RIBOCA2 “And suddenly it all blossoms” opened on 20th August 2020 and VV Foundation was delighted to support the participation of Edith Dekyndt with an installation “Visitation Zone” – a series of glass vitrines from Riga Zoo filled with fermented products of the Baltic pickling tradition, complemented by an occasional performance where a specific section of the exhibition space floor is carefully swept clean.

Upon making an initial site visit to Andrejsala, Dekyndt immediately saw similarities between this territory and both Nora Ikstena’s book Soviet Milk and the film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky. For her, “these places and landscapes that industrialisation has inexorably transformed have kept, in the depths of their very substance, the residues, the alterations, the waves with which they are impregnated and which will remain for an infinitely long time, in objects, in the air, in the bodies.”

Before the Biennial appeared in Andrejsala, its main venue was a working industrial warehouse that was used to store grains, biofuel and cotton. The presence of these materials led to the gathering of sediments which have now largely turned to dust. Rather than erasing the traces, smells, and dirt from the space, Dekyndt chose to work with this material of the Biennial site. Cleaning is a banal gesture coming from the domestic sphere, typically a hidden women’s work, and usually done before the opening of the show. By highlighting it, the cleaning becomes a visible act of care towards an environment. The process also intersects different layers of the dust on the ground in an almost archeological manoeuvre, an incremental travel back through time.

The pickles contained in the vitrines were sourced in the central market of Riga, which has operated continuously since 1571. Consisting of the preservation of vegetables and fruits in fermenting liquid, the pickling tradition has been handed down from generation to generation in Latvia, being particularly important during periods of famine and war. The production process introduces another relation to time: here, fresh goods of the present are carefully preserved for future needs. As with the gesture of cleaning, it both accelerates and decelerates time, marking an encounter between different temporalities through the slowness imposed by the process of fabrication.


Edith Dekyndt’s works with phenomena at the threshold of the visible and the invisible. Developing her approach out of a minimalist tradition, she hones in on singular, discrete movements, which are then isolated, magnified or repeated. A narrative builds around this close attention, which then takes the form of film, performance or installation. For Dekyndt, “each situation acts as the trigger for a process of “contexture”, providing an opportunity for both sensory and mental investment in an environment”.

Her simple gestures, like her study of surface cast on paper through the minerals of the Dead Sea, the methodical cleaning of a monumental statue, or the silk canvas worn to fine threads by a cowboy’s whip, speak to the humble, the reverent, and the ritualistic. Balanced between the melancholic and the scientific, they redirect our focus to the subtle presences of everyday life and invite us to meditate on the slow process of transformation in the world around us.

Edith Dekyndt has participated in following exhibitions: The Black, The White, The Blue, Kunsthaus Hamburg, Germany (2019); Viva Arte Viva, 57th edition of the Venice Biennial, Italy (2017); Play Time, Toledo Museum, Ohio, United-States (2015); The Importance of Being… Contemporary art from Belgium in Latin-America, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba (2015); Art Of Its Own Making, Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, Saint Louis, United-States (2014); Blue Times, Kunsthalle, Vienna (2014); More Light, 5th Moscow Biennial (2013); Agnosia, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2009).

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