Thursday, May 14, 2009

Favorite Estonian installation

installation of works by Villu Jaanisoo at KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia (photo MK)

While fumbling about the lovely but disorienting spaces at the KUMU Art Museum, I found this room.

The artist, the beloved Estonian modern master Villu Jaanisoo, created these busts between the 1920s and 1950s. While the variety of materials and size shifts created a nice coloristic effect, it was the installation itself that really wowed me.

The curator used the tall walls and narrowing, triangular pinch of the gallery to create a dynamic, purposeful installation. That the artist's work from different decades of real vs. historical figures was intermixed reflects how we live our lives--time is jumbled about, eras are unfairly compared, fictional characters play as large a role in our world view as do real people. It is not just the past that affects our present but the future taints our lives today as well.

I don't read Estonian so I can only guess at the notes on the works, and how this artist represents and preserves the Estonian character, but this installation shows that, when curators read space correctly and respond physically to three-dimensional space, their work adds to the conceptual meaning of an art work.

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