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Edith Karlson asks others to make self-portraits for her Venice Biennial project

Edith Karlson.
Edith Karlson. Source: Marii Kiisk/Müürileht

Next year, Estonia will be represented at the Venice Biennale by sculptor Edith Karlson, who is organizing a clay self-portrait workshop for the event and hopes to collect 150 mask self-portraits of Estonians.

Karlson tried out at first to encouraged members of her close circle who had never worked with clay before to make self-portraits: "I saw what it did to people as it grew bigger and bigger. Everyone came in unsure and cautious at first, but the results were always overwhelming for the authors and especially for me."

Karlsson's journey began with the terracotta portrait sculptures at Tartu's St. John's Church (Jaani kirik). "There are thousands of them out there and they are all personalities," she said.

Karlsson said that a self-portrait captures the essence and mood of the creator even in the absence of any developed skill. "Every portrait is a gold mine for me," she said. The sense of shape is inherent in everyone, she said.

"I understand that the biennial is a great opportunity for me, and I'm going to make the most of it /.../ but as with any other project, really, it makes no difference for me whether it's the Venice Biennial or something else," she said.

Edith Karlson in Viljandi museum. Source: Maarin Ektermann

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Editor: Rasmus Kuningas, Kristina Kersa

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