Victory Park by Arnis Balcus
Signed Copies available
Arnis Balcus’s photobook Victory Park focuses on a particular location in the Latvian capital of Riga, a park with a complex history overlaid with the policies of former regimes and cumbersome social realities.
The Victory Park is a place, which, on the one hand, is just a regular park in Riga where people skate, ski, and walk their dogs, but, on the other hand, it’s a place that is charged with traumatic socio-political contexts. Once it was built for Latvian national independence, yet later rebranded for the Soviet victory, so these transformations resemble the controversial character not just of Latvian identity but of human nature in general. So in my images I am not just referring to some historical facts but rather use the park as a playground for my own artistic improvisation, which in the end is like a big puzzle, quite abstract and unconscious, and anyone can solve it in a different way. Also, the way we sequenced the images was to avoid any obvious relationships between photographs in the spreads. I quite like non-linear narratives because it makes that experience with the project much more challenging and mysterious.
Arnis Balcus, the photographer
There are secrets, things you can skip, you can denied them, or you can tear spreads apart. In Baltic countries we have discussions on Soviet monuments, if they should stay or if they should be destroyed. One might think that emptying space doesn’t leave any traces, but it leaves scars. So it’s the same thing about theses pages, if you tear them appart, you have a scar, you don’t have a pure book anymore. All these details work together and create an object – how it’s printed, how it’s bound, how the paper is chosen. Tom Mrazauskas – book designer