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Block famously welcomed Joseph Beuys and a live coyote into his New York gallery in 1974.

Curator René Block. Photo: Kristīne Madjare. Courtesy the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA).

The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) has announced René Block as chief curator for its third edition. RIBOCA3 will take place in the Latvian capital from 15 July to 2 October 2022.

'I simply could not resist the call to Riga,' Block said. 'The area around the Andrejsala exhibition venue is an invitation to turn the Biennial into an artistic workshop, a place where the ideas and experiences of many excellent artists from Latvia will share a space with many awesome international guests.'

Block, 79, founded his first gallery in Berlin in 1964 when he was just 22. He began by exhibiting artists of his own cohort, such as Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke.

Ugo Rondinone, Life Time (2019). Installation view at RIBOCA2. Photo: Hedi Jaansoo.

In the past five decades, Block helped establish the fair Art Cologne in 1967, directed the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, and is currently the artistic director of the Kunsthalle 44 Møen in Denmark, which he co-founded in 2008.

Block has also curated a number of international biennials, including the Biennale of Sydney in 1990, the Istanbul Biennial in 1995, the Gwangju Biennale in 2000, and the Belgrade Biennale in 2006.

'Historically, René has made significant contributions to the exposure of art scenes and artists from Europe's Eastern regions, and so we are delighted that he will build upon this for RIBOCA3,' said Agniya Mirgorodskaya, founder of the Riga Biennial Foundation.

Nico Anklam will act as associate curator for RIBOCA3 and develop the biennial's public programme. Anklam is the director of the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen.

Valdis Celms, Positron (1976–77). Installation view at RIBOCA2. Photo: Hedi Jaansoo.

The last edition of the biennial, subtitled 'and suddenly it all blossoms', was curated by 35 year old Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel. Lamarche-Vadel worked as a curator at the Palais de Tokyo for a decade before taking up the role of artistic director of the Lafayette Anticipations Foundation.

RIBOCA2 was realised as a physical exhibition and a feature film, which will premiere in autumn this year. The film was developed in response to the pandemic.

The organisers are hoping that more visitors will be able to encounter next year's edition.

'RIBOCA3 will create a feast for all senses,' Block said. —[O]

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