for "Karosta Festival"
Liepāja / Latvia
My work at an abandoned Russian Military Naval Base
Sculpture I made for the celebration of 100 years of Latvian Independence during Karosta Festival in Liepāja. Latvia is a great place by the way. I was able to discover the area: they have great beaches, lakes, and the sun is always shining. Almost! Because the country is close to the North Pole, during the summer period, the sun is up till 11-12 at night. I didn't expect that at all, it was a one of a kind experience.
For this project I used water resistant plywood boards. The elements had been drawn by hand and cut with a plunge saw. Then, they were connected with strong wood glue, beams and screws from the inside. It wasn't easy to move pieces of those dimensions. The whole structure reached 4 metres in length and over 2 metres in height.
Luckily, the weather was amazing throughout the entire working period. Nothing better than working outdoors in June. All the work took around two weeks from start to finish. I was doing it with my friend who is a professional woodworker, so we made for a solid team.
After assembling everything we left the last two pieces separated, as the whole thing was extremely big and heavy. If we’d connected them there, we wouldn't have been able to move it to the final destination.
Worth to mention that the sculpture is installed in Redan, a 100-year-old fortification located on an island in the middle of a river. In that place, a handful of Latvian soldiers fought and won against much greater enemy forces. Later on, it was part of a Russian Military Naval Base "Karosta". Also, the name "BASTION" means not only fortifications, but an institution, a place, or a person strongly maintaining and honouring personal principles, which definitely characterises the people of Latvia and their struggle for independence.
The structure contains three elements: two aggressive shapes - symbolising the oppression, trying to topple the third shape, with a line in the middle - a symbol of Latvian flag. The elements are enclosed in balance and merged together forever in a peace resolution. I've always been inspired by the brutalist war memorials in Eastern Europe and it's been a great honour to be part of this project.
The whole time spent there was a great experience. I learned about Latvia's history, enjoyed the nature and even slept in an old prison haunted by ghosts. I never believed in those things, but the night I slept there, I could feel someone enter my room, but when I opened my eyes the room was empty. Anyway, be sure to visit Liepāja and its surroundings. It's definitely worth it.