Architecture museum exhibit displays best of 60s in Rīga

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The 1960s was a time when the 'face' of Rīga was rapidly changing, and the Latvian Museum of Architecture has created an exhibit titled “Sixties: view of the city” including photographs from photographers Laimonis Stīpnieks, Gunārs Binde, Māra Brašmane and Vladimirs Gailis to show the modern architecture, new housing estates, important buildings and people in the city during this time period, according to a Latvian Radio broadcast on January 27.

“A modernisms photograph has the same characteristics as modernism in general - minimalism, strong linear perspective, geometric lines, at times some sort of dramatic effects," said museum director Ilze Martinsone.

The photos show the development of the Āgenskalna priedes housing estate, the Sporta Pils building, Rīga Central Station square and other important buildings. The exhibit covers not only buildings, but the neon ads near the legendary Sakta shop, as well as the interiors of the exclusive Mākslas grāmatnīca and Rīga cinema buildings. Brašmane's photographs also cover the human aspect of city development, showing the cafe public and Rīga's hippies on the street.

Art historian Ekaterina Vilkulina is the idea author and curator of the exhibit. She grew up in Rīga, but has gained all of her academic knowledge in Russia, Petersburg and Moscow. Her dissertation was dedicated specifically to 60s Soviet-era photography.

“It was a time of hope, I think. It was a time of cultural revolution that happened as in the West, as in the Soviet Union,” said Vilkulina.

"In the Soviet Union it was associated with destalinization, with a political thaw that promoted cultural growth in several areas. This great energy from the 60s, this large push has already significantly changed something in society. In the West it was also a time of great change that came through student protests and the sexual revolution," continued Vilkulina.

She created the photo exhibit in three parts: the first is dedicated to the beginnings of modernism in Rīga architecture, the second – the relationship between the old and new city, and the third – social life, which the curator describes as the most impressionistic part. The exhibit will open on January 28.

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