Limited edition print "Blue Planet" (2019) by Katrīna Ģelze on the wall of the Sea Library. Photo by Beach Books.

What the Sea Means for an Artist? Katrīna Ģelze

Sea Library is a room for the sea. Seashells, driftwood, books and art grow on walls like corals on a reef. Far from being a white cube, the library is mirrored in each and every frame, creating a world of many dimensions and merged stories.

I asked each artist, what the sea means for him or her.

This week it’s Katrīna Ģelze. I’m happy to have an artwork from her first solo show in the collection of the Sea Library. In limited edition print Blue Planet artist expresses her climate anxiety with blue plastic dolphins, fake beach and her own little daughter on her arms. I also collaborate with Katrīna on essay series Unreal Estate, where I explore seaside houses in literature and she draws each house. Soon these drawings will be framed and hanged on the wall in the Sea Library.

Katrīna Ģelze is a Latvian artist, illustrator and photographer, she also works as a DJ. Her first solo show Involuntary Mind (“Piespiedu prāts”) was on view in bar Nemiers in Riga in 2019. In her art Katrīna explores themes of body, mind, dreams and nightmares, of inner and global anxieties. Viewer is lead through an emotional labyrinth and arrives at the core values of gratitude, hope and love. Katrīna is also my sister and we’ve spent many childhood summers at the beach together.

I’ve always found the sea somewhat uncomfortable. Its flat horizon, bare dunes, everything in the spotlight of the sun, no shadows to hide in, wind pushing me from all sides and the pull of the waves. After sleeping in the sun for too long, even the colours go grayscale for a moment when opening your eyes again. And if you talk to someone while swimming, others sunbathing far away on the shore can still hear everything you say. For me the seaside is not only the edge of the land but of my whole life in general. A place to review, to see the bigger picture and put everyday struggles in perspective, a place to disconnect. But I can’t stay there for too long; my mind is too scattered and loud, my lanky body piercing the landscape, loneliness and insignificance creeping in. I much rather admire its greatness from a hideout in the forest cracks, leaving the Sea undisturbed, or at least I have to be behind my camera.

Katrīna Ģelze
Drawings by Katrīna Ģelze for my essay series "Unreal Estate" published in Elsewehere Journal
Drawings by Katrīna Ģelze for my essay series “Unreal Estate” published in Elsewehere Journal.

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