On May 29, at 6 pm, a group exhibition Last Tale by six young artists from Riga – Aleksandrs Breže, Jānis Dzirnieks, Karlīna Mežecka, Ieva Putniņa, Zīle Ziemele and Līga Spunde – will open at the Vilnius City Gallery Meno Niša. The exhibition will focus on the fairytale phenomenon and manifestations of the genre in current art.

The exhibition Last Tale is organized as a continuation of the long-standing cooperation of Meno niša with the Riga Contemporary Art Gallery LOOK!. In 2022, Meno niša presented the exhibition The Book of Sand by LOOK! gallery artist Janis Šneideris. The Riga city gallery as well has already several times successfully presented the work of Jurgis Tarabilda, an artist represented by Meno Niša.

According to the curators of the exhibition, Program Director of LOOK! gallery Raivis Alksnis and independent curator Elīna Sproģe, artists Aleksandrs Breže, Jānis Dzirnieks, Karlīna Mežecka, Ieva Putniņa, and Līga Spunde have been brought together to develop a certain narrative that could set the visitor back to the times growing up.  

What is the last fairytale you remember reading and was there a character you were afraid of sympathizing with? The exposition will underline how useful it is not to forget the often banalized insight that one has to cross through a dark and scary forest to reach the shiny castle and that the good always wins.

According to the curators, the exhibition will aim to explore how the ability to imagine fantastic events and communicate in characters and symbols can be used as a tool for explaining the phenomenon of today and increasing empathy. 

Fairytales in the Baltic region share a certain unified identity – in terms of storytelling as well as the illustration manner. Against the backdrop of global turmoil, this genre might be one of the last harbors that still holds the very much-needed comforting aspects. We tend to forget that fairytales could serve as a refuge not only for kids but also adults. They remind us how important it is to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”, to empathize, and to believe that kindness will always be rewarded.

The group exhibition by Latvian artists A. Breže, J. Dzirnieks, K. Mežecka, I. Putniņa, Zīle Ziemele and L. Spunde’s exhibition Last Tale will be on show at Vilnius City Gallery Meno niša from May 29 to June 29.

The organizers of the exhibition are Meno niša Gallery and LOOK!
The sponsor of Meno niša Gallery is Vilnius City Municipality. 


Aleksandrs Breže intricately weaves sculptural narratives reflecting memories from his upbringing and study years, notably showcased in his debut solo exhibition  “OPTIMISM-CONFIDENCE-CHARITY” (2023, LOOK!, Riga). His art delves into the struggle for individuality amidst enforced conformity. Through abstract spatial installations, he explores the clash between written laws, religious values, and the harsh reality of institutional control. Mundane objects and religious symbols take on ominous significance, embodying his defiance against conservatism. Breže’s works, often seeking mystic imagination, stories, and parallel realities, symbolize a quest for liberation from mental confinement and the scars left by oppressive environments. Breže has participated in various group exhibitions and projects including: SUBFRAME.XYZ (2023, Brīvības 40, LV), Last Harvest (2022, MABOCA, LV), Outdoors (2021, SAVVAĻA, LV), “Neizskaidrojami, bet fakts” (2021, RMG, LV).

Jānis Dzirnieks practice involves material and processual research, which results in sculptures, installations and wall based objects. They often involve found pop-up advertisements, lamps, scientific illustrations and parts of heat-regulatory devices. He is interested in heavily technologized processes, planned obsolescence, synthetic environments and exploitation of vulnerabilities of the human psyche. He manipulates images in collaboration with pre-existing algorithms. He uses synthetic polymers allowing them to interfere with gravity, and light in the objects to attract attention. Collaboration with algorithms results in pixel porridge, among which some figurative elements stay grotesquely recognizable. He is interested in flow systems, optimization, and frozen gestures. Solo exhibitions include Optimized Flow, TUR telpa, Riga; Tiled River, gallery 427, Riga; Flat Tire, Robert Fruinstraat 56, Rotterdam; Waiting For The Next Minute, kim?

Contemporary Art Center, Riga; Sharp Horizon, Nemo, Eckernförde and duo show Snowlake Blockbuster with Alise Anna Dzirniece, Extra City, Antwerp. Group exhibitions include BETWEENNESS: Technoculture and the Baltics, kim?, Riga; Soap Opera, City Surfer Office, Prague; Agents of Perception, Kai Art Center, Tallinn; Midnight Sunburn, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam and elsewhere.

Ieva Putniņa’s range of interests is wide – painting, cinema, performance. Visually, her works are often reminiscent of older art traditions, but the paradoxical plot twists allow them to be located in a completely modern world. Ieva likes to create props to such a degree of reality that you only have to touch them to realize that they are not edible or usable (but maybe they are?). Ieva is a teacher at the Janis Rosenthal Art School. She has exhibited at 427 gallery, MABOCA festival, Ag Gallery, Smiļka Art Space, Riga Circus Elephant Hall, SIC space in Helsinki and elsewhere.

Karlīna Mežecka has been living and working in London since 2021. After undertaking a BA in ceramics at the Art Academy of Latvia (2020), she acquired her Masters degree at the Royal College of Art (2022). Working in an interdisciplinary manner across several different mediums including ceramics, glass and metal, she is focused on developing various narratives that challenge the use of ceramics through installations and sculptural pieces. Currently working towards developing her research around combining ceramics with glass, Karlina is interested in developing the elements she uses in a polylogue of materiality. Resulting in a state of flow between the space the pieces inhabit and the fusion of antipathetic materials, her work allows the viewer to interact with her pieces in unique ways. Mežecka’s debut solo show “Archive of Fragility” took place this year at Kim? Contemporary Art Centre.

Zīle Ziemele graduated from the Painting Department of the Latvian Academy of Arts in 2017 and is currently teacher at Janas Rozentals Art School. In 2016, she did four months Erasmus+ exchange studying at the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp, Belgium). In 2015, she received the SEB Scholarship in Painting. Zīle works in the medium of painting with egg tempera technique. Paintings mostly are small size. The author defines the format of her activity as a chamber painting. She binds the mutual tension between the depicted objects and the message they carry. Subject painting, unleashing a string of associations rooted in culture. She has organized 5 solo shows and since 2013 participated in 18 group shows. Highlighting  as the most relevant international exhibitions – Jeune Creation Europenne – Biennale of the Young European Art, Montrouge (2017, Paris, France) and “outlands” – SURVIVAL KIT 10 (2018, Riga, Latvia).

Līga Spunde makes multimedia installations where personal narratives are closely intertwined with carefully constructed fictions. The interpretation and use of recognizable characters serves as an extension of her personal experiences, while tapping into general truths and accepted tropes. Usually, the content of the work determines the physical form of the conception, so a variety of media, techniques and materials are used in her unique installations. Spunde’s work is present in public and private collections across Europe, and she was nominated for the national Latvian Purvītis Prize in both 2022 and 2020. Spunde has participated in various solo and group exhibitions and art projects in Latvia and internationally, including A Panic Attack on a Sunny Day, (2023, Tuesday to Friday Gallery, ES); Decolonial Ecologies, (2022, Riga Art Space, LV); The Real Show, (2022, the CAC Brétigny, FR); Being Safe Is Scary, Survival Kit 11 (2020, Latvian Center for Contemporary Art, LV); When Hell Is Full, the Dead Will Walk the Earth (2019, Kim? Contemporary art center, LV); Melos (2019, Creative Art Space, Arsenāls, Latvian National Museum of Art, LV); Champs- Élysées (2019, Gallery 427, LV); Free French Fries (2017, Gallery Komplot, BE) etc.