Fifth floor - contemporary art

  • 2009-01-28
  • By Jana Belugina

RUSSIAN SPIRIT: One exhibition in the award winning museum is meant to show "The Russian Idea."

TALLINN - Last year, the KUMU Art Museum received the title of "European Museum of the Year." Very impressive, considering that it opened its doors only in 2006. It is absolutely clear that the decision was not made without good reason 's there are lots of interesting pieces to see.
KUMU hosts an impressive collection over its five floors, some of which is exhibited on a permanent basis. But most interesting are the scheduled exhibitions, and this time some of the best pieces are housed on the fifth floor, where two installments will only reside for another couple of weeks.

Three video installations by Estonian artist Lauri Astala are united under the heading "Small spectacle."
Very first is Astala's "Small Spectacle of Image-Semblance," created in 2005. The artwork is basically nothing more than an abstract stereogram video animation which is projected over the walls of a small cubic room. In the middle of the space is a floating quotation from Jorge Luis Borges, stretched out on invisible wire.
Once getting in the room, the feeling is pretty weird as the video gives the impression of the walls undulating, but as soon the eyes are able to focus on the text it somehow balances the stereographic pattern and brings instant comfort for the spectator.

Next installation is called "Apropos of seeing," this is the most recent work of the artist. It is a very interesting interactive projection that integrates the viewer into the artwork itself.
Video images filmed in the Palazzo Corsini in Rome constantly mix with real-time projections of the spectator watching from the screen. The unexpected integration puts everyone in front of the screen, and raises very many interesting questions.

The last cell presents a very technologically special video, named "Small Spectacle of Lightness." The video repeated over and over with a five minute loop, while the project itself is a part of the room.
It takes some time to realize that the room is actually slowly moving and its objects, like windows and radiators, change their shape. This was achieved by morphing images of different rooms non-linearly through each other.

A neighboring exhibition is the Swedbank Art Award 2008, which has incorporated five very different works from five different countries.
Typical Russian loafs of black bread, a hill of dark soil in the middle of the exhibition hall and portraits of famous Russians on the walls create "The Russian Idea," a work by duo Igor Makarevich and Elena Elagina.
Kristina Inciuraite from Lithuania has presented the video "Oil City" (2007's2008). It is accompanied by a series of photographs named "Veteran women" and psychological motifs used in the Rorschach Inkblot test, used for the personality and emotional condition analysis.

Alexander Vaindorf from Sweden has presented his video "Detour," telling the story of women from post-Soviet territories like Russia and Ukraine illegally working in Rome.
Estonian photographer Taavi Piibermann has a relatively small two photo exhibition titled "References." The two photos raise the question of seeing and not actually seeing, which he expertly shows by his installation of the tight passage between two screens. One can try to see what is depicted on the screens in passing, but it is impossible because of blind spots.

The winner of the exhibition was already announced at the opening and this year, it is Miks Mitrevics from Latvia. His work "Collection of Persons" is a set of different installations based on biographical material.
As the chair of the jury Iris Muller-Westermann mentioned, Mitrevics "investigates a very old question: who are we and how do we experience the world?" We will not give the answer to that and everyone can find their own by attending this exhibition.