NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

As a musician, Maidla describes his exhibitions as albums. And as is customary in music to presume that every new album offers a new approach, so does the introduction of a new instrument characterise this absurdly titled exhibition. Photography in Maidla’s oeuvre has finally transformed into printmaking. The lines that are revealed through chemical photographic processes have been replaced by cuts in linoleum.

Maidla, who has been the only master of bromine oil prints in Estonia for decades, offered a series of photogravures for his last exhibition in the Tartu Art House in 2015. In hindsight, his words back then sound like a premonition: “From its beginnings, photography has wanted to transform from an image bleached by light into a graphic line.” According to Maidla, the closeness to printmaking has been the element that has attracted him to old photographic techniques. He has been chasing lines since his 1997 manifesto-like exhibition “Photographics” in the Obu gallery in Tartu.

Ove Maidla is characterised by contradictions. At first glance, he is an incurable romantic. On closer inspection, however, a pedant who immerses himself with fantastic ardour in technical details is revealed. Although the approach has changed, the motifs on his pictures haven’t: panoramic vistas, landscapes, clouds, branches, churches, backyards, rooftops, even a lone figure. Besides pastoral songs like “Church Yard” and “Pier”, the present album also contains titles full of irony like “Old Hens’ Summer” or “Frosty the Flower Seller”.

Ove Maidla (b 1959) is currently a freelance artist and photographer but has previously worked for long periods in the media. His bromine oil works are collected in the album “Bromine Oil Prints”. With the art historian Enriko Talvistu, he has published various albums documenting the urban landscapes of Tartu. As a musician, Maidla has played drums in bands like Smuuk, Fix, Justament and ROSTA Aknad.

Gallery name: Tartu Art House

Address: Vanemuise 26, Tartu

Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 12:00 - 18:00

Open: 23.10.2020 - 15.11.2020