Latvian Jewellery Art Association was established two years ago with a view to bringing together professional artists active in the field. This exhibition, MARK, is the association’s second joint art project. Its authors come from the ranks of top-class masters with years of experience to their name as well as young creators freshly out of training. This broad spectrum of generations and styles is a definite strength that enables us to be at the forefront of new developments and, at the same time, to ensure unbroken continuity in our field.

As we were thinking about the upcoming exhibition in Daugavpils, we were looking for a keyword that would link our creativity to this singular place, to its history and architecture, and, indeed, to the art of the distinguished artist, Mark Rothko, without limiting each author’s freedom of creative expression.

The brooch was selected as a connecting type of jewellery that would bring it all together through its fundamental features. In jewellery arts, the brooch is traditionally compared to a miniature artwork or painting. Wearing it requires a fabric foundation for, unlike other types of jewellery, it makes no direct contact with the skin. The brooch stands out against the backdrop of clothing, which makes it possible to perceive it as a symbolic message or a sign. This jewellery item has an amazing capacity to highlight the individual traits of its wearer. Oftentimes, artists choose to make a brooch when they want to carry across a certain message that goes beyond functionality. To a jewellery artist, a brooch is what a blank canvas is to a painter.

This complex set of ideas finds a brief and concise expression in the exhibition title: MARK. A mark, or a sign, is a loaded word with a substantial range of meaning in many languages. In Latvian, it denotes that which makes something stand out among similar entities, also an established symbolic indication. In addition, in its English equivalent, the exhibition title is a tribute to Mark Rothko, a vivid marker of his time, whose art is among our sources of inspiration.

When making jewellery, the author uses plane, line, colour, shape and all sorts of material to create an artistic image. Each item is a code, which contains a set of visual symbols or marks that tell a specific story. We encourage our viewers to read these marks and try to decode the hidden message of the artworks.

Zane Vilka