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Garden Exile. The Tuglas Home Garden Through Tanja Muravskaja’s Camera Lens 17/05/2019 – 27/10/2019

Kumu Art Museum
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Tanja Muravskaja. Projektist „Aiapagu“. 2016–2019. Foto (detail)
Exhibition

Garden Exile. The Tuglas Home Garden Through Tanja Muravskaja’s Camera Lens

Location: 4th floor, Project Space & Kumu courtyard

The exhibition combines a Soviet-era photo archive with a contemporary photographic research. The starting points for the exhibition were the photo records of the home garden of the writer Friedebert Tuglas and his wife, Elo Tuglas, which are both aesthetically and contextually fascinating source materials. The photo representation of the Tuglas garden (which currently belongs to the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre), the garden itself, and the garden as a general symbol have been examined in the period 2016 to 2019 by Tanja Muravskaja through various methods of contemporary photographic art.

The exhibition focuses on photography as a powerful narrative technique. With the selection and arrangement of photos in the albums, the Tuglases created an impressive visual narrative, in which every inclusion and exclusion has significance. The images speak of the homeowners’ love and admiration for nature in its small and large manifestations, and of these literary people’s ability to maintain close links with nature and to bring order to the environment around them. Even more striking is what the photos leave unsaid, what stays outside the borders of this wonderful garden, namely the difficult Soviet reality, with its acts of repression and power play. In this light, the beauty of the garden seems especially fragile.

In the garden of the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre, the photo artist Tanja Muravskaja has searched for the Tuglases’ presence, the opportunity to escape in the garden, and the meaning of garden exile today. The artist has united documentary and poetic aspects of photography to create an environment in which one can enter into an emotional relationship with the image of the garden and examine various layers of meaning. This environment continues outside the exhibition hall as a photo installation in the Kumu courtyard, which attempts to form a bridge with the Tuglases’ cosy garden. The site-specific installation, which serves as a metaphor for a home garden, has been created for this exhibition in particular. Standing in the middle of it, one can contemplate the creative paths of the writers and their links to nature.

The garden theme is expanded by works of graphic art from the collection of the Art Museum of Estonia. Salome Trei’s print refers to the Tartu home and garden of the Tuglases, which were lost in war, while their home in Nõmme is reflected in Maara Vint’s and Tõnis Vint’s compositions. The two artists grew up in the same Nõmme district and both have used the symbol of the tree as a world pillar in their oeuvre. A garden as a small self-contained universe is important in Vive Tolli’s homage to the poet Debora Vaarandi, as well as in Silvi Liiva’s work, which brings together all seasons into a garden, with a touching image of a barefoot gardener in a white suit, who calls to mind the photos of Friedebert Tuglas himself. Mare Vint has created a universal image of a closed-off space, which could allude to a variety of situations.

Curator: Elnara Taidre
Exhibition design: Villu Plink
Graphic design: Külli Kaats
Gardening consultant: Helena Tuvike

Acknowledgements:
The Under and Tuglas Literature Centre, Elle-Mari Talivee and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia