The themes of Jānis Avotiņš' (b. 1981, Riga) paintings
are loneliness and alienation. Scenes from books by Kafka and
Dostoyevsky or references to a collective memory seem to turn up in
these paintings. According to Avotins, the loneliness that his work
expresses emphasizes the vulnerability of the individual who is
oppressed in our modern society. To show this, all references to time
and place are omitted from these works. There is nothing that points to
a chronological process or to an identity of the figures in them.
Everything centres around the depiction of the fragile human condition.
What is striking about Avotins’ work is the immaterial character of the
scenes that seem to take an eternity or a second. Faces remain
unrecognizable because Avotins considers the expression on a face to be
too personal and too intimate. In contrast, hands are very present.
Janis Avotins feels an affinity in his method of painting for the
Lithuanian-American painter Vija Celmins and he acknowledges the
influence of Werner Herzog and Deimantas Narkevicius in his own oeuvre.
from the Janis Rozentals School of Fine Art (1999).
He pursued his studies at the Manchester University
(2002) and received a BA Painting at the Latvian
Academy of Art (2003). Avotiņš’ work has been
presented in exhibitions throughout Europe and the
USA, a.o. the Saatchi Gallery, London (2012), Hudson
Valley Centre for Contemporary Art, New York
(2006/07/10), Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst,
Aachen (2008), Villa Manin Centro d’Arte
Contemporanea, Codroipo/Udine (2006) and the Prague
Biennale (2005/07). He has had solo exhibitions at
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle (Munich), Vera Munro
(Hamburg), AKINCI (Amsterdam), and is represented by
IBID Projects in London and the Johnen Galerie in
Berlin. His works are in various collections, a.o.
the Saatchi Collection in London and The Cartin
Collection in Boston. Avotiņš lives and works in