NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

New exhibition of paintings on the first floor gallery of Haus, where the artist has not only considered the subject matter of pictures but also their presentation via frames. How what surrounds the work of art also becomes art...

You would think a realistic way of painting is disappearing from contemporary art. No one has the patience to model fruits by brush as the renaissance masters did with such dedication. Fast times call for fast techniques. Oil paints have been replaced by almost instantaneously drying acrylics and mixed media techniques create attractive textures on artworks. Everything has its charm.

Indrek Aava has chosen the way of the old masters as if to prove the eternally captivating nature of technical aptitude. He works with traditional oil paints. He creates technically highly realistic but essentially surreal compositions with barely visible brush strokes. His subjects are simple yet metaphysical, coercing the viewers’ enchanted gaze into the artist’s oddly timeless dimension.

Indrek Aava paints natures mortes or simply put, still lives – the moments captured in his works are clearly and discernibly at a standstill.

The pinnacle of the still life genre in art history has become the Dutch standard. Artists handled every painted element with extreme likeness, precision, and sharp yet also poetic manner and symbolistic approach. The endlessly abundant and also more modest feasts, fruit platters, and flower bouquets spoke of the juxtaposition between the perishable and the perpetual. The disappearance of brief beauty in wilting flowers and the permanently superior values of existential ideas that never fade. The nature morte in its time functioned in a context of Christian convictions. In later eras “still life” has been more bravely reinterpreted. As a genre it has inspired the creation of playfully emphasized shapes in compositions as well as characteristically one of a kind renditions of subject matter, where objects carry the tensions and messages of newer times.

Indrek Aava’s still lives on display at Haus Gallery are intricate games of thought and shape, as though the artist has exaggerated his technically precise skillset. The title of the exhibition “Out of the Frame” is intentionally ambiguous. On one hand it speaks of the author’s ultra-hyper realistic way of painting that allows the depicted objects to be
perceived as real tangible things instead of being made up of brush strokes and enclosed within a frame. On the other hand it refers to the way the artworks have been presented via frames. Indrek Aava has created a display frame for each of his works that offers an emphasized antique counterpoint to their contemporary formal expression.

Frames have a bearing role in this exhibition. The frames around Aava’s works appear as carefully set borders between the viewers’ world and the artist’s, as if to curb the temptation to reach out and touch the seemingly very real scene. Each frame presentation is an excellent assistant to the painting’s content. We can see grand and luscious golden frames as well as double frames that create an extra effect of space manipulation.

The artist himself has said about the exhibition at Haus Gallery: “I want to show still life in another way, not only as an art form that demands technical skill and has quite limiting rules and topics for one’s imagination. My goal is to bring mysticism into the nature morte – surrealism, deliberately distorted truth. To create paintings that consider the relation between simple and complicated shapes, somewhere in a world that deviates from reality. Objects in my works are placed according to a certain methodical scheme. For example – if a table in the painting enacts a stage then the milk jug is the actor. My wish is to make the viewer perceive the concrete moment captured in the painting as a show put on for them.” Indrek Aava’s creative manner carries a certain duality. His content matter is painted with strict geometrical lines. The author intentionally creates symbols of cold consistency flanked by soft pastel hues that make his world of paintings enjoyable, lively, and grippingly intense with thought and emotion.

Piia Ausman
Haus Gallery curator

*Indrek Aava (born 1977) started to work with painting in depth in 2005 when he was studying to be an advertising graphic artist in Finland. Aava has participated in exhibition since 2009. His works have been acquired into private collections in Estonia as well as internationally: in Finland, France, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, China, Russia, and Italy.

Gallery name: Haus gallery

Address: Uus 17, Tallinn

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:00 - 18:00, Sat 11:00 - 16:00

Open: 11.12.2020 - 09.01.2021