The jury has selected Amanda Ziemele's work “O day and night, but this is wondrous strange. And therefore as a stranger give it welcome”* as the most suitable among six applications in the open competition organised by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia for the concept and implementation of a Latvian exposition at the 60th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2024.

The Latvian pavilion will be created by the cultural project agency Indie and the Polish curator Adam Budak, Director of the Art Society Kestner Gesellschaft (Hanover, Germany). The architect of the exhibition will be Niklāvs Paegle, and the organizer of the exhibition will be Martins Vizbulis.

The jury, chaired by Māra Lāce, Director of the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA), included Antra Priede, Vice-Rector of the Art Academy of Latvia (LMA) Līna Birzaka – Priekule, the curator of the LNMA, Rasa Jansone, artist and art critic, Maija Kurševa, art critic, and Jānis Zuzāns, art collector and founder of the art centre "Zuzeum".

“This is Amanda Ziemele’s newly defined painting as a spatial extravaganza of irregular geometry and organic volume. A space of an imaginary encounter, and broken memories; as it actively unfolds and opens in an uncontrolled rhythm and suspense, it orchestrates a ritual of a form-in-becoming, a celebration of cosmic multidimensionality, staged in a cubicle of historical legacy. Novella “Flatland. A Romance of Many Dimensions” by Edwin A. Abbott, who was English schoolmaster and theologian, which was released in 1884 under the author’s nickname Square, forms the basis of the idea and the concept of the master-narrative of the exposition. Part geometry lesson, part social satire, this classic work of science fiction (or a “mathematical fiction” as some call it) aims at playfully expanding readers’ imagination beyond the limits of our “respective dimensional prejudices”. Seduced by the treaty’s hypotheses about a fourth and higher dimensions, Amanda Ziemele embraces the challenge of investigating its relevance today through transforming this world model,” says the application of Amanda’s project for the Venice Biennale Pavilion competition.

"The project's offer demonstrates a mental connection to Latvia's artistic heritage in terms of content, emotion and form. However, the message is truly contemporary, offering a completely different perspective on the medium of painting, marking its sovereign place in today's artistic processes. The artistic solution shows an individual handwriting and a way of expression that is clearly able to speak to the audience. Painting and the understanding of its language appears in the work of the artist as a liberating performative act, implemented in the miracle of polyphonic space and based on the relationship and interaction between space, objects and viewers.” says M. Lāce, Chairwoman of the Jury, comments on the choice.

A. Priede, Member of the Jury, Vice-Rector of the Art Academy of Latvia, says about the winner of the competition: "The poetic nature of the project concept convinces and challenges with its originality, providing a comprehensive insight into the thematic application and its threads. An updated contemporary conception of the medium of painting that continues to simultaneously explore tradition and model future perspectives. The content and messages of the exhibition concept reflect the continuation of the Latvian contemporary art tradition in an innovative way.

"This is the only project that really offers the possibility of healing in a credible way, through humour, through lightness – and yet with the most serious attitude towards painting as the so-called "classical" medium, which for a long time (for example, in Soviet times) had a place of honour in Latvia. Thus, Amanda is not only participating in the world's enduring interest in painting, she is commenting on Latvia's status as a country of painters in a unique and fresh way", artist Rasa Jansone, Member of the Jury, expresses her opinion.

Second place in the Jury's evaluation went to the society "KIM?" and the project "Watery Day's Eye" (authors Zane Onckule and Indriķis Ģelzis), while the third place was awarded to the society "Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art" and the project "Mirumiri" (authors Viktors Timofejevs, curator Andra Silapētere, architect Līva Kreislere). A total of 6 applications were submitted to the competition.

The 60th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale “Foreigners Everywhere” (curated by Adriano Pedrosa) will take place from 20 April to 24 November 2024.

Latvia's participation in the 60th Venice Biennale is financed by the Latvian State via the Ministry of Culture and art collector and founder of the Art Centre Zuzeum Jānis Zuzāns under the 2018 agreement on support for the Latvian pavilion of the Venice International Art Biennale – the donation agreement provides for co-financing of three Latvian exhibitions.

The 59th Venice Biennale in 2022 attracted more than 800,000 art lovers from all over the world. Latvia was represented by the artist duo "Skuja Braden" with their work "Trading Water at the River's Edge," The Latvian pavilion was created by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art and curated by Andra Silapētere and Solvita Krese.

Amanda Ziemele (1990) perceives her creative activity as open time. Her interests lie in the formal qualities of painting and the field of ideas and contexts that accompany them. Ziemele uses spatially referenced installation techniques that create situational associations, using humour as a strategy. Amanda Ziemele received the 2021 Purvītis Prize for her exhibition "Quantum Hair Implants" Kim? at the Centre for Contemporary Art. In early 2023, her solo exhibition "The Sun with Teeth" was on view in the Dome Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art.

Ziemele graduated from the Bachelor's degree programme in Painting at the Art Academy of Latvia and from the diploma programme in Interdisciplinary and Experimental Painting at the Art Academy in Dresden. She holds a post-graduate scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Since 2016, Ziemele has held several solo exhibitions, engaged in various collaborative projects, and actively participated in exhibitions in Latvia and abroad. Her work can be found in several collections: LNMM, VV Foundation, Zuzeum, as well as in several private collections in Latvia and abroad.

The Venice Biennale is traditionally held every two years and is considered one of the oldest and most prominent events in international professional art life, with around 90 countries from all over the world regularly participating.  The participation of Latvian artists in the Venice Biennale contributes to the highlighting of Latvian contemporary art in the context of European and world culture, the development of the visual arts sector, as well as to the development of the country's image in the world.

Latvia has participated in the Venice Biennale since 1999.

*The title uses/interprets lines from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, found on the title page of the print edition of Edwin Abbott's novella.