English
Latvian
Reklāmkarogs
AGNIESZKA RAYSS. “THE LAST CONVERSATION WITH ACADEMICIAN SAKHAROV” (POLAND)

04.07. – 11.08.2019

The exhibition “The Last Conversation with Academician Sakharov” featuring works by Polish photographer Agnieszka Rayss will be on view from July 4 at the Latvian Museum of Photography.

Agnieszka Rayss traced the remains of a Soviet nuclear test site in Northern Kazakhstan. This particular site was known as the Polygon, and was one of the main areas for the nuclear programme of the Soviet Union. Until 1989, when the site was closed, over 450 detonations were carried out in about 40 years. Even today, many locals suffer because of the radioactive contamination that has been found in soil, food, and water. The small town Semipalatinsk 21 was built to manage the scientific centre and the experimental areas located in the close vicinity. Nowadays, the town is renamed Kurchatov, after the Soviet nuclear physicist Igor Kurchatov, who was leading the Soviet atomic programme.

 The title “The Last Conversation with Academician Sakharov” refers to a 1989 newspaper article in which an American journalist describes a meeting with Andrei Sakharov shortly before his death. As a talented nuclear physicist in the 1950s, Sakharov’s inventions led to the first Soviet thermonuclear bomb. At a later stage of the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear war was omnipresent, Andrei Sakharov became a very outspoken opponent of the arms race, and was known as a human rights activist across the world. In 1975 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but for a long time he was not allowed to leave the Soviet Union, where the communist regime considered him an enemy of the state. Rayss’s project could be seen as a dialogue with Sakharov, and touches upon the memories of this devastating period. She questions how the totalitarian state which conducted these “experiments” omitted to take responsibility for their consequences. The documents brought together give a subjective perspective on events that were visible and spectacular, but covered by strict secrecy for many years.

Agnieszka Rayss is a photographer and freelancer, based in Warsaw, Poland. She is a co-founder of the Sputnik Photos collective. Her area of work is documentary photography. She studied History of Art at Jagiellonian University, and is a Doctoral student at the University of the Arts in Poznań. She is interested in the post-soviet legacy of Central and Eastern Europe and in topics connected with its myths, history and its re-interpretation. In recent years she has also worked on themes of landscape and topics related to ecology. She received several awards, including Pictures of the Year award, and grants. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Newsweek, The Guardian, and others. More: www.agnieszkarayss.com

THE EXHIBITION OPENING WILL TAKE PLACE ON JULY 4, 2019 AT 5 PM AT THE LATVIAN MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY, MARSTALU STREET 8
(ENTRANCE FROM ALKSNAJU ST.)
PHOTOGRAPHS WILL BE TAKEN AT THE EVENT!

WE WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE TO EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND IN RIGA, MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND NATIONAL HERITAGE OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND, SPUTNIK PHOTOS AND DESIGN AGENCY “PIECI EZERI”