• City Gallery of Contemporary Art


Temporary Structures 6

House of Muses

  1. PLATO Bauhaus, Janáčkova 22

Daria Melnikova

Michal Novotný


The meaning of works of art depends on how, why and where they are displayed. The form of their presentation affects how we view them and how we perceive them. The display Temporary structure is a meeting place where the public encounters different types of works of art and non-artistic activities. Each of the four displays created for PLATO (Liquid Octagone, Sheer Indulgence, The Powerless Source of All Power and the latest House of Muses) forms a different environment and conditions for presentation.

“The fourth and last of the invited artists is Daria Melnikova (b. 1984, Riga). The installation for PLATO moves in almost hallucinogenic waves across the boundaries of sculpture, architecture and drawing. The individual curves reveal a soft spot for decorative, symbolic, even Art Nouveau forms, but they are executed in contemporary, often office and corporation-like cold materials. Care for detail and the level of workmanship point to an effort to rid decorativeness of the negative connotations that the notion undeservedly earned in art.

The dream-like or maybe virtual and non-material nature of the whole installation adds the feel of a film to the work. The line of the installation, whose meanders literally interconnect the exhibits, completes the vague plot. The film atmosphere is underpinned by dramatic apertures, cones of light, the presence of a covering cloth and the way in which we observe the installation. The work plays with the dramatic role of art in culture and indirectly shows that each presentation of art is always theatrical, scenic and unavoidably manipulative in its narrative. It is the crime scene which in a detective novel creates both the crime and the plot leading to its revelation. In this way the space of the museum gradually became a genre space for a particular situation, rather than for mere exchange of information, a space we perceive through eyes informed by theatre, film and literature.

Melnikova is not afraid of a resemblance to a stage set, her installation only shows in which way architecture and interior design influence the construction of how we perceive ourselves, in which way we present our social status and story. Art is not a neutral code here, information, rather it is one of the factors that actively create these situations."

Michal Novotný

Daria Melnikova (b. 1984, Latvia) graduated from the Studio of Visual Communication at the Art Academy of Latvia. In her work she examines how space affects and controls human behaviour. In her previous installations she was also concerned with the aesthetic of different interiors and their signs. Melnikova is the first laureate of the kim? Residency Award. She was a resident artist at the Cite internationale des arts Paris. Her recent solo exhibitions include Kulturfolger in Zurich, the kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga, the ISSMAG gallery in Moscow, Konstanet in Tallin and the MVT Summer House in Riga. Since 2016 she has been working together with her sister Agata Melnikova (b. 1988). She lives and works in Riga.



photo: Martin Polák
photo: Martin Polák
photo: Martin Polák
photo: Martin Polák