Anu Põder. Be Fragile! Be Brave!
On 17 March 2017, a group exhibition focusing on the oeuvre of one of the most fascinating Estonian sculptors of the 20th century, Anu Põder, opens at Kumu’s Gallery of Contemporary Art. Anu Põder’s works will be exhibited alongside works by Ana Mendieta, Alina Szapocznikow, Iza Tarasewicz, Ursula Mayer, and Katrin Koskaru, placing these artists and their artworks in dialogue with one another.
Anu Põder is one of the most original Estonian sculptors of the 20th century. Her works are particularly striking due to her artistic ability to express the mental and physical experiences of daily life in vivid sculptural forms. The exhibition’s curator Rebeka Põldsam comments on her choices: “Previously, Põder’s work has mostly been exhibited with her Estonian contemporaries – significantly, this retrospective offers the chance to look at her work within the context of the rich international tradition of depicting the female experience of the 20th century.”
In addition to works by Anu Põder, ranging from early drawings from the 1970s to sculptures made in 2012 the year before Põder’s death, the exhibition also features ‘Siluetta Works in Mexico’, a video piece and photo series by the Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta, who is known for contemplating female bodily experiences in nature and violence in society. One of the latest installations by Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow, Tumours Personified, deals with the temporality of human life. A spatial installation by young Polish artist Iza Tarasewicz takes the known miracle cure of reishi mushrooms as its material. While Katrin Koskaru has made a new series of paintings, focusing on the perception of wars from the hindsight of the present moment. A huge installation of abstract works by Austrian-born artist Ursula Mayer weaves personal and political life into a single whole.
The exhibition asks: how have the female artists of the 20th and 21st centuries depicted their bodies and subjectivities in relation to the world around them? What connects artists from different countries and generations who have never met and are not always familiar with each other’s work, yet express similar issues through a similar formal logic?
The exhibition is accompanied by a book on Anu Põder, which will be presented at the opening of the exhibition.
Artists: Anu Põder, Katrin Koskaru, Ursula Mayer, Ana Mendieta, Alina Szapocznikow, Iza Tarasewicz
Curator: Rebeka Põldsam
Designers: Maarja Kask, Neeme Külm, Ralf Lõoke
Graphic Design: Brit Pavelson, Koit Randmäe
Co-ordinator: Triin Tulgiste
The exhibition team: Juta Kivimäe, Isabel Aaso-Zahradnikova, Kaie Kukk, Valmar Pappel, Andres Amos, Erki Nagla, conservators of the Conservation and Digitization Centre Kanut
Collections: Helsinki Art Museum, Tartu Art Museum, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Galerie Lelong, LUX, private collection, Art Museum of Estonia
Supporters: Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Society of Art Historians and Curators, Mobec Ltd, Linnusilm Ltd, Messivaip Ltd, Prike AS
Acknowledgments: Alice Kask, Saskia Kask, Hedi Jaansoo, Kadi Estland, Rainer Kattel, Mari Laanemets, Sirje Helme, Dirk Snauwaert, Orit Gat, Anu Vahtra, Dénes Farkas, Maigi Magnus, René Reinumäe, Kristo Anton, Mikk Heinsoo, Seenehunt Ltd., HS Art Service, Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia, Eha Komissarov, Jan Verwoert
Anu Põder. Composition with a Torso and a Child’s Hands. 1986. Art Museum of Estonia. Photo: Hedi Jaansoo