Work in progress focus on the figure of Valdis Āboliņš (1939, Liepāja – 1983, West Berlin), Latvian artist and curator, who was exiled to Germany during WWII where he afterwards lived and worked. Valdis Āboliņš is known as an organiser and co-creator of the first performances and activities of the international art group “Fluxus” in collaboration with Tomas Schmit, Bazon Brock, Joseph Beuys, Wolf Vostell and others in Aachen, Germany, in the 1960s. His work as an artist and organizer was shaped by his leftist views in the distinctly liberal West Berlin. As he became the executive secretary of the recently established art institution The neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) in the beginning of the 70ies, he witnessed and played an active role in the tense cultural life in West-Berlin where its unique placement in the Cold War situation triggered a dialogue between the East and the West in various forms.
Valdis Āboliņš was also using his executive position to strengthen the communication with the Soviet Latvia creating conditions for presenting Latvian art to the Western world of the time through artist residencies and exhibitions of Latvian artists in West Berlin. The project will result as a publication and is going to examine the activities of Valdis Āboliņš and his influence in the Latvian cultural space during the Soviet period and later on by displaying the various forms his creativity manifested in.
Valdis Āboliņš. Avant-garde, Mailart, New Left and Cultural Relations during the Cold War
Ieva Astahovska (ed.)
Contributors: Adam C. Oellers, Antra Priede-Krievkalne, Ojārs J. Rozītis, Maruta Schmidt, Petra Stegmann, Barbara Straka, Mark Allen Svede, Jānis Taurens, Ģirts Zēgners
Design: Alexei Murashko
Rīga: The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art 2018
English/Latvian, 654 pages