The author of the installation “Study for Soap” is Emmanuel Tussore, an artist, a cameraman and a photographer. In recent years, he has been exploring in depth the issue of war and the refugee crisis in Syria. He has chosen a very special medium of his artistic expression: the Aleppo soap. By molding by hand the pieces of this famous historical soap originating from one of the oldest cities in the world, the author brings into life the buildings and districts of Aleppo that have been bombed. Through this kind of natural and realistic expression, we find ourselves in a very unexpected way in the middle of ruins of homes and war trauma; soap as a symbol of a civilized man acquires an aura of raw destructive power instead. To understand how important role does the Aleppo soap play in the lives of Syrians, it can be compared to the old tradition of Estonians stocking up on potatoes every autumn. Similarly, Syrian families usually buy their annual supply of soap from the family’s favorite producer. Sadly, there are ten times fewer soap producers in Syria since the outbreak of war.
The sculptural ruins made of soap by Tussore enter into dialogue with shattered cityscapes on the images of St. Petersburg photographers Anton Ivanov and Alexander Vasilyev’s project “Wish us peace”. Black-and-white manually developed and magnified analogue photographs bring to us the war-torn life in Syria and the people who live there. The images focus is ordinary people’s daily life as they try to carry on despite the presence of war and danger. As many Syrians have been forced to leave their homes to find refuge and a new home somewhere else, this nation today is associated primarily with refugees and related issues. Thanks to the photo stories by Ivanov and Vasilyev, we have the opportunity to meet those who have decided to stay put and to carry on with their lives in the country of immensely rich historical and architectural heritage, now in ruins.
Although our daily life here in Europe seems to be a world apart from life in Syria, on a deeper human level, we are all interconnected. With this exhibition, we share the intimate insights into the history of this region and its people.
Curators: Kristel Laur, Liisa Kivimäe and Toomas Järvet
Emmanuel Tussore assisted by: Ahmed Al-Sulaiman
Exhibition Partners: Cultural Endownment of Estonia, French Institute in Estonia, Telliskivi Creative City, Art of Foto Gallery, Joon, Taevas Ogilvy, Tikkurila Eesti, Ajar Stuudiod, Hektor Container Hotel
Acknowledgments: Killu Maidla, Aari Lemmik, Polina Ljaseva, Eric Bultel, Ulla Kihva, Ilmar Kurvits, Triinu Mölder, Kaspar Kaur, Jason Värk, Carl Eric Laanetee Reintam, Consulate General of Estonia in Saint Petersburg
Gallery name: Dokfoto
Address: Telliskivi 60a/5 (ex-B1), 1 korrus, Tallinn
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 12:00 - 19:00 and by appointment, +372 522 2422
Open: 04.12.2020 - 20.06.2021