The annual exhibition “TEMPORARY SURFACE” of the Estonian Painters’ Union points out both the place of presentation of paintings and the changes/validity of author positions in a situation where our activities in physical space are limited due to pandemic and the resulting mental depression. “Temporary” is something that lasts for a short time. The word “surface” in Estonian has many nuances of meaning (substrate, bearing surface, sound surface, support surface, plane, surface, inner surface, an outer surface, image surface, etc., also the one on which something is based.
The Museum of New Art is located in the bank hall of the former building of SEB Bank, a new temporary space for the museum. However, the “temporary surface” is also a well-observed phenomenon in the creation of every painting, both from a buccalistic and semiotic point of view. Impressions and moods extracted from the surrounding reality and the psychic sphere (or inner space) are translated into two-dimensional surface images and color impressions in painting to revive a new, so-called real life for the viewers in the reception process.
The exhibition features nearly 90 artists, with the oldest performer in the exhibition, Jüri Arrak (1936), and the youngest, Tobias Oblikas (2003), their age difference is 67 years! Mati Kütt (1947), a recent winner of the Cultural Endowment’s Lifetime Achievement Award, has painted a metaphysical nothingness, “The Loneliness of Dust,” which most closely resembles the flocks of millions of grains of sand or the fields of invisible microorganisms.
Vano Allsalu’s (1967) “Minotaur” has been solved with the author’s characteristic references to myths and cultural history. As an excellent colorist, the abstraction is open to innumerable possibilities of interpretation. Karl-Kristjan Nagel’s (1977) seemingly realistic painting “Negreanu-Fullhouse” where a group of people is placed in the background of an “inappropriate” farmhouse (or vice versa) using the copy-paste method, mystifying the universal validity of visible reality as a criterion of truth.
Lock-down did not cause a noticeable baby boom in Estonia (like the former power outage in New York), but the sensual, pink-colored scenes “Adults only” on the border of Marko Mäetamme’s (1965) soft-porn talk about one way to spice up home life – Mäetamme four, est The contour-based work has the signs of positive doping in a situation where the total number of daily coronary deaths in Estonia is exceeding half a thousand.
The theme of the fragility of life is the content of Maarja Nõmmik’s (1991) painting “Life stuff.” The artist reminds us with a compelling metaphor that man is the shaker of the planet’s ecosystem and dangerous for most species – our self-image has, of course, been made sleeker by culture.
More embossing than ever before, in parallel with the preparation for this exhibition, the functioning of society as a whole, and the individual responsibility of everyone, has been a public topic of discussion. Nature doesn’t know better-organized work allocation and hierarchical subordination than the structure and functioning of large bee colonies – Liis Koger’s (1989) yellow-ocher abstraction, but very much in place.
As a whole, the annual exhibition of the professional association is comparable to a painting song festival or a gospel choir concert, where instead of choir singers, the performers are soloists, each with their message and timbre. In such a format, the exhibition organizers are almost always in the fork – due to the lack of space in the close exhibition, individual works enter into a forced or unforced dialogue with each other, as ever. However, the exhibitions have proved to be very diverse over the years – the zeitgeist acts as a force majeure.
Participants in the exhibition:
Mall Nukke, Marko Mäetamm, Mirjam Hinn, Ove Büttner, Jaan Elken, Mauri Gross, Veiko Klemmer, Tiiu Pallo-Vaik, Jüri Arrak, Vano Allsalu, Anniki Kari, Tobias Oblikas, Herlet Elvisto, Priit Vaher, QBA (Martin Kaares), Andrus Rõuk, Anna Kõuhkna, Kuzja Zverev, Margus Meinart, Karin Strohm, Liis Koger, Andro Kööp, Lilian Mosolainen, Andres Koort, Ulvi Oro, Margus Tiitsmaa, Per William Petersen, Anu Muiste, Urve Küttner, Piret Rohusaar, Kaur Mäepalu, Eero Ijavoinen, Stanislav Antipov, Anatoli Umerenkov, Mall Paris, Maarja Nõmmik, Rait Rosin, Philiph Arvo Luik, Lola Tehver, Sirje Petersen, Karl-Erik Talvet, Marju Must, Martin Urb, Leekpea, Santa Zukker, Sirje Piir, Vitali Makar (Macari), Ashot Jegikjan, Silver Laadi, Mati Kütt, Kalli Kalde, Kristiina Kaasik, Einar Vene, Maret Suurmets Kuura, Katrina Kolk, Tiina Tammetalu, Tiina Ojaste, Irma Viidalepp, Enn Tegova, Lii Pähkel, Vilen Künnapu, Mari Roosvalt, Uno Roosvalt, Kristiina Jakimenko, Liivia Leškin, Cristelll, Eve Kruuse, Silvi Lepparu, Ly Kaalma, Siiri Jüris, Margus Tõnnov, Peeter Must, Ivika Luisk, Heli Tuksam, Tiiu Rebane, Karl Kristjan Nagel, Eva Jänes, August Künnapu, Ivi Arrak, Edgar Tedresaar, Ilmar Kruusamäe, Anne Moggom, Helle Lõhmus, Piret Kullerkupp, Jane Tiidelepp, Erki Kasemets, Anne-Mai Heimola, Maire Koll, Tiiu Lausmaa, Riin Pallon, Pille Ernesaks, Ene Luik-Mudist.
Jaan Elken (curatorial text and design), Tiiu Rebane, Marie Virta (UKM), Linda Elken.
Supported by: Pärnu Linnavalitsus, Eesti Kultuurkapital
Museum of New Art
Rüütli str. 40a, Pärnu
open daily 11.00-18.00
About the exhibition in the media:
LETTERS FROM THE NUUSTAKU
Eesti Päevaleht, 10.05.2021
PÄRNU POSTIMEES, 20.02.2021