The Estonian Modern Art Museum (EKKM) opened its 17th season on Friday with the "Hüvasti, Ida! Hüvasti, Narcissus!" (Farewell, East! Farewell, Narcissus!) exhibition on the political situation in Europe following Russia's Ukraine invasion.
Curator Tanel Rander takes a look at Europe as a collective consciousness in a complicated relationship with an aggressor state in which narcissist and codependent manifestations can be observed.
"The Eastern European identity, which is based on a single and relatively short time period – the Soviet occupation – is keeping us from recovering from our trauma and holding back our mental development as a society. It is nearly 34 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in under 20 years, Estonia will have been free longer than it spent under the occupation that turned us into a part of Eastern Europe," Rander said.
The war in Ukraine shows that unresolved past trauma has started to recreate itself, which sees recent fears manifesting as reality. The season's opening exhibition at EKKM takes a frank look at these fears and attaches new meaning to feelings of belonging and links to Eastern Europe to say goodbye to the mentality keeping the past alive and around, he finds.
"Eastern Europe is harmful as a collective identity and works as a generalization for too big of a part of planet Earth."
Visitors to EKKM can take in paintings, installations and video of the symbols, shapes and archetypes of Eastern European collective consciousness. In addition to crystals, monuments and rituals tied to totalitarian systems the nature of which was revealed as the war escalated are also in view.
The contributing artists are Sviatlana Biedarieva (Ukraine/Mexico), Elo Liiv (Estonia), Holger Loodus (Estonia), Kateryna Lysovenko (Ukraine/Austria), Paulina Pukyte (Lithuania/U.K.), Aliaxey Talstou (Belarus/Germany), Kirill Tulin (East/West).
On Sunday, April 16, a special curator's tour will take place in Estonian at 2 p.m., followed by a discussion with the artists in English. The exhibition will remain open to visitors until June 4.
Editor: Marcus Turovski