Today, on February 23, at 18.00, the exhibition Propaganda Effect: The Poster in Latvia as a Forgotten Phenomenon will be opened in the experimental art space Pilot of the Art Academy of Latvia (AAL). The exhibition focuses on the political role of artists in influencing social processes in occupied Latvia, exploring it also in the context of other countries. The exhibition can be viewed until April 20.
The poster’s strength lies in its ability to quickly, laconically, and directly give an easy–to–understand, rhetoric, and clear message to the viewer. By identifying the collection of posters in the Art Academy of Latvia, the authors of the exhibition, AAL Art History and Theory Senior year students Zanda Kagaine, Monta Gintere, Laima Dūda, and Inese Gātere explore the poster as an instrument of propaganda of Soviet power in the territory of Latvia during the Soviet occupation. The exhibition reflects both the various issues related to politics, society, and ideology, which are affected by propaganda, as well as attempts to identify the public’s reaction to it, by studying the historical records of the museum archives.
With technological development, when poster’s efficiency has been shadowed by the opportunities offered by the Internet and social networks, poster has become a forgotten phenomenon, although this media has an ancient history and originates in Ancient Greece. While the art poster, devoted to cultural and social events, was trending in the turn of 19th and 20th century, the political, including the propaganda poster, came into the spotlight along with the events of the First World War, when it was particularly important for campaigning for a particular political force and, through the poster, cultivate a public opinion appropriate to its policies.
Bearing in mind that the propaganda exists in today’s society, just as it did back then, the exhibition calls for the comparison and discussion of the role of propaganda in human life and the impact on it, as well as the role of artists in political artistic processes in Latvia during the Soviet occupation. The exhibition is intended as an archival journal entry of the times, reporting on the subjective experience and history of propaganda art in Latvia, within the broader context of the propaganda narratives in other communist countries.
The exhibition Propaganda Effect: The Poster in Latvia as a Forgotten Phenomenon will be on display in the experimental art space Pilot from February 23 until April 20.