage and inspiring intelligence; the Visible Cloaks audio-visual performance artists on a travel through space and time inspired by electronic music, a special collaboration with the video artist Brenna Murphy; Motion Graphics, a master of synth pop and Internet dreams, who uses programmed instruments in his practice to imitate acoustic ones, like clarinet and marimba; composer of electro-acoustic music and master of experimental musicAndrea Belfi, who weaves together the sound of acoustic and electronic percussion, creating energetically charged and hypnotic soundscapes; DJ and music producer Colin Johnco from France; the American filmmaker James Benning, as well as many others whose names will be announced in June.

This year’s visual arts programme offers a reunion with James Benning, whose large-scale installation FAROCKI opened the festival in the summer of 2016. James Benning is considered one of the most fascinating figures of American independent film since the 1970s. Like the pioneer of avant-garde filmmaking Jonas Mekas, who visited Cēsis in 2014, Benning has dedicated his career and life to a search for new form, content and subjects.

As we continue to explore the work of this striking American artist, this year’s edition of Cēsis Art Festival will present an exhibition and a programme of films by Benning, as well as a meeting with the man himself. The show will feature Benning’s Two Cabinsproject ‒ life-size architectural mockups that have been touring many of world’s museums and galleries since the artist’s 2014 solo exhibition Decoding Fearin Hamburg.

The show will also present a recent series of photographs Thirty-One Friend(2015) dedicated to Benning’s friends and contemporaries ‒ vivid figures from the world of art and film. The TĪRKULTŪRA installation will feature a screening of 52 films by James Benning, part of his last year’s 52 Films project.

22 July will see the festival’s traditional grand gala take place at the Cēsis Castle Park open-air auditorium. The star guests of the Salut d’Amourgala are going to be Marina Rebeka, one of the biggest internationally acclaimed Latvian opera stars, and the great Karel Mark Chichon on the conductor’s podium of the Latvian Festival Orchestra. Musically, the programme will be built around the theme of love: Marina Rebeka will perform musical pieces by Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev; however, the highlight of the programme will be an interpretation of the famous Arias from Jānis Mediņš’ Orchestral Suite No. 3, a tribute to the centenary of Latvian independence. This symbol of Latvian symphonic music has been reimagined by the experienced conductor and musical arranger Jēkabs Ozoliņš from Liepāja: among the original parts for orchestral instruments, he has weaved in a vocalise for a female voice; the new version will be premiered by Marina Rebeka. The Salut d’Amourgala is a collaboration with the Cēsis Concert Hall, Cēsis Centre for Culture and Tourism, the ŠALC Festival and Laba Mūzika Concert Agency and has been included in the Born in Latvia series of concerts as part of the Latvian Centenary Culture Programme.

Cēsis Art Festival will likewise offer the Grand Prix programme of theatre performances, already a favourite among the viewers; like every year, the programme is selected by the experienced theatre critic Silvija Radzobe. Marking the Lielais Kristaps National Film Award for Lifetime Contribution received in late 2017 by the classic directors of Latvian animation Roze Stiebra and Ansis Bērziņš, Cēsis Art Festival will invite to a programme of selected Latvian animation films.

Continuing the successful experience of the previous years, the current edition of the festival will also feature an exhibition by SEB Scholarship holders: a show of works by graduates of the Latvian Academy of Arts will be on view at the Cēsis Concert Hall. The long-time partner of Cēsis Art Festival Latvijas Mobilais Telefons will provide live broadcasts of the festival’s key events at the LMT Straume live streaming site.

The full festival programme will be announced in early June. Tickets are already available to the Grand Gala at the Cēsis Castle Park Open-Air Auditorium.

12th Cēsis Art Festival is taking place with the support of the festival’s patron SEB Banka, the leading telecommunication operator and general sponsor of the festival LMT, art patron SIA Alfor company, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, the State Culture Capital Foundation, Cēsis Concert Hall and Cēsis District Council.