Behind closed doors
TALLINN – 9 January – 28 March 2021 Flo Kasearu, Tallinn Art Hall
The lockdown-delayed opening of Flo Kasearu's exhibition Cut out of life (curated by Cathrin Mayer) at Tallinn Art Hall only added to the hype and expectation. Hot on the heels of solo-shows at Tartu Art Museum and Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn, the exhibition takes a strong stand in its comprehensive representation of the fruits of domestic violence. Not only does the exhibition present the viewer with the seldom discussed and often ignored subjects surrounding domestic violence, it does so work after work, room after room. The exhibition continuously hammers home its point with a variety of works, which don't relent or offer the viewer an oasis of another, less taboo, subject. In the introductory text on the Art Hall website Kasearu refers to the perpetrators as “… every fourth man in Estonia…”, dragging the taboo subject out from under the carpet or behind the sofa, where it must be actively swept on a daily, if not hourly, basis. The exhibition takes viewers through doors, usually closed, and forces us to look an uncomfortable truth in the face.
The first assault on visitors to the exhibition is the vast amount of dead or dying plants that occupy the pink and green great hall of the Art Hall. There are too many, which is exactly enough in this case. One feels overwhelmed by the biomass, in which the individuality of each specific plant is also simultaneously expressed through the neglect represented by its current state. The pregnant potency of the installation is hardly reprieved by the ominous muffled rumble emanating from the pink stairs beyond the plants.
The rumble accompanies the black-and-white video-documentation of a performance Kasearu organised as part of the 5th Artišok Biennial in 2016. The performance in question consisted of two sets of ascending seats facing each other with those seated reading out court transcripts of cases involving domestic violence in one form or another. After the pinks and greens of the hall behind the viewer, the greyscale video with dark carpet and dark walls has a sobering effect. Walking back through the plants, they become objects of abuse, not simply neglect, and the green blotches on the wall become bruises. This is just the first space - the first chapter. The following four rooms continue this pattern of harsh reality married to playful, and often colourful, installations, the light-heartedness of which only helps to accentuate the discomforting reality. Each new piece adds to the documentation of that which must all too often be lost under carpets or between pages of overlooked court transcripts in greyscale font all too easy to ignore.
Cut out of life is on until 28 March.
Post by Aksel Haagensen
Cut out of life
9 January – 28 March 2021
Tallinn Art Hall, Vabaduse väljak 6, Tallinn
Tickets 8 euros (concession 4 euros, club members free)
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