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A GIRL UNDER CHESTNUT TREES

December 4, 2017 - February 4, 2018

Self portraits by Finnish artist Elina Brotherus

Mark Soosaar: A little girl under huge chestnut trees. Their blossoms are like candles in a church. The girl is standing on the crossroads of four paths. What is she dreaming of?
Elina Brotherus:
It is the spring of 1998. I am a third year student of photo art. I feel like at the very beginning. I have not yet participated on any exhibition. All I know about photo art, it is based on the slides of my teatchers or what I’ve seen in some foreign magazines. I have already taken photos of other things besides schoolwork. My examples are two girls from my course – Aino Kannisto and Maarit Hohteri. They take photos of themselves. I learned to use an old 4x5 camera, I like the sharpness of its picture and the slowness of the work. As I want to be in the photo myself, I have to use the stand. I want to make large photos, so I need large negatives.
In this picture, I have recently got married and I am going to divorce in half a year. I do not know it yet but the divorce is in the air, already. I now want to make landscapes with myself. To save emotions, which can’t be escaped from. This is what my first series has got a name from – Landscapes and Escapes. Blooming chestnuts refer to Tove Jansson. He drew them often. I grew together with Tove’s books.
At first, my mother used to read them to me, later on I spelled them by myself. In the school canteen there was a large painting of Tove Jansson. I can only remember the blooming chestnut tree. The same autumn I got a scholarship from the Swedish Cultural Foundation. A nice gentleman called and spoke in Finnish. It was Bengt von Bonsdorff, the director of Amos Anderson’s Museum. He told me, that they can give money but they’d rather buy some of my pictures for the collection of the museum. I remember going to his workroom, to the dim light of the table lamp. The elderly director of the Swedish-Finnish museum was very friendly. Most of all he admired the blooming chestnut trees of Hesperia park and showed the house where he had lived in his youth. And he bought the very picture for the museum’s collection.

MS: You have studied soul and body of a Finnish woman. What have You discovered in her inner world?
EB:
I do not believe in the soul and I am not interested in the body in any other way than aesthetically.I do not believe in Finnship or any other nationalist trends. I live in several places and travel to more places. My home is in several countries and, simultaneously, I am a bit of a stranger everywhere. I object to the world of walls and barbwire as boundaries.

MS: If You were elected the President of Finland, what would You like to decide at the first?
EB:
I would dismiss the government and the parliament, organize new general elections, and make a prime-time speech on TV where I would ask the people make conclusions on the events in Finland and think more wisely, who would be worth voting for. Then I would resign and name Li Andersson the President.

MS: Your art is full of beautiful sounds. Who is the composer of Your inner tunes?
EB:
My inner composer often plays the record by Kate Bush – the Areal: A Sea of Honey/ A Sky of Honey. The music of my videos is composed by Antti Ikonen. On harpsichord I love to play Frescobaldi.
 


Elina Brotherus was born in Helsinki, 1972. She graduated from the University of Helsinki with Msc in Chemistry (1997) and from the University of Art and Design of Helsinki with MA degree in Photography (2000).
Elina lives and works in Helsinki, Finland, and in Avallon, France.
EB is one of the most highly respected and awarded photo artist from the North of Europe. Her self-portrayals reflect an immense silence, lonelyness and longing for love of a Nordic woman. Art work by EB has been in exposed in many museums and galleries of France, Belgium, UK, Canada, USA, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Finland etc. Her masterpieces were obtained for such respectable collections as Centre National des Arts Plastiques (CNAP, France), Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Arti in Helsinki, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Museum Folkwang in Essen, Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, to name a few. In 2017, she donated 11 brilliant self-portraits to the Museum of New Art in Pärnu.
Elina’s work has been given prominence in numerous art books and magazines. She has published eight monographs, the latest one, Règle du jeu (2017), was the object of a solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. She has been awarded, among others, the Prix Mosaïque, Luxembourg in 2001, the Prix Niépce in 2005, the Finnish State Prize for Photography in 2008 and the Carte Blanche PMU, France in 2017.
Elina’s exhibition A Girl Under Chestnut Trees in the Museum of New Art in Pärnu (2017/2018) is dedicated to centennials of Republics of Finland and Estonia. In the eve of the show, Elina gives a master class to open secrets of her creative world.


INSIGHT OF AN ESTONIAN WOMAN

December 4, 2017 - February 4, 2018

The exposition by Estonian painter Meiu Münt

Mark Soosaar: Estonian woman is hit in dramatic positions and tragic colours in your paintings. What is she thinking about?
Meiu Münt:
For me, it is important to show the inner world of a young woman and a mother – most of all her feelings in different situations, different moments of time.
Woman with her mysteriousness, beauty, mysticism and magic has been in the centre of my paintings of the recent years. The characters encountered on the paintings hide contemplations about the fragility and desuetude of life, fugacity of everything but also about nascency, growth, maturation of the new, about the cycle of nature. Remembering and emphasizing the uniqueness and sacredness of every life I find inspiration for painting from life, from the people around me and next to me. I might give a lot of explanations „just in case“ about my paintings but eventually, every person can see and hear what he or she wants to. Depending on his or her experiences in life, views, comprehension, and personality, of course.

MS: In your paintings you have depicted insight of Estonian woman. What have you discovered in her body and soul?
MM:
As to her essential nature, the woman is beautiful and fragile, caring but sometimes she may be confused, unhappy, sad. The woman is the symbol of life and love as well as the epitome of blood and suffering.

MS: If you were elected the President of Estonia which problem would you solve first?
MM:
I’m sure no president would be able to solve any general problem. Every human has to do it according to his or her life and opportunities.

MS: Your paintings are full of voices and sounds. Which melody or rhythm is the link between them? Who is the composer of your inside music?
M.M.:
Melancholic sounds – the eternal flow of river waters, the fall of dust in an empty room, the sound of cat’s paws on cool linoleum of a corridor, comforting sound of the wind in the tree-tops... Every person creates his or her own inside music.


Meiu Münt was born in 1972 in Tartu.
She studied at the Art School of Tartu, at Tartu University (BA/MA)
She lives, paints and works as an art teacher in Tartu.
MM sees the Estonian woman and her story through dramatic colours.
Blood-red has many meanings in various beliefs of the nations of the world. From beautiful to scary. And the other way round. Everyone has to take a look inside him- or herself and find the answer.
MM has shown her work in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania. Her paintings can be found in the Art Museum of Tartu, and in various private collections.

MM fs solo exhibitions of the recent years:
Intuition at Draakoni galerii in Tallinn, 2017
Paintings at the Physicum in Tartu, 2016
The Flight at Lev ja Leevike in Tartu, 2016
Before the Snow at the Town Gallery of Viljandi, 2016
External Side at Karlova Theatre in Tartu, 2016
Visions at the Town Gallery of Tallinn, 2015
Visions at the Town Gallery of Võru, 2014
Deja vu at the Artists f House in Pärnu, 2014

http://meiu.future.ee


 
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