Leonards Laganovskis (b. 1955) graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia in the stage design department. In his artistic practice, he uses a diverse range of mediums: printmaking, painting, objects, and more. From 1988 to 1994, he was partly living between Riga and Berlin, participating in the local art scenes, organising solo exhibitions, and taking part in group exhibitions. The language of expression in his art has always combined the humorous with social and political criticism. One of the key elements in his art is the usage of language, which often becomes more important than the colour or medium.
Since the end of the 1980s, a key characteristic of Leonards Laganovskis’s artistic practice has been his use of various symbols of the Soviet system. These are combined in ironic interpretation to reveal the system’s paradoxes, its power and tools of manipulation. Drawing on his experiences of living and working in West-Berlin before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the artist also plays with other ideological systems. In a manner reminiscent of Pop Art, he has developed a series of the most well-known of the symbols, concealing among them a more poignant and ironic meaning that is not immediately recognisable. He revisits his artistic practice in the late 1980s and in the time in the beginning of the 1990s when united Berlin and the fall of the socialist system were still present in everyday life and were still sensitive subjects to conceptualise. Through the archival commentary of his own work he analyses miscellaneous visual codes that different political systems use to communicate with society. In his interpretation, they become tools for provocation in order to ask uncomfortable questions. A.Priede.
The works of the most visible figure of Latvian conceptual art – Leonards Laganovskis – bring together sparkling humour and cold intellectual reflections. In them, he takes an ironic look at power, society, geopolitics and art, often reflecting these subjects with linguistic diagrams or imitations of brands of consumer goods. In his latest series of works the artist plays upon images of city plans, star charts and political maps. Anonymous urban grids acquire invented names and the meanings that come with them, star charts visualise the moments of birth / death of influential men, while territories of states and arrows depicting migration turn into a decorative mosaic of a political globe. In Atlas, the image and its object are two autonomous entities and serve as pointers of (in)direction for the viewers in Laganovskis’ world. L.Lindenbauma.