Photo by Henrik Duncker

From August 4 to September 10 an exhibition «Protocol Gifts» by Finnish photographer Henrik Duncker will be on view at the Kuldīga Arts Hall. It showcases a photography series, dedicated to diplomatic gifts.

Stories Fold August 2, 2017

 

«Protocol Gifts» is a photography series by Finnish artist Henrik Duncker taken in Latvia. The project was conceived when Anna Volkova invited Henrik to create a series of pictures of diplomatic gifts for the «Talka» yearbook published by the «Orbita» creative group. The photographs feature gifts to the Latvian state and people from other countries, as well as gifts from the Latvian people to the state and state officials.

Anna Volkova reminds of the strict protocol, which is the subject to the gift giving and gift redemption — when leaving the position, officials can redeem gifts from the state. «These strange objects, big and small, are piling up in shelves with showcases. Over time, some code tags disappear, and they become unknown items from unknown people given to unknown addressees. It is not a typical collection. This funny aspect can be easily seen in Henrik’s photographs,» says Anna.

Duncker’s photographs show us such gifts as a bobsleigh helmet, the gift from the Latvian Olympic Committee, a piece of the Berlin Wall, a gold décor from the President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, and other items.«The photography project symbolically gives back the gifts to the people. It is an invitation to not just satisfy curiosity but also take a glimpse of the behind–the–scenes of the functions and

«The photography project symbolically gives back the gifts to the people. It is an invitation to not just satisfy curiosity but also take a glimpse of the behind–the–scenes of the functions and mechanisms of a democratic country, making them more transparent,» says Vladimir Svetlov, one of the exhibition’s organisers.

«These pictures of presents made by the elite clearly demonstrate the tongue–in–cheek approach typical for Henrik, this time ever so present in his view of the identity of a national image within the context of a hectic Europe, at a time when Finland is already marking — and Latvia is just preparing to mark — the centenary of their independence,» Vladimir adds.

The works by Henrik Duncker are included in the permanent collection of the contemporary art museum «Kiasma» in Helsinki, as well as in «Moderna Museet» in Stockholm and the Finnish Museum of Photography. His photographs have also been published in international media.

The exhibition «Protocol Gifts» is created by Anna Volkova, Vladimir Svetlov, Maira Dobele and Henrik Duncker.

The opening will take place on August 3, at 16.00 at the Kuldīga Arts Hall, 1905. Gada iela 6, Kuldīga. The entrance is free of charge.