A sketcht for an installation for RIBOCA3 by Amanda Ziemele. Photo by Kristīne Madjare

The third edition of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA3), running from 15 July until 2 October, led by the chief curator René Block and titled Exercises in Respect, will feature 63 artists in the main exhibition in Andrejsala.

Stories Editorial January 24, 2022

RIBOCA3 takes the artist’s vision as its conceptual starting point, positioning exhibition–making as a space for experimental expression that can be free of preconceived ideas. The bienniale enables each artwork to operate on its own terms, with conversation sparked naturally rather than through the lens of a rigid curatorial theme. The title Exercises in Respect reflects the emphasis on appreciating what each artwork communicates individually while also operating within a biennial context.


Chief curator René Block elaborates: «With a long history of phenomena, gestures of respect often signify an attempt at understanding each other on an equal footing despite our differences. This edition embraces the variety of voices it presents across continents and generations, striking both in harmony and disharmony with each other as they come together.»

Continuing the last edition’s commitment to the development of the area, RIBOCA3 returns to Andrejsala as the primary venue for the biennale. Spanning over 20 hectares of a territory previously used as an industrial port on the bank of the Daugava river, Andrejsala is distinguished by its monumental industrial architecture, including an abandoned electric power station, ports, granaries, empty lots, hangars and a railway station, focalizing the exhibition. Block explains how this landscape defined his selection of artists: «Filling this space demands a sense of musicality. Each artist becomes a voice, their artworks an instrument, and Andrejsala their atmospheric concert hall. Rather than following a score created by its conductors, RIBOCA3 acts as an orchestra that celebrates the sound it makes by itself.»


Beyond Andrejsala, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design — housed in the former St. George’s Church, the oldest surviving stone building in the city — will also host an exhibition of prints. The display features an array of 38 internationally renowned artists who have created works for biennales that René Block has previously curated in Hamburg (1985), Sydney (1990), Istanbul (1995), and Cetinje (2004). This also includes works by some of the artists who will participate in the main exhibition. The artists whose works will be on display at the museum, will be announced in spring.


Over half the work on view in the main exhibition will be new commissions created in response to Riga’s unique physical, social and historical terrain. Rooted in the significance of its geographic context, RIBOCA3 will present its largest showing of Latvian artists yet, while over half of the participating artists are from the wider Baltic region. Balancing regional perspectives with those of the global artistic landscape, the biennale continues to encourage the creative conversations of today with the city and its surroundings as an underlying framework. Working alongside Block, Nico Anklam is acting as associate curator for RIBOCA3. He will also develop the public program for RIBOCA3.


More information about the biennale and its participants — on the RIBOCA website.