In these betwixt and between times of our everyday life, how do contemporary artists hatch images of physical and non-physical elements of living? The question seems to be vast and boundless, but the works of six artists of Post Winter Mixtape explore this question within the frameworks of dreams, rhythm, play-sets, chair-table-typewriter, or star-gazing in the starry night.
Jointly curated by Alina Astrova and Lilian Hiob, the exhibition presents a total of 10 artworks including formats such as painting, photograph, video film and installation. This ongoing exhibition was opened on February 28 and will remain open until the 27th of April at Temnikova & Kasela Gallery. Visitors are welcome from Wednesday to Sunday, from 3 pm to 7 pm and the admission is free for everyone.
The phrase Post Winter Mixtape may be interpreted by some people as something related to a seasonal perspective of nature change such as Winter, Spring, Summer and so on. Others may raise a question, “Then, why Post Winter? Why not Spring?” Yes, it is now Spring in Estonia. But like “Post Winter” strikes on the ordinary thinking of time frame, the notion of six artists’ artworks also has similar connotations: “neither one thing nor the other” or, you could say, mixing of fragments which have no ending in the gallery.
The eminent and emerging six artists are Jaanus Samma, Sigrid Viir, Inga Meldere, Helena Keskküla, Ann Pajuväli and Anna Mari Liivrand. Inga Meldere is from Latvia and the others are from Estonia.
The works are placed in the different corners and spaces of the gallery and the first work that visitors encounter is Helena Keskküla’s 7 minutes long black and white film Etude of Dreamcatcher. This is her new artwork – production from 2019 that consists of a smartphone held by genderless hands. Gaining inspiration from Samuel Beckett’s play Rockaby, Helena re-imagines our moments of sleeping at night with rocking chair and lullaby. The film opens with a long, wide shot of a rocking chair – a woman sitting on it and swaying expressionlessly but rhythmically; like a pendulum, like a wave of motion. Then a techno sound breaks the illusory motion, and at one point a close shot of the woman’s face appears in an inverted arrangement. The chaotic sound turns into a soothing song – a lullaby. This is such a familiar image that anyone can relate it to their childhood memories. Chimeric images dramatize the relationship between mind and body, voice, memories and identity in today’s device-dependent everyday living.
Just opposite side of this mobile-mediated film, Anna Mari Liivrand’s artwork Ripple on a Field (2019) is displayed. Shiny, metallic grey color of graphite on the silk fabric, this painting sets quite a wide spectrum that reaches from classical biology book to architecture and makes visitors to experience something undefined – an arch with a microscopic organism that can poke into one’s mind as a dancing body in the Medieval Church.
Along with the new artworks, five previous works by two artists are also presented at the exhibition. Sigrid Viir’s three artworks from 2008, 2009 and 2011 are displayed on the left and on the opposite side of Liivrand’s work. Viir’s main medium is photo but she also deals with a form of installation using wooden frame and sculpture. For example, her smallest work in size at the exhibition, Compromise no: RXP-1209-18 from 2009. It frames the photograph of office table and shelf and a number of file folders with wood. Along with a long wooden trolley-stand, this screen-shape, rectangular framing creates a nothingness of stupid work-space at one point; another look takes you to a tour of TV-watching experience from the 1990s when TV was always set on a trolley.
Office appliances and furniture are leading elements also in the works of Latvian artist Inga Meldere. Her two works are from 2018. Correlation juxtaposes photograph with oil painting. Again, framed by wood, the photograph contains old and new appliances and furniture of work spaces such as desks, shelves with file-folders, typewriter, chair, table lamp, telephone, and so on. By using ultraviolet light, this digital print of the photograph gets a photographic mat-look, but when viewer’s eye catches the small female figure with green and grey color in the left of the canvas, the whole tale takes a different perspective. This tale can be told as a woman’s personal experience in the office space where separate and temporal memories are reflected through objects. Meldere’s other work, Recollection, is a fuse of taxidermied birds, animals and series of drawers and cupboards.
Jaanus Samma’s two new artworks are positioned next to Meldere’s works, on the right-side wall. Based on early 20th century’s archival postcards from Estonian National Museum, each artwork consists of two parts: one part consists of an enlarged postcard, and another one is a water color painting of a starry night. This set up looks like a museum’s table-top display. Samma depicts the starry night in such ethereal and majestic way that the elements on the postcards (socks, gloves, and sculptures) are seemingly floating, as if they are eliciting a sensation of materialistic history in the orbit of the planet. Two artworks with the same title Museum Display (Stargazing) 1 can also take the viewer’s mind to Don McLean’s song ‘Starry Starry Night’ where Vincent (Van Gogh) rests silently.
The last piece of art at the exhibition is Ann Pajuväli’s new work Play Sets. This artwork that combines demo models made from different materials and animated video is perhaps addressing the flexibility to enter the childhood memory lane or vulnerability to stay in the hyperreality. Or perhaps not … But one thing I am sure to say is that the use of wooden frame in most of the artworks stands on environmental sensitivity.
Header photo: Anu Vahtra