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NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Sisters can be smart, mean, and sharp, as depicted by Edith Karlson’s giant snake installation at a current exhibition in KUMU. At the Tallinn Art Hall Gallery, however, Mall Paris and Edith Karlson prove that there is another side to the coin. The exhibition is about sisters in their best effort to understand one another and the shared choice of being an artist.

Mall Paris and Edith Karlson are well known to our art lovers. Mall with her quiet, constant presence, her well-known sequential and minimalist paintings which may as well be anonymous but are definitely not – because of the movement of the hand that is careful yet traceable, reveals a many-layered and glazing way of painting, with different lights and textures echoing through. Since the middle of the 1990s, Mall has established this way of painting as well as laconic and geometric imagery for herself and the audience.

Edith’s work ethic and resolve, openness, and willingness to collaborate have made her a favourite among friends and audiences. Large and bold figure compositions – fantastic, funny, threatening, and tender all at once – are carried by a concern for the fate of this world. One may assume that the last thing on her mind is beauty, harmony, and the secrets of art’s mystery. Everything that the younger generation where she belongs regards as formalism. But alas!

The exhibition ‘Sisters’ displays mostly watercolour works and smaller sculptures. And one painting, as to not forget the main activity of the author of the watercolours, Mall Paris. The repetition of these works is maddening at first, but after a while, it wins the heart of the viewer with its subtle nuances. Edith Karlson’s sculptures are either “sculptural watercolours” – colourful floating polyester wax clouds, and smaller abstract concrete compositions. The latter give a gorgeous impression of Sculpting 101 and could serve as a starting point for both the Venus of Willendorf as well as monumental modernist mutememorial. The dual exhibition of Edith Karlson and Mall Paris fits together perfectly, thanks to, obviously, Edith’s materialised and muted dialogue with Mall Paris, whose need to do what she does is unshakable and admirable.

In 2018, Mall Paris (born 1954) was awarded the Kristjan Raud prize and medal ‘for pure abstract and minimalist painting, for the discreet yet persistent and confident way of poeticising her surroundings’.
In the year 2015, Edith Karlson (born 1983) was given the audience award at the exhibition for the Köler Prize nominees; in 2017, she was chosen as one of three artists who will receive the artists’ wage in the years 2018–2020.

The curator of the exhibition is Tamara Luuk.

Installation: Valge Kuup
Exhibition team: Tamara Luuk, Sirli Oot
Graphic design: Indrek Sirkel, Ott Kagovere
Many thanks to: Estonian Ministry of Culture, Cultural Endowment of Estonia

The Art Hall Foundation fund is a contemporary art establishment that presents exhibitions in three galleries on the central square of Tallinn – at Tallinn Art Hall and nearby at Tallinn City Gallery and the Art Hall Gallery.

Gallery name: Art Hall Gallery

Address: Vabaduse väljak 6, Tallinn

Opening hours: Wed-Sun 12:00 - 19:00

Open: 20.12.2019 - 09.02.2020