Daugavpils marks abstract expressionist's 111th birthday

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Daugavpils, the birthplace of abstract expressionism’s leading artist Mark Rothko, launched an international experts’ conference this week to coincide with his 111th birthday anniversary.

The Daugavpils Mark Rothko Arts Center (DMRMC) is continuing celebrations Thursday dedicated to the abstract expressionist painter’s life and work this month.

Since Tuesday in both Rīga and Daugavpils the international conference “Abstract Expressionism: the Language of Emotions” was held in which world-known art historians and artists inspired by Rothko from Paris, New York, London, Madrid, San Paulo and Moscow have been taking part.

Among the participants are Rothko researcher, British art historian Dr. David Anfam, the master of abstract paintings of 360 degrees and colour perception; psychology researcher Sanford Wurmfeld from New York; Russian art curator and critic Victor Misiano; architecture professor Walter Unterrainer from Aarhus; French academician Annie Cohen-Solal, with her presentation on the Latvian version of a book dedicated to Rothko; as well as both of the artist’s own children Christopher Rothko and Kate Rothko Prizel.

The first stage of the project launched September 15 with the opening of the ‘Digital and printed phenomena’ exhibit at the EU House Art Gallery’s First Floor in Riga, where it can be viewed until September 30.

Also, as part of the Riga2014 European Capital of Culture program ‘Longing for the Ocean’, a concert event was held at the National Library’s Ziedonis Hall on Tuesday, September 23, featuring the work of English composer James Clarke.

Then on Wednesday, September 24 conference participants boarded a special Rīga-Daugavpils train  entitled "Laboratory of Silence" where they took part in an ambitious multimedia drama about Rothko on their way to the town of his birth.

Later yesterday evening upon their arrival in Daugavpils the multimedia performance “Rothko Inspires”, featuring the interaction of modern art, music and multimedia took place, culminating at midnight.

The “Contemporary Painting of Latvia” exhibition was also opened to visitors, representing both common and distinct features of modern Latvian paintings through the eyes of the following artists'  – Sigita Daugule, Jānis Dukāts, Andris Eglītis, Daiga Krūze, Viktorija Valujeva, Andris Vītoliņš and Otto Zitmanis. Moreover, the works of Irish painter Kristina Huxley were also on view, as well as an exhibition of British artist Peter Griffin and the final exhibit of the international residency “Mark Rothko 2014” .

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