Mark Rothko Painting Symposium

Portrait of Mark Rothko by Ritums Ivanovs, 2022

Today, on 15 September, the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre (Latvia) starts the International Mark Rothko Painting Symposium 2023. Each year, the Mark Rothko Symposium attracts the artist’s followers and admirers – painters who continue to embody his ideas in their own artistic practice, filtering them through their individual stylistic prism. The artists spend two weeks away from their regular setting, mingling and interacting, finding inspiration and creating new artworks for the symposium exhibition and the Rothko Centre collection.

The symposium always brings together a mixed group of participants from multiple countries. This year, the jury panel selected nine artists: Sue Beyer (Australia), Kevork George Kassabian (Armenia), Ruth Philo (UK), Zbigniew Olszyna (Poland), Ann Tarantino (US/Italy), Ritums Ivanovs (Latvia), Krista Autio (Belgium), Agata Borowa (Poland) and Inguna Liepa (Latvia).

The 2023 symposium is a tribute to Mark Rothko on his 120th birthday. It will be accompanied by other satellite events tied to the artist’s name and creative philosophy.

For two days, at 3 p.m. on 21 and 22 September, the Rothko Centre will host public artist presentations. The symposium will conclude at 4 p.m. on 29 September with the opening of an exhibition displaying the participants’ latest output.

Admission to artist presentations and the symposium exhibition opening is free of charge.

Supporters: Caparol, Devona. The symposium is produced with REACT-EU funding and support from the Daugavpils City Council.

Mark Rothko, born Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz (1903–1970), was a Russian-born American abstract painter. He is best known for his color field paintings that depicted irregular and painterly rectangular regions of color, which he produced from 1949 to 1970. He sought to make paintings that would bring people to tears. “I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions—tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on,” he declared. “And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions….If you…are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point.”

One of the 21st century’s most ambitious cultural projects in Eastern Europe,
DAUGAVPILS MARK ROTHKO ART CENTRE (Latvia) is a multifunctional hub for contemporary art, culture and education. Located in the historic artillery arsenal building of the Daugavpils Fortress, it offers more than 2500 square metres of space for permanent and temporary displays. The centre hosts international symposia for artists, gives creative workshops and master classes, and organises art education programmes for children and youth. It offers accommodation, seminar and conference rooms, and a chamber hall with a grand piano. A souvenir shop and a café are also located on the premises. In 2022, right next to the Rothko Centre, a new long-awaited art and culture space called Martinson’s House was opened to the public. Besides a permanent display, “The City of Dreams”, featuring original works by the great ceramicist Pēteris Martinsons, visitors can enjoy temporary exhibitions and an open-storage ceramics collection.

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“Rotkho”. Group show of Rothko copies