Anglers. Silvia Jõgever and Kadi Estland
|Location:||Kumu exhibition spaces|
The project space on the 4th floor of Kumu is a mobile extension of the permanent display of Soviet Estonian art. One of its intents is to create a dialogue between artists from different generations. On this occasion, the exhibition in the project space focusses on the oeuvre of the Tartu art teacher and artist Silvia Jõgever (1924–2005) created in the 1960s and 1970s.
The central image in Jõgever’s dreamlike, defiant and melancholy works of art is the stage as a metaphor for life. So far, little attention has been paid to the fact that in Jõgever’s image space, the main roles are usually played by female characters. The depicted women, however, tend to be faceless in their assigned roles. They seem listless and passive in the situations in which they have been placed. Some other of Jõgever’s playful works, on the contrary, express her firm belief in women, highlighting women’s potential for taking an active role.
When we look at Silvia Jõgever’s works of art, it is important to remember that although the official rhetoric of the Soviet era preached the equality of the two genders, the emancipation of women was somewhat imaginary or partial. The society still followed certain role expectations, which meant that working women often had to bear a double load, having to also take care of the household and family.
The choice of topics apparent in Jõgever’s paintings is also rather exceptional in the context of the 1960s and 1970s. Violence against women was not a topic that the artists of the period wanted or dared to depict. The art of the era does not include works that showed the problems of a woman’s personal life or her struggles with the freedom of decision.
The two different contexts – the Soviet era and the present day – are bridged by the oeuvre of Kadi Estland (1973). Estland’s politically charged absurdist images and works, in which she has appropriated and redefined the tranquil and traditional world of historical embroidery patterns, have a kind of therapeutic effect. This is especially topical in today’s world, in which the aggressively conservative world view is forcefully trying to occupy both public and private spaces.
The social contexts of Silvia Jõgever’s and Kadi Estland’s works are very different but the issues that are dealt with create telling dialogues. Both authors’ works deal with women, what surrounds them and shapes their lives, and the environments that affect women and their choices. The works of art at the exhibition are partly absurd but always emphatic; they sometimes contain elements of self-portraiture and deal with problematic relationships between the individual and the society. In the works of these artists-anglers, complexities and problems from the deep currents of society have been caught and made more visible.
Curator: Eda Tuulberg
Exhibition design: Kadi Estland
Exhibition team: Külli Kaats, Johanna Lamp, Margit Pajupuu, Sirje Rump, Uve Untera
We thank: the Jõgever family, Helena Nagel, Enn Lillemets, Mare Joonsalu, Tartu Art Museum, Vuhti House Gallery
Kadi Estland. Artists are Going Home. Detail. 2002. Art Museum of Estonia
Silvia Jõgever. Artists and a Model. Detail. 1963. Tartu Art Museum