Artrovert gallery exhibition schedule
September 22, 2023 – October 24, 2023
SASKIA JÄRVE – CELEBRATION OF BEING
Saskia Järve’s painting exhibition “Celebration of Being” speaks of the uniqueness of life’s moments and depicts observations on the interconnections between the human soul, civilisation and nature.
The works in the exhibition have a longer prequel, which concerns the large garden beneath the window of the artist’s rented apartment – an oasis in the middle of the city, the potential of which she failed to notice for almost a decade. It had been possible to live a fairly anonymous life in a medium-sized wooden house, knowing almost no one, but when suddenly no one was looking after the garden, it was a matter of chance that, together with a neighbour, the decision had to be taken to take care of it. After the first “mowing” of the lawn with scissors, for want of a better tool, it was clear that there was more to it than just physical work. It was an encounter with something alive.
Without knowing how to care for the plants at first, however, the world of gardening slowly began to unfold, becoming more and more special. It was as if the life force of nature was spilling over into everything else.
Describing the series of paintings she created for the exhibition, Järve says: “When I was creating the works, I was fascinated by the invisible at first sight – hopes, longings, the unknown and the unpredictability that surrounds life. All of us are unknowable, incomparable beings with something unique and sacred.”
Saskia Järve was born in 1979 in Pärnu, lives and works in Tallinn. In 2009 she graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts with a Master’s degree in painting.
As a mostly figurative painter, she deals with everyday life events, focusing on the complexity and psychology of human nature. His work mixes images of personal life with pop culture imagery and popular folklore, appearing at once familiar and alienating. Since 2005, he has exhibited his work in Estonia, England, Italy, Germany, Finland, Canada, Russia, Lithuania and Latvia.
The exhibition will be open until 28 October 2023.
August 24, 2023 – September 21, 2023
REGINA-MARETA SOONSEIN – IMPRINT
Artist Regina-Mareta Soonseina’s exhibition “Imprint” showcases newly created graphic works using linocut technique, along with their printing plates. In her new series, Regina-Mareta continues to manipulate figurative forms and organic matter with delicate lines, this time in a smaller format than usual. Imprints of body language are printed onto two primary shapes – circles and squares, in black and white, positive and negative – thus mimicking the circulation of matter.
May 28th 2023 – August 2023
CREATIVE REALITIES – KAREPA – VILLA DOMBROVKA
The exhibition “Creative Realities,” curated by Siim Raie, a master’s student in art history at EKA and the creator of Artrovert Gallery, explores the possibility of truth and reality and their potential expressions. The participating artists in the exhibition include Mia Felić, Gerda Hansen, Davijani, Anna-Liisa Kree, Syed Sachal Rizvi, Eri Rääsk, Mari Steinberg, Lara Žagar, and Mirjam Varik.
The concepts of truth and what is real are everyday contemplations. Wars are fought over different interpretations of reality, and nearly everyone preaches their own ideological truth. In the whirlwind of inflated questions, art is the only true answer. Art doesn’t have to be (and has never been) real, but it has the ability to show us what is possible, what is realistic without being actual.
Nine contemporary art master’s students from EKA have created their own creative realities – dream landscapes, visions, fantasies, altars, refuges, memories, dreams, and repetitions of dreams. Often, these mental images are more real than reality itself, at least to their creators. The exhibition allows us to approach some inner worlds, joys, and concerns, while also giving us the opportunity to observe where the artist places themselves within these and where the viewer stands.
The exhibition features photography, painting, drawing, and installation artworks. “Depicting the three-dimensional world and even more so, the depiction of conceptual spaces as flat surfaces has always been an interesting and challenging task in art for me. The authors and artworks were chosen precisely because of their mastery in portraying reality on a two-dimensional plane,” said curator Siim Raie.
The exhibition “Creative Realities” will remain open throughout the summer and can be visited on Fridays and Saturdays at Villa Dombrovka
May 9th 2023 – June 22nd 2023
KIWA – THE PATH OF THE ROBOT IS SHIFTING
Artist Kiwa’s exhibition “The Robot’s Path is Shifting” consists of a hundred digitally created images that captivate the viewer. With this exhibition, Kiwa continues their artistic journey that does not adhere to fixed genres and techniques. It is something they have never done before.
Kiwa comments on their artworks as follows: “The idea behind the series is a state of immaturity and creative imagination. It’s a world that is not stagnant, where metamorphosis and fairy tales are possible. Transformation is, on one hand, a psychedelic experience, and on the other hand, a Taoist constant change or progression. States of experiencing an alternative reality.”
The substantive connection to the book of the same name published in 2004 lies in the concept of “shift”:
- To make a structure self-aware, for a machine or a perceptive subject to reach its metalevel, illogical and non-presumptive movement is necessary.
- To change something, to move beyond self-as-machine, one needs to alter their thinking, algorithm, and predetermined working mode.
- To bring about a revolution, a shift in consciousness is required.
- To bite through the language in which internal communication takes place, a metalevel is needed.
- To become aware, deconstruction and the reversal of value hierarchies are necessary.
- To see the politicization of signifiers, deconstruction is required.
The exhibition promises and delivers all of this.
“While many artists today engage with posthumanism, the intersection of humans and technology, Kiwa deals with posthumanoidism – what the alien becomes in the future. The collection of artworks is powerfully moving and creates an automatic shift in the viewer’s facial expression and, I believe, in their thoughts as well,” commented Siim Raie, the founder of Artrovert Gallery.
Kiwa (born 1975) is an Estonian artist, composer, curator, and literate, as well as the founder of the ;paranoia publishing house. They studied sculpture at the Tartu Art School and the Estonian Academy of Arts. The Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia describes Kiwa as a resistant machine that shifts motifs and quotes. By combining anarchic and pop principles, the artist’s expressive tools range from sculpture to painting, performance to video, and sound to text.
Since 2014, Kiwa has been leading the ;paranoia publishing house, which publishes books that no other publishing house wants to publish for political, economic, aesthetic, and other reasons.
Kiwa has curated numerous exhibitions since 1999. They have given lectures at the Estonian Academy of Arts (2006–2018), led the sound art platform “metabor” (2001–2004), and worked on the ethnographic documentary project “Soviet Hippies.” Kiwa’s works can be found in the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia, the Tartu Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Estonia, as well as in private collections in Estonia, Europe, and the United States. They were a recipient of an artist’s salary from 2017 to 2019.
April 6th – April 25th 2023
MIHKEL ILUS – GIVE UP, AND LEAVE ALL BEHIND
The exhibition by Mihkel Ilus speaks of longing for spring and the desire to remove the cover from a car or motorcycle, press the clutch and step on the gas, and speed away into the distance.
In his painting series, the artist draws a parallel between art and cars, highlighting the similar universal truths and the pursuit of an ideal in both worlds. As an example, he mentions his studio neighbor Märt, who molds his old Saab like a sculptor shaping a sculpture: “He can sand the entire car and putty it again just to bring out a one-centimeter protrusion from a pothole.”
The roots of the series go back to Haapsalu in 2016, where Ilus presented a painting created in collaboration with Liisa Kaljula for the exhibition “Grand Painting Work.” At that time, the painting was inspired by Kaarel Kurismaa’s works. The same artwork moved from studio to studio with the artist, gradually shifting its purpose over time, transforming from an art piece into an air rifle target. Years passed until Ilus’s friend Mura suggested exhibiting his works in a vintage car shop, and the abstract work created for the half-arc served as the starting point for the series.
In the exhibition, Mihkel Ilus breaks the myth of being a painter of predominantly white color, using rich color palettes in his works. The series bursts with colors, evoking the same sensory awakening as the first blooming crocuses after a long winter. The artist has used car paint in his paintings, including Ferrari red, Moskvich brown, and BMW silver. As he jokingly added, “These works are like failed painting jobs; every time I try to do bodywork, it turns out like landscape painting.”
Mihkel Ilus (b. 1987) is an Estonian painter and installation artist who incorporates performing arts and explores the relationship between the white cube and the black box in his works. His art is characterized by a constant desire to create and break rules and manipulate the medium. Behind the seemingly simple execution lies a thoughtful and thorough concept. He often works with construction materials such as plasterboard, wood, and various shades of white as his palette. Mihkel Ilus holds a bachelor’s degree in painting from the University of Tartu and a master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Estonian Academy of Arts. He has been a guest lecturer, master, and lecturer at the academy since 2011.
Last autumn, he presented an immersive performance installation titled “T2” at the Kanuti Gildi SAAL in collaboration with Marten Esko. His recent solo exhibitions include those at the Tartu Art House (2019), Hobusepea Gallery (2018), and Hardanger Art Center in Norway (2018).
February 16th – March 25th 2023.
EERO ALEV – THEN SUDDENLY I SEE YOU
Eero Alev (1983) has graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts with a bachelor’s degree in painting and a master’s degree in contemporary art. Currently, he is a drawing and painting lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Arts and works as a freelance artist. Strong in traditional figurative representation methods, his style is realistic and characterized by a unique approach to subject matter. The main themes of his works are space and the human figure, often focusing on children, with particular attention to atmosphere.
The exhibition explores the world through the eyes of a child and the gaze that observes the child. A child can become so engrossed in play that they forget everything else around them. Observing a child in this way brings back memories of one’s own childhood, an experience that is behind us and cannot be relived. Observing one’s own child is the best alternative to reliving those experiences, evoking emotions that cannot be found elsewhere and awakening dormant layers that have long been forgotten.
Eero Alev’s recently completed series of six paintings speak of the unattainable longing for childhood, as well as the admiring and fearful gaze of a parent witnessing the growth of a little person. The exhibition “Then Suddenly I See You” is based on photos taken in the past two years, captured in the backyard of Tabasalu, at friends’ homes in Haapsalu, and on a trip to Hiiumaa. Photography provides an opportunity to preserve those moments. Painting, however, adds another dimension for the artist – the opportunity to spend more time in those moments and analyze their own thoughts, feelings, desires, and fears.
The painting series is a conceptual continuation of Eero’s 2022 master’s thesis at the Estonian Academy of Arts, titled “Encounter on a Plane,” where spontaneous, sketch-like characters inspired by children’s drawings appeared alongside classical figures. On the plane, two worlds met – the conscious, trained, and structured approach of an adult and the childlike, naive, and clumsy brushwork. Like in the master’s thesis, the colors in the exhibition “Then Suddenly I See You” have been toned down towards monochromaticism, although not fully achieving a single color.
Eero Alev has participated in several group exhibitions, including the significant ones at the Estonian Art Museum in 2019, curated by Eha Komissarov, “Open Collections. The Artist Speaks,” the duo exhibition “Pretense” with Brenda Purtsak at the Estonian Academy of Arts Gallery in 2020, and the recent exhibition “Guest” at the Hobusepea Gallery in the summer of 2022, together with Marleen Suvi and Brenda Purtsak.
January 6th – February 11th 2023.
INGMAR ROOMETS – SHADOW
Ingmar Roomets’ exhibition “Shadow” presents 11 works from the past two years.
Ingmar Roomets (born 1995) is a young artist with a distinctive naive perspective and a powerful expressive style. In 2019, Roomets began studying at the Painting Department of Tartu Art College Pallase. In the same year, he joined the Umbra Studio in Tartu’s old town and started exhibiting his works. Since 2022, Roomets has also been a member of the Tartu Artists’ Union.
Roomets commented on the upcoming exhibition and its theme: “Shadow is neither good nor bad; it is neutral and awakened by events in life. Certain people and relationships can trigger our Shadow. Then a part of us is activated, of which we may not have been aware before. The works in the exhibition may initially appear dark and repellent. They reflect fears, pain, and experiences that can unexpectedly strike us, and it can be difficult to confront their concentrated rawness. However, by not judging the works but instead experiencing them neutrally and calmly, the viewer can begin a process of purification and liberation. All the works in this exhibition are created with the aim of transforming all that outdated negativity that no longer sustains us and serves us into something new and supportive.”
September 8th – November 26th 2022. Opening exhibition of the new gallery location.
OLEV KUMA – TRANSFER
Artrovert Gallery’s opening exhibition features artist Olev Kuma’s (born 1990) show titled “Transfer.”
Kuma’s series “Transfer,” created as his final project at the Estonian Academy of Arts, consists of extremely slow images contrasting the everyday rush. These paintings are abstract from edge to edge, gradually revealing themselves and creating bridges to the subconscious realm of experience.
The works in the exhibition are veiled between the material and the dreamlike, inspiring a connection with a deeper inner world untouched by the mundane. Formally minimalist, even monochromatic rectangles from a distance, these meditative pieces allow meaning to arise only in harmony with the input brought by the observer. Thus, they speak uniquely to each individual who pauses in front of the painting, creating a personal and distinct stage for their thoughts and emotions. Meaning emerges when the content of the artwork meets the content of the viewer.
Olev’s works are meditative and calming, offering a well-suited balance for anxious times.