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From the 29th of February to the 27th of April, in the RSU Anatomy Museum at Kronvalda bulvaris 9, Baiba Rieber’s personal exhibition “Piece-Ful” will take place. The exhibition will display hand embroidered portraits which show the fragments of six different human faces that the artist met face to face while exploring the specimens in the museum’s collection. The exhibition opening will be on the 29th of February from 18.00 until 22.00 as part of  Riga Last Thursdays. During the opening night, the entrance fee for visiting the museum and exhibition is free.

Baiba Rieber, commenting her work says: “The RSU Anatomy Museum states: "The exhibits are body parts of once living people"...yet, knowing that and seeing it with one’s own eyes are two very different experiences. I happen to experience the collection in a third way as well - as a museum employee. Over time I started to notice more details in the exhibits that I had missed before - it made me feel like the collection had decided to trust me and reveal its secrets. One type of detail in particular came to my attention, a detail that even a non-anatomist would identify as human - some wet specimens had faces. We do not know their names, professions, even the causes of death are not known, but what the museum does have are the fragments of the most precious thing they once possessed - the body they lived in, which tells their life stories in its own way.”

The portraits in this exhibition dismiss the anatomical reference and the purpose of the collection, even the color scheme associated with them as anatomical exhibits is avoided, leaving only the facial features marked by light and shadow. Medical gauze is used as a base material to embroider on, as a reference to its historical context, material purpose and the collection itself. Since the residents of the museum's collection are anonymous, the titles of the work are their unique “name” in the collection – the registration number. These embroidered portraits linger between fragile and tough, hard but soft, living but dead, freed but enclosed, part but complete, piece but peaceful. 

Baiba Rieber works with textiles and specializes in hand embroidery. She has studied at the Royal School of Needlework (UK) and Ecole Lesage (FR) as well as from various master embroiderers. Baiba Rieber has worked in multiple museums and currently she is also an employee of RSU Anatomy Museum. In her work she often takes her inspiration from historical collections and objects that can be found there. This is her first personal exhibition.


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