Riga Circus residencies: Nygårds Karin Bengtsson

Starting from January 12 Riga Circus Residency Program welcomes contemporary artist from Sweden Nygårds Karin Bengtsson.

Nygårds Karin Bengtsson works with staged photography. Her work revolves around timeless issues: Man’s relation to time and space, fact and fiction, memory and vision. With references to art history, in particularly Scandinavian painting from the beginning of the 20th century, Nygårds Karin transforms an ongoing dialogue with the past to the present.

A lonely person in a room or a landscape characterizes her photographic works. There are no answers to who the persons are, where they are or what will happen or has happened. Nygårds Karin Bengtsson stages a state of mind, which she depicts with the camera.

Karin Bengtsson: “My art practice has many similarities to that of a circus. I work with staged photography, and every new image I do includes writing the manuscript, working with scenography, casting performers, finding the right costumes, props, lights and to conduct rehearsals. The largest part of my work is the preparations before taking the image. When everything is ready for shooting the image – it´s like going on stage and perform. The show will start. In my residence at Riga Circus, I feel that I am right in my subject matter. I am interested in the characters which you could find on a circus, characters that also reflects different aspects of a human being, like the clown, the magician and the acrobat. My aim at Riga Circus is to investigate the history of the Circus and to give life to historical circus characters and put them in a new context. I will also investigate the theme rehearsal itself. The rehearsal as a hard practice to satisfy and audience, and the lifelong rehearsal for understanding the world and how to act in it.”

Nygårds Karin Bengtsson has a background studying both theatre and documentary photography before entering art school; University of Art and Design (Aalto University), Helsinki, Finland, from where she holds a Master of Fine Arts (2003).


Karin Bengtsson is already the sixth artist in the Riga Circus residency program, which was opened in 2018. It was created aiming becoming an interdisciplinary laboratory for new artists. It hosts artists, that are willing to work on new circus show ideas or other site-specific projects connected to Riga Circus.

MORE information about the artist… 

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