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SCULPTURE IN URBAN SPACE: SOME ASPECTS OF RELATIONSHIPS (Dazi telniecibas un pilsetvides attiecibu aspekti)

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Sculptural works of different kinds and sizes always have had their place and role in the context of wide-ranging functions and spatial structures of urban space. In comparison with buildings and other architectural objects monuments and various sculptural creations are more directly used to promote certain ideology or express the taste typical of the particular period. Political and socio-psychological factors influence their creation and assessment. Even popular sculptural works when placed in the open air are sometimes perceived as anonymous makings. They become legendary. Both organised and spontaneous ritual activities take place near monuments and different spatial objects. It is often hard to predict how sculptural works will look in the urban space and what semantic layers will be created around them. The increasing sculptural boom characteristic of many European cities around the turn of the 20th century and later was not so typical of Riga. The few monuments set up in Riga represented the ideology of the Russian Imperial power. No sculptural images expressing Latvian national self-consciousness could be created and exhibited at that time. Still one has to admit that Riga monuments and decorative sculptures from this period, mainly by German sculptors, show well-considered choices of scale and placement. One has to emphasise the German-born sculptor August Franz Leberecht Volz's (1851-1926) important role in securing the professional level of sculptural forms created in Riga urban space. This representative of the German school who settled in Riga and founded his own company has realised many commissions in both decorative sculpture and plastic decor. After an independent state was established, urban space development and especially erection of monuments became an officially supervised task. During the Soviet period monument construction was subjected to a strongly centralised administrative supervision. A little more liberal attitude towards sculptural works in public space emerged in the 1970s
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