Hardijs Lediņš collection
The collection is made up of the papers of the avant-garde multimedia conceptual artist Hardijs Lediņš (1955-2004). It reflects his activities, and those of his collaborator Juris Boiko (1954-2002), as well as a number of their friends who were at the centre of alternative culture in Latvia in the 1970s and 1980s.
Rīga Alberta iela 13, Latvia 1010
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Name of collection
- Collection of Hardijs Lediņš
Provenance and cultural activities
During his creative life, Hardijs Lediņš kept much material about his activities: including poetry and other writings, music recordings, photographs, slides, and videos of performances. In the early 2000s, his friend and collaborator Juris Boiko came up with the idea to publish an anthology of the NSRD, or Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings, a creative group they established in 1982, but the project was not realised before deaths of Boiko and Lediņš. In 2007, Hardijs’ mother Ruta Lediņa and his son Pēteris gave the Hardijs Lediņš collection to the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA). The anthology was produced by the LCCA and published in 2016 as part of the activities of Hardijs Lediņš Year in 2015, and manuscripts and visual material from the collection are widely used in it. Visual material from the collection is published on the website of the LCCA, and is part of the Europeana collection. The audio albums are published by the site ‘Pietura nebijušām sajūtām’ (Station of Unfelt Feelings, pietura.lv), which is devoted to the memory of Juris Boiko and Hardijs Lediņš. The site also publishes photographs, videos and publications by Boiko and Lediņš, and about them. The Hardijs Lediņš collection is a very well-documented history of one of the most significant phenomena in Latvian avant-garde art of the 1970s and 1980s. Its protagonists expanded the boundaries of the understanding of what art is, blending together poetry, music, video art, actions, performances, etc. Despite the unofficial character of NSRD activities, the record albums were quite popular with the younger generation, and were copied on to tapes. With the beginning of perestroika, the activities of the NSRD were legalised, they participated in some exhibitions, and in 1988-1989 they received international recognition with the exhibition ‘Riga-Lettische Avantgarde’ (Riga-Latvian Avant-Garde) in West Berlin, Kiel and Bremen. However, fame was also the beginning of a creative crisis and the break-up of the NSRD. Hardijs Lediņš and Juris Boiko started to work individually. Lediņš created the Approximate Art Agency, with the aims of organizing exhibitions and performances, producing publications, and working with new media. Boiko was a video artist and art curator. In the 1990s, public interest in their 1970s and 1980s postmodern avant-garde declined; however, it has revived in the 21st century, and Hardijs Lediņš Year in 2015 was a sign of this. There is also increasing interest abroad: for example, in 2017, records with two selections of their songs were published in Ghent in Belgium. In 2016-2017 artefacts of the NSRD were presented at the exhibition ‘Notes from the Underground. Art and Alternative Music in Eastern Europe 1968-1994’ in Lodz, Poland and Berlin, Germany. In 2017 – 2018, artefacts from the Hardijs Lediņš collection were exhibited in Žilina, Slovakia, and in Zurich, Switzerland in the exhibition ‘Poetry & Performance. The East European Perspective’.
Description of content
The Hardijs Lediņš collection provides documentation about one of the most important expressions of the neo-avant-garde and alternative art in Latvia in the 1970s and 1980s. Although Hardijs Lediņš and Juris Boiko continued to produce art in the 1990s, their creativity and influence peaked before and in the first years of perestroika, when their contribution and views could be popularized abroad and at home. Although their search for conceptually new aesthetics radically departed from ‘official’ art, they did not openly challenge the system, and used official spaces when such opportunities came up (for example, Hardijs Lediņš participated in exhibition ‘Nature. Environment. Man’ in 1984 which was the most ambitious attempt to present Latvian contemporary art; it was closed prematurely by authorities). However, many activities and events were private. Their performances and actions often involved only their closest friends.
Some forms of activity became quite popular among creative young people: festivals of contemporary music and discos in the 1970s and early 1980s, ‘Dzeltenie pastnieki’ (The Yellow Postmen) albums, in which the musician Ingus Baušķenieks processed their poetic thoughts and musical ideas in his home studio, and the albums were disseminated on tapes. The possibility for this alternative art to exist was enabled by the somewhat milder cultural policies of the Soviet Latvian authorities in the 1970s and 1980s, but the activities of Boiko and Lediņš ‘with their spirit of freedom, playfulness, absurdity, irony and humour still stood out boldly amidst the “normal” Soviet cultural scene’ (Ieva Astahovska, Māra Žeikare, 2016, ‘The Iceberg Longing and Volcano Dreams of Boiko and Lediņš’, In: Ieva Astahovska, Māra Žeikare [eds], ‘The Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings: Juris Boiko and Hardijs Lediņš’. Rīga: Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, p. 14.). Their activities were part of the East European avant-garde culture of the 1960s-1980s
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
- Astahovska, Ieva
- Žeikare, Māra
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
- Ieva Astahovska, Māra Žeikare, compilers, editors (2016). Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings: Juris Boiko and Hardijs Lediņš. Riga: The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art.
Author(s) of this page
- Bleiere, Daina
Žeikare, Māra, Astahovska, Ieva, interview by Bleiere, Daina , July 16, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection