NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Retouching, the manipulation of photographic images to enhance the result, has been a significant part of photography since its early days. Due to its use in propaganda, mass media and especially in the fashion industry, retouching has become infamous and is criticised for distorting the reality. This kind of criticism – although righteous – reveals a belief in the initial virginity of the photograph as a document and mediator of the truth.

A similar, somewhat naive belief about the immediacy and the innocence of documents is common when talking and thinking about history and archives. At a closer look, however, it turns out that even the archives have been collected and are investigated by historians with a particular goal. Therefore our image of the world has inevitably been retouched.

Taking this into account, the curators of the exhibition Silver Girls have gathered a selection of ten early woman photographers who worked in the geographical region of Estonia and Latvia. An additional aesthetic layer has been introduced through the inclusion of three contemporary European artists who contemplate in their oeuvre the lost and the neglected in our visual history.

Tartu Art Museum as a memory institution is trying to be aware of its role as a collection of public knowledge: a position which inevitably brings with itself the need to constantly reconsider what we think we know about the past and the ways we understand it. This was the curatorial position of the recent exhibition about the Pallas Art School and has been the impetus for the exhibition series Tartu 88 that was initiated to determine and fill the gaps in our knowledge of recent art history. The upcoming exhibition Silver Girls. Retouched History of Photography wants to shed light on another such blind spot via an international exhibition.


Curated by Šelda Puķīte and Indrek Grigor
Participating artists: Antonija Heniņa, Lūcija Alutis-Kreicberga, Minna Kaktiņa, Emīlija Mergupe, Marta Pļaviņa.
Olga Dietze, Helene Fendt, Anna Kukk, Hilja Riet, Lydia Tarem.
Nanna Debois Buhl, Sami van Ingen, Elisabeth Tonnard.
Designer: Alexey Muraško
Producer: Kristlyn Liier
Supported by: Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Nordic Culture Point, Frame Contemporary Art Finland
In collaboration with: Museum of Photography (Tallinn), Museum of Viljandi, Museum of Hiiumaa, Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, Latvian Museum of Photography, Aizkraukle History and Art Museum, Riga Photography Biennial 2020, Pēteris Korsaks, Kristjan Riet

Gallery name: Tartu Art Museum

Address: Raekoja plats 18 , Tartu

Opening hours: Wed, Fri-Sun 11:00 - 18:00, Thu 11:00 - 20:00

Open: 12.06.2020 - 27.09.2020