Image by Ina Stūre, Kristīne Krauze–Slucka

On May 16, the ISSP Gallery will host the opening of the exhibition series Contemporary Histories of Photography, which presents several artists’ versions and interpretations of the processes of writing the history of local photography. The first exhibition of the series that are part of the Riga Photography Biennial 2024, featuring artists Kristīne Krauze-Slucka and Agate Tūna, will be on view from May 17 to June 27.

Stories Editorial May 8, 2024

The series of two exhibitions Contemporary Histories of Photography is a creative commentary on the publication The History of Latvian Photography in Images, which ISSP plans to publish in autumn 2024. The exhibitions will highlight the subjectivity of each version of history and various lesser-known facets of local photography, such as paranormal practices, forgotten archives of women’s photography, the visual history of Riga’s queers, and photography’s relationship to poetic documentary. «The writing of history, including art history, is never neutral, but is woven into a social and political context, involving certain power relations and a good deal of personal choices. The task of Latvian photography scholars is to simultaneously fill in the vast «blank spots» and critically revise existing narratives,» says Liāna Ivete Žilde, curator of the exhibition series.

How to simultaneously fill a vacuum of in-depth historiography while critically re-examining existing narratives? The new works engage in dialogue with photographers and phenomena spanning various periods. Kristīne Krauze Slucka worked with the archive of Ina Stūre (1958–2006), a photographer active at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, but largely overlooked today. Krauze Slucka’s work questions the «disappearance» of women from historical narratives and highlights Stūre’s expressive, staged images against the backdrop of the modest living conditions and mundane domesticity of the turbulent time period. Both artists share an experimental approach, emphasising the materiality of the image. Meanwhile, Agate Tūna, driven by personal and artistic interests, traces the threads of paranormal and illusionist photography in Latvia, pushing the conventional boundaries of the photographic medium and its relationship with reality.


The series of exhibitions combines the past and the present of the medium, pointing to both continuity and possible future directions in Latvian photography. The unified scenography of the event was created by artist Liene Pavlovska, referring to the historical technique of cyanotype. The second exhibition of the series, History of Contemporary Photography II (artists Annemarija Gulbe, Konstantīns Žukovs), will take place from July 5 to August 15. The exhibition series is part of the Riga Photography Biennial (RFB) 2024 programme. RFB is an international contemporary art event focusing on the analysis and artistic representation of visual culture. This year’s programme focuses on identity issues. More information about the RFB 2024 programme on the biennial’s website.

The curatorial concept of the exhibition was developed as part of the Art Academy of Latvia’s Master’s programme in Curatorial Studies, as well as the project Landscapes of Identities: History, Culture and Environment / IDEUM (Nr. VPP-LETONIKA-2021/1-0008) of the State Research Programme Letonika for the Development of Latvian and European Societies of the Latvian Research Council. Partners and supporters of the exhibition: State Cultural Capital Foundation, Riga City Council, Society Integration Foundation, Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, Mystero Museum, Artglass, Adverts, Valmiermuiža,, Echo Gone Wrong, NOBA.