15 July 2010


Vastandumised / Confrontations
The 10th annual exhibition of the Estonian Artists' Association
Kunstihoone, Tallinn
Curator: Enn Põldroos

Confrontations overview

Surprisingly non-surprising.

I was hoping for surprises and challenges as I was entering this annual exhibition of the Artists' Union. I was a bit disappointed to find that this rather was a presentation of representative work of the artists. The paintings by Jüri Arrak, Tiit Pääsuke, Ilmar Kruusamäe and August Künnapu were easily recognisable. They do what they do, and they are good at it. It is always very interesting to see an annual exhibition like this, but I was hoping for a more progressive status and less status quo.

The title of the exhibition - Confrontations - was not so easy to find in the works. There were some conflicts and provocations in the motives, but few confrontations between the art and the viewer. It was more like in the text to the beach painting by Aili Vint : "Here I stand, I do what I do, something else is not possible." The exhibition's goal is to explore the confrontations and their effect in the world today, also inside us and related to the history. I was actually a bit surprised to see that the Soviet occupation is still a topic for Estonian art in 2010, but in this context, it kind of makes sense.

A large majority of the works were paintings, plus some installations, a sound art piece and two videos.

Here are some highlights:

Confrontation - Work by Jüri Arrak

Impact (Crack between the old and new art hall)
Impact (Crack between the old and new art hall) - Work by Loit Jõekalda

My favourite work was the drawing by Loit Jõekalda showing the cracks between the old and the new Art building. The drawings are put exactly on the border between the old and the newer building, which the gallery spans. I was already noticing the cracking facade of the building before entering. Jõekalda is pointing to the lack of material maintenance, but also to the more abstract spectre. Is there an unspannable gap between the old and new art building, between established and new artists, between the salongfähig and the avantgarde?

Golden Estonian
Golden Estonian - Work by Erki Kasemets

Erki Kasemets always surprises with his work. Here he has visualised a great idea of game tokens representing the world's population, where the Estonian single item was golden. Like any people, the Estonians consider themselves the center of the world, even if they make up a marginal part of the world population. I noticed that the Estonian unit was quite isolated, but had some kind of contact with all of the continents except Europe (white tokens). Interesting.

Poetry of the 20th century. Molotov-Ribbentrop I and II
Poetry of the 20th century. Molotov-Ribbentrop I and II - Work by Siim-Tanel Annus

Siim-Tanel Annus had interesting work where text from the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (the agreement dividing East Europe between Nazi and Soviet influence before WWII) was presented like poems on large canvases.

Bed: Variations (Snowwhite and one dwarf)
Bed: Variations (Snowwhite and one dwarf) - Screenshot of video by Laura Põld

I was happy to find two videos by Laura Põld. This young artist always come up with great ideas for her video art. I have seen even stronger works by her before, and I am sure we will see more great art from her in the future.