On November 9, 2023, at 7 pm a group exhibition titled ‘Fragile Balance’ opens at Atletika gallery, featuring artists Hedi Jaansoo, Nokukhanya Langa, Anna Mari Liivrand, Emma Luukkala, Mari Männa, Laurynas Skeisgiela and Mark Soosaar. The show is curated by Estonian curator, Kaisa Maasik.
The exhibition Fragile Balance focuses on the relation between I can and I cannot – the collision of the frail and the sturdy. Something that artists deal with daily, but voice ever so less. Each of the participating artists has created a practice out of their relationship to the material. The chosen matter becomes an extension of the creator themselves and their capabilities. The struggle is kept in motion even after the work has been put out on display.
Seemingly effortless, practicing fragility demands the same conviction. Balancing between two states – gentleness on the one side, being tough on the other – is key as it affects the final form and outcome. The fragility of the material and the process connects to the person and their vulnerability and invincibility as a human.
Artists: Hedi Jaansoo, Nokukhanya Langa, Anna Mari Liivrand, Emma Luukkala, Mari Männa, Laurynas Skeisgiela, Mark Soosaar
Curator: Kaisa Maasik
Graphic design: Laura Grigaliūnaitė
Exhibition opening: 9 November 2023, 7 pm.
Exhibition tours with artists and curator: 9th November 7 pm (in English), 11th November 2 pm (in English)
Exhibition dates and times: 10 November – 16 December 2023, Wednesdays to Fridays 4pm-7pm, Saturdays 1pm-5pm.
Address: Atletika gallery, Vitebsko str. 21, Vilnius. The show and events are free of charge.
The exhibition is organised by the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association (LIAA). Activities of LIAA are supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Vilnius City Municipality.
The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Embassy of Finland in Vilnius, the Estonian Embassy in Vilnius, the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture and Põhjala Brewery.
About the authors:
Anna Mari Liivrand (EE, 1993) is an installation artist who also works with drawing. She graduated from the Sculpture and Installation department (BA, 2016) and Contemporary Art (MA, 2022) at the Estonian Academy of Arts. In recent years, Liivrand has focused on everyday rituals, ornaments and decoration. She often examines them from the point of self-creation and how they act as anchor points in an ever-changing world filled with uncertainties and anxieties. Her works are combinations of unusual everyday materials (i.e. pieces of her skin, vitamins etc.) and traditional craft practices, which come together in elegant spatial installations.
Emma Luukkala (FI, 1992) is a visual artist whose main media is painting and sculpture. Luukkala gratuated (BFA in 2018 and MFA in 2020) from the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki. She draws the motifs for her art from everyday life and her immediate surroundings. She examines the home environment, fixating on details like textile patterns, furniture legs and belongings burrowed between the sofa cushions. Painted imagery refers to materials around us, while the tangible surfaces of thick paint lead to look at the painting itself as a pile of matter.
Hedi Jaansoo (EE, 1989) is an artist and photographer based in Tallinn. She graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in Contemporary Art (MA, 2018) and Photography (BA, 2014). Jaansoo works with fragilities, weaknesses, tensions and beauties, among other – mainly small – things. Her recent work combines photography, flowers, textiles and vases, non-functional jewellery, unfinished thoughts and uncertain decisions, conflicting desires, (be)longing and acceptance. She is inspired by grandmothers and tries not to harm the environment too much.
Kaisa Maasik (EE, 1994) is an artist and curator. She has graduated from the Master of Contemporary Art programme (MA, 2021) and the Photography department (BA, 2017) at the Estonian Academy of Arts. In 2019, she was an exchange student in the Praxis curatorial Master’s Programme at the University of the Arts Helsinki. Maasik values collaborative practices, often (co-)creating projects that have a spatial outlet. She is inspired from the everyday, mostly working with (artists who use) found material; collected objects, ideas, footage and motifs. She focuses on the feelings and experiences of people whose paths she crosses, trying to introduce them through objects and memories.
Laurynas Skeisgiela (LT, 1994) is an artist, curator, photographer and filmmaker. He studied at the Vilnius Academy of Arts’ Photography and Media Art Department, 2013–2017, and at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts. Alongside Milda Dainovskytė, he is part of a curatorial duo and an alternative urban cultural body that encourages us to question, remember and reimagine local identities. While cinema and curating are a place of collaboration, his individual artistic practice most often takes the form of video and light installations, currently with the theme of mimicry in the fields of nature and culture. As to quote John Cage, his aim is “creating work that is less like an object and more like the weather”.
Mari Männa (EE, 1991) is a sculptor and installation artist based in Tallinn. She graduated from Tartu Art College in Photography (BA, 2017) and the Estonian Academy of Arts in Contemporary Art (MA, 2020). Her sculptural practice is driven by an urge to explore diverse materials and create tangible forms as a daily ritual. Embracing trial and error, she maintains a dynamic progression within her practice. Humor functions as a vital coping mechanism for her, enabling the redirection of socially unconventional impulses. Männa consistently engages with current social topics in her artwork, while her fascination lies in unraveling the intricacies of the human condition during moments of crisis.
Mark Soosaar (EE, 1946) is an Estonian film director, cinematographer and screenwriter. Soosaar graduated from the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in 1970 as a cinematographer. In 1992 he moved to Pärnu and founded his own film studio, Weiko Saawa Film. His countless documentary films often look at their wide range of subjects through an anthropological viewpoint. Soosaar became the conscious auteur, only making films based on his own ideas. He finds his own hero subject, and shoots the film without assistance. He never uses outside interviewers. If needed, he will deliberately create a situation to allow his subjects to reveal their inner life, or to further develop his ideas of the film.
Nokukhanya Langa (USA/NE, 1991) is an artist based in Rotterdam. She has graduated from the Moravian University in Studio Art (BA, 2013) and the Frank Mohr Institute in Painting (MA, 2018). Her art practice reconciles the pluralities of her personal story, mixed cultural heritage, and lived experiences; all coming together to form part of her large-scale paintings, filled with vibrant imagery in a stream-of-consciousness style. Unlearning the rigidity of her training in traditional oil painting, she plays with abstract motifs; colour, swirls, and other fluid shapes, working in unison with more recognisable motifs like text and signs.
Photography: Laurynas Skeisgiela.