15 December 2009

Eirik Lyster - Bubbles From the Heart

A great piece by Eirik Lyster in Tou Vindu, this difficult but really impressive exhibition space at Tou Scene.

Solaris - Temple of Culture or of Shopping?

Main entrance
Back side - concert hall entrance - Sakala tower

Sakala cultural center was demolished quite suddenly and under strange circumstances. After the approval of destruction was given, people gathered to protest, and the approval was withdrawn or postponed. As soon as the protesters had left the area Sakala was demolished after all. Sakala was built by the architect Raine Karp, who also made Linnahall, the National Library, the main post office and more. The extensive use of Estonian limestone make these buildings unique and important to the national history of architecture.

In opposal to the protests, the owners stated that the old Sakala was in such a bad shape that it was no use restoring it, and instead they would build the new Solaris centre - a temple of culture with only the best facilities.

The Solaris centre was opened in November, some weeks postponed as the roof fell down in some of the rooms. So is Solaris offering a better cultural venue than Sakala?
Entering Solaris through the main entrance you enter a regular shopping mall. There is just enough space for two persons to pass each other on the galleries going along the shops on three levels. There is a large birch (with green leaves in December!) filling the opening from the 0th to the 3th level, and the ground level's open space was soon filled with stands selling accessories and stuff.

There are cultural venues in there somewhere too, you only have to search for it. The Cinamon cinema is entered by a narrow staircase or by an elevator strictly only for use by disabled persons. The Artis art movie cinema is entered by an emergency-exit-like staircase hidden by the back door of the center. And the Concert hall has its own entrance from the back side. On the ground level is an area used for an exhibition.

The Solaris is pushing the limits between the public and the commercial space, offering the customers to play games in the game shop, pingpong in the clothes's shop, a lounge in the bookstore, and a view terrace at the top.

The facade of Solaris is a typical 00s shopping mall - large windows to display the goods, and the rest of the facade covered by colorful logos of the shops. The backside is more interesting, offering a mingling space, light openings for the underground levels and a wide staircase leading down to the concert hall. The old Sakala tower incorporated in the building is the only sign left of what once was here.

The Lido eating area is a famous Latvian brand, here are long desks of different food, all built in an incredible cheesy Disney-like structure of famous buildings.

As you enter the Cinamon cinema area, this is a typical cinema, offering comfortable chairs and quality screening facitilies. The Artis lounge has interesting sofas with themes from Estonian movies, and with a great view to the back side of the building. The Artis is probably meant to take over from the fantastic but old Sõprus cinema.

I get a really strong feeling that Solaris is mainly built as a shopping mall, with some cultural areas added just to get the approval of tearing down the old Sakala cultural centre. You almost have to know in advance that there are some cultural venues hidden in there. It is an interesting but slightly frightening example of commercializing culture, how to make culture as profitable as possible.

13 December 2009

Streetart in Tallinn

Edgar the Giant
The logo of the USA wrestling champion Andre the Giant
combined with the word OBEY is a classic in street art worldwide.
Here is a local variety, Andre is transformed into Edgar Savisaar, the mayor of Tallinn.
Alien paste-up
I find varieties of this alien on several spots in Tallinn.
I get so happy every time I find a new one.
No bird song between 23 and 09 on workdays!
Burn out the rich
Stencil on Viru shopping mall and hotel
Probably a commissioned streetartwork on ad spaces
But great artwork, combining stencil and freestyle,
using the Tallinn skyline and mayor Edgar Savisaar as motive.

American Beauty - Valeri Vinogradov

American Beauty
Valeri Vinogradov
Kunstihoone Galerii
I entered this exhibition not knowing what to think. The American flag, Mickey Mouse, Obama, Arizona landscape. And the title "American Beauty". Was this really a heartfully tribute to USA? But then I saw the cigarette buts, the empty coke cans and the skull in front of the landscapes. And finally the key to it all - the piece "Glowing Democracy" an Uncle Sam lamp, that is temporarily out of order and not shining its light.

EKA Know How - Isn't it so simple?

Estonian Academy of Arts, Faculty of Design (EKA)
5. Tallinn Applied Art Triennal
Found this great exhibition in EKA.
The students were displaying their work and also describing how it is done.
Very interesting and impressive.

a beautiful lamp made of papers with cut-out profiles
A guide bag with Tallinn motives sprayed on with stencil technique
Kaisa Laas - Reused Fox
Quite controversial - the ashes of a dead fox is used in the mixture for making ceramics of a cup
Bag of knitted plastic bags

Pirjo Kongo - See on imelihtne?
A detailed description of how to make a beautiful tea pot with twig-and-leaf motive

Exhibitions on KUMU

KUMU - Estonian Art Museum

Popkunst forever!
Estonian Pop Art at the Turn of the 1960s and 1970s

Jüri Arrak - In Memory of Valgre (1970)
Pop art from 2009 by Kiwa

A classic of Finnish pop art

I love Malmö!
Nordic contemporary art from the collection of the Malmö Art Museum

Lars Arrhenius - The Man Without One Way (1999)

Exhibitions in Tallinn

Mara - "Teisipäeviti"
Allan Murdmaa - the architect of the Maarjamäe memorial park
Urve Sunny-Dzidzaria - TEELised
Women creating changes
Artists of different cultural backgrounds from Israel
Masha Zushman - Home
Rollimäng/Role Play - Tiiu Kirsipuu
The figure is a well-known children's storyteller

08 December 2009

Choe and Sleipner

David Choe just made this piece in London - an eight-legged horse, like the fast horse of Norse god Odin. Must have been inspired from his stay in Stavanger at Nuart, maybe even from my stories.

Picture from David Choe's blog: http://davechoe.blogspot.com/2009/12/let-me-get-down-just-one-last-time.html

Blu in Lima

Blu just finished this fantastic piece in Lima, Peru. He has been working on this for quite some time now.

Picture from Blu's blog: http://blublu.org/sito/blog/?p=382

07 December 2009

Best of PÖFF 2009

My six favourite movies on this year's Black Nights Film Festival:

- Castaway on the Moon
- Low Lights
- Mary and Max
- Two Horses of Genghis Khan
- Between Two Worlds
- Animal Town

PÖFF day 9

Uberto Pasolini
Italy, Sri Lanka, Germany 2008

A crazy story about men from the slum in Colombo, Sri Lanka. They are all dreaming of getting rid of their debts and poverty by emigrating to Germany, but gets a no on their visa application. They find an invitation for a handball tournament, and enter without even knowing what handball is. After arriving in Germany they all disappear. This is actually based on a true story, which makes it even greater. A feelgood movie, well filmed and well put together.

06 December 2009

PÖFF day 8

Animal Town
Kyu-hwan Jeon
South-Korea 2009

A really touching movie about two men that seems to live totally different lives totally unconnnected to each other, except living boring lives. The slowness of the majority of the movie, the lack of dialoge, the coarse filmed documentary-like scenes, and the climax that turns all around, makes this a unique film experience.

Lukas Moodysson
Sweden, Denmark, Germany 2009

About globalisation, the choices we make whether it is career or family, what lives we choose for ourselves are some of the topics in this movie. A quite straight-forward and touching story about a family with a doctor, an it-company founder, their daughter and their Philippine maid. Dramatic events make them reconsider the choices they made.

PÖFF day 7

a day without seeing any movies

04 December 2009

PÖFF day 6

House of Fools
Eva Isaksen
Norway 2008

A quite typical Norwegian movie about life on a mental institution. All the inhabitants have strange and funny mental illnesses, and they are all nice when it comes down to it. The sosialdemocratic values are in the background all the time, all are equal, you are a valuable person whatever problems you may have, even the employers at the institution have their problems. A nice story but too cuddly, or "koselig" in Norwegian, for my taste. Did I mention the happy ending?

Margarida Gil
Portugal 2004

A strange story about the search for a man. All lovemaking is forbidden in an island in the Azores. As the population decreases the governor discovers that the only way out is to send his daughter to the mainland to get pregnant. She meet strange people but never get pregnant. The mainland story is almost Aldomovar-like. A strange and exotic story that evolves in a different way than usual. After the movie I got the feeling that "what was that?", but the the film was still a great experience.

La Tigra, Chaco
Federico Godfrid, Juan Sasiain
Argentina 2008

A long, slow and boring story about the slow and boring life in a small village in Argentina. No salsa blood here. Even in the story about a love triangle drama it goes slowly and without drama.

02 December 2009

PÖFF day 5

Two Horses of Genghis Khan
Buambasuren Davaa
Germany 2009

It is one of these magnificient movies from a very exotic culture. Fantastic landscapes, impressions from the Mongolian countryside and nomadic life. But as most of these movies are set in old times or timeless time, this movie is contemporary, it is a documentary. It shows the search for the cultural heritage, that was lost during the Chinese cultural revolution and now is only sparsely found in the countryside. A singer from the Chinese ruled Inner Mongolia travel to Outer Mongolia (the independent nation Mongolia) to search for versions of a song she only know parts of. Through hardship and disappointments she finally meets an old woman that after some time manages to remember the song. It is a really beautiful experience to enjoy this movie.

Rasmus Merivoo
Estonia, Russia 2009

Well, how can I have an opinion of this movie? I do not know the story that this movie was a parody on, and therefore I did not understand the humour. I envied the others that almost laughed their heads off.

Buratino is a Russian children's story, very loosely based on the story about Pinocchio. This movie is a parody loosely based on the Buratino story. The movie is made by Estonians, with mostly Russian actors, filmed in Russia, and the presented version was in Russian. It was impressive to see the quality of the movie. But as I do not have the cultural background to appreciate the story, I could unfortunately not enjoy it as much as the others.

PÖFF day 4

The Hunt
Andis Miziss
Latvia 2009

A collection of loosely knit stories without a beginning or end, all more or less connected to the local bar/hotel/trainstation/gas station. Hunters go out for the annual memorial hunt. Local home brewers deliver their goods. The train filled with pregnant lonely women passes by. Forest marathon runners seek refuge there. The local police pops in both on duty and on their free time. It is a nice mood movie without any clear story or plot.

Low Lights
Ignas Miskinis
Lithuania 2009

What a movie! a mix of "Night on Earth", "Thelma and Louise", with a Lithuanian touch. It starts like a classical road move; the bored insurance clerk from a boring marriage meets an old aquiantance, and they go on driving without purpouse. But they are not driving across the country (which would take only about three hours), they drive around in the city, on streets that are blocked by traffic at daytime, but empty at night. Night is the time when everybody changes their personality. The long scenes driving pulls us, the spectators, into the mood (especially as the film was screened late at night). A fantastic movie experience from Lithuania.

01 December 2009

PÖFF day 3

Between Two Worlds
Vimukthi Jayasundara
Sri Lanka 2009

What a movie experience! We were warned in advance that this is not a move but a serie of paintings. Like the protagonist that suddenly appears in this world we are spectators in a world of fear, where the civil war is always present, whether in gun firing sounds, burning trees, people getting killed or soldiers popping up from anywhere. The men are hiding from the enemies, if they emerge, they will most probably get killed. The women and children are left. The feeling that nowhere is safe gets under our skin and we just want to hide. An incredible way of portraying the fear and horrors of civil war almost without showing any violence.

Gytis Luksas
Lithuania 2009

A 140 minute black&white epic about life in Lithuania during Soviet occupation and Khrutschov time. The lifestory of a man that lets the women in his life decide his destiny; first his mother, then the truckdriveress Klava and ultimately her friend Masha. If this movie had been made in 1965 it would have been a classic today. But it is actually made in 2009. It is a story about life in hostels filled with drinkers and thieves, waiting in vain to get their own flat, about countryside people moving to the towns to find job, about the different nationalities mixed throughout the Soviet union speaking a mixture of languages. An instant classic