Sold out, sold out, sold out! – in the rhythm of an auction gavel: such signs, in various fonts, colours, and of different sizes repeat themselves in the Latvian landscape, sometimes barely visible, sometimes flashy and loud. What is it that has been put out for sale? And why would anybody sell it? What is it: land, houses, something else? That’s vaguely readable through the new series of photos by Reinis Hofmanis “Sale” (Pārdod). Although so far it has not been typical for the author, these pictures lack the presence of people; what's left of them, is the impact on the environment, together with the wish, so simply written down in one word.
Those, who drive the Latvian roads, resemble consumers, who have occasionally stepped in a supermarket on a sale’s day. Exactly like by shop shelves, most diverse tempting offers to buy this or that thing catches customers’ eye – the same on the roadsides, just that the situation here turns to be of a national scale. On the one hand – nothing bad with it, just selling the private property, after all – every property can be purchased or sold. And that’s just “normally so” in the market economy. On the other hand, yet, it starts to get confusing – once we realize, how broad and opened this sale-out is in the country, where we live.
The author himself says: "In my work, I refer to two themes, which I find important - landscape as culture-geographic phenomena, and a sign as a symbol of consumerism. These two elements interacting, turns landscape into an evidence of an impact, which this century has on the environment. I'm interested in relations among landscape and a sign; about how the perception of space changes, if certain elements are suddenly added to it. Landscape is created both by nature and society; it's a product, which emerges, then a human being, using his senses, adds a meaning to the combinations of certain elements in the space. Landscape as well visualizes the development of society, and preserves the evidences of the diverse usage of land."
By Eva Rotčenkova, art scientist
from Foto Kvartāls Magazine, September/October, 2010.
© REINIS HOFMANIS 2011