Outdoor adverts for British artist's exhibition banned in Tallinn

One of the Alison Jackson works which incurred the ire of the authorities.
One of the Alison Jackson works which incurred the ire of the authorities. Source: Alison Jackson

Authorities have ordered the removal of outdoor adverts promoting an exhibition by British artist, photographer and filmmaker Alison Jackson, saying the adverts violate best practices and considerations of taste.

The exhibition, entitled "Truth is Dead", has been shown at the Fotografiska gallery in the Telliskivi creative hub (Loomelinnak) in Tallinn for the past few days.

Jackson's work includes mock-up photos depicting famous figures in often compromising, unflattering or unusual situations, most notably a smoking Barack Obama, Princess Diana giving the middle finger, and a fur-coat clad Angela Merkel, lying on cushions and sipping champagne while being physically supported by former French president François Hollande.

Which images drew the Tallinn Enterprise Department's ire is not reported, and could be any of the above, or another piece of work which features a fully-clothed Donald Trump in a sexual position with a "Miss Mexico" (see picture).

Kairi Vaher, Tallinn Enterprise Department head, said while advertising exhibitions is perfectly fine, and an artist's freedom of expression need not be curtailed, this would have to be balanced by accepted moral norms when displaying advertising in a public area.

"Everyone has the right and freedom of choice to visit a photo exhibition and view works exhibited there, but the same cannot be said for displaying the same art exhibition works in outdoor advertising spaces which could be seen by minors," explained Vaher, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

"The artist's actual request or purpose in creating the work of art is also not the issue here," she added

The relevant piece of legislation, § 3 (4) of the Advertising Act 2014, says that:

"Advertising shall not: 1) be contrary to good morals and customs;" and that is also should not: " 18) ignore the principle of gender equality within the meaning of the Gender Equality Act, degrade one sex or depict one sex as a dominating or subordinate sex; 19) depict persons as sexual objects, contain inappropriate nudity or use expressions or images with a sexual undertone; 20) contain visual or audible presentation of a sexual act."

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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