“Skete of Savvaļa” is one of the three working directions of Savvaļa, the other two being exhibition and public programme. It is unique by its location, principle of organization (run by artist-cultural professional collective) and experience it gives to its visitors. This year Savvaļa will run its fourth season and it has become a stable and important professional cultural organization locally and regionally in the Baltics. All three directions of Savvaļa support one another and work well internally by residing artists participation in public program or creating works for exhibition; public programme participants can meet residing artists or during weekend-long public program activities artists, participants and visitors mingle and create new networks. Due to communal spaces, common living conditions and unique location of this site friendships and collaborations are easily formed between people who happen to meet each other in this location. It is therefore even more important for us not only bring local artists to Savvaļa, but also expand our network and find possibilities to bring more international artists and creatives to Savvaļa to reside and create new collaborations and network possibilities for both Latvian artists and for foreign artists to meet locals.
Applications are individually discussed via e-mail: email@example.com.
Below is the archive of previous residencies.
Latvian architect Austris Mailītis is one of the "returning residents" – participating, creating and contributing regularly since the very beginning of Savvaļa. He has created the installation "Wind watchers", built the Savvaļa sauna on the pond, curated discussions and led volunteer action.
"Holy Hole" – result of the residency by interdisciplinary artist Henrijs Laķiss in collaboration with musician Andrejs Poikāns. A comprehensive performance of sound and analogue video projections in which an international group of sonologists and artists participated – Wilf Amis (England), Riccardo Ancona (Italy), Dima Ibrahim (Germany), Valentin Kellein (Germany), Amos Peled (Israel), Sintija Andersone (Latvia).
Group residency – musicians Matīss Čudars, Evija Vēbere, Elīna Silova and Ivars Arutjunjans – who have been visible in various jazz and contemporary experimental music ensembles as one of the strongest composers, songwriters and performers of Latvia in recent years, resided in Savvaļa, setting up a rehearsal and the recording studio in the Grey Cube. At the end of the residency there was a public performance. In the meantime artists Sabīne Venere, Aleksejs Beļeckis and Andris Eglītis participated in the painting camp.
Residence and performance of director Stanislav Tokalov and architect Egija Smeile (Latvia).
"In a grove of trees, out in the pristine countryside, for seven days eight hours a day and in silence using a shovel a man digs a pit in the ground with the hope of finding truth.
Around the pit, eleven cut-down tree trunks stand in a circle, mute witnesses, hostages of the event.
Humans dig holes when they want to grow something or build a house, create a pond but when they want to hide something or want to bury something they dig, too.
If you know or think that something is buried you dig to find it. You might find a fossil, a bone that belonged to a living creature or something closer to your own space and time.
The trees surrounding this work are the permanent spectators, other witnesses, the ones who were here, are here now and will be here when the artists depart.
In this case we dig to find truth, to dig down to it, to find what it is. And as Gotthold Ephraim Lessing said, “The truth itself is not interesting, but the search for it”. We are not sure if that is true.
All the participants: the cut-down tree trunks, the encircling trees and the viewing public are waiting, waiting…"
Artist duo Flo Kasearu (Estonia) and Elīna Vītola (Latvia) resided in Savvaļa in 2023, creating the work "Sick".
"We erected statues, monuments of greatness and glory, commemorating war, victories over others – "bloodsucking parasites" – like there was any victories to begin with! Only loss, on either end. We carried accomplishments like badges, pierced through our chests; the powerfulness of an individual seemingly more important than our communities.
Sick is a life-sized, bronze sculpture of a tick, taking two forms. Ticks are ectoparasites, living on the surface of its hosts and feed on their blood. As ticks do, Sick latches itself on to the surface of a wooden sculpture and on to the skin of a human as a microdermal piercing. Small but resistant, it outwits and outlasts. There is a sense of taking over nature taking over: bronze as a material and the parasitic strategy of a tick resists the unpredictable forces of nature.
Body modification such as piercings, are an act of resistance, a token of collectivity: a symbol of being part of a chosen community. Carrying surgical steel in and on our bodies is perhaps deviant to nature, even if our bodies are endlessly modified by nature within and outside our skins. Control comes in specifically with the human-centric urge to outplay the more-than-human conditions of our lives, through modification of human and non-human bodies and landscapes.
Sick is an implant, that both belongs and creates fear.
Sick is a monument, as is the skin you live in."
Residence by students of the curatorial course of the Latvian Art Academy under the leadership of Antra Priede – work on the first curatorial lexicon in Latvian.
A group residency / master class of traditional painting techniques led by the artist Aleksejs Beļeckis, which covers priming and preparation of wooden bases intended for painting and the basics of egg tempera painting. Alexey has studied traditional painting techniques at the Art Department of the European Christian Academy and the Orthodox Academy of Crete.
Four interdisciplinary Latvian artists – Artūrs Čukurs, Henrijs Laķis, Gerds Lapoška and Kirilis Ēcis resided in Savvaļa in July 2021. The result – performance "Kādas ainavas inventarizācija" ("Inventory of a landscape") – took place in the central base of Savvaļa and a written version of it was published in the second edition of the "Savvaļa notebook".
"The work was created by four young artists experiencing, observing and describing "wild" nature and all the processes taking place within it, the cycles of these processes and their mutual links. Similar to Georges Perek's textual practice in the work "An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris", this work is an observer's effort to create a spatial map of the landscape, anticipating both his absence and his presence and participation in it."
Finnish artist Kristi Kongi resided in Savvaļa in July 2020.
She created a painting installation "To hide yourself. Is there any light left? Lemon yellow? Golden Ochre? Magenta? Where are you now?" "A site-specific painting object, based on light. The viewer can hide or find oneself in the shadow of this object. The object is like a screen and also like a wall. A wall inside the forest between man and nature. Between me and you. The wall panels consist of details around us. Details are from the place where the object is located. Painted with both enamel and with oil paints."
Finnish artist Teemu Korpela resided in Savvaļa in July 2021.
He created an installation "Intercourse Between Two Worlds". "This work ponders the psychological friction between our biological base as animals and the ideal that we call human. The visual concept of the installation comes from beehives and different architectural and geometrical forms."
Lithuanian artist Žilvinas Landzbergas was one of the first residents in Savvaļa, working on site in June 2020.
He created a sculptural installation "Solar Karaoke Platform / Singing with Myself". "This work is inviting to enjoy individual Karaoke sessions in the woods. Set of mirroring sculptural elements create an environment landscape with a stage for individual performing. A visitor or a spectator (or a random mushroom) could find oneself being present for a moment as main character on a Karaoke stage. Without much audience involved, there will be woods and swamps surrounding you performing live."