NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

With greetings to Mari Kurismaa and Sirja-Liisa Eelma, thinking of the exhibition. It is completely logical that Mari Kurismaa and Sirja-Liisa Eelma have found soulmates in each other as artists. They both use the repetition of images to create an active background for a work or a rhythmic pattern that guides the entire image, and they are both fascinated by peace of mind and inner observation. Their pictorial spaces are devoid of people, yet they do not exclude anyone. Both Mari and Sirja-Liisa’s colour choices are elaborate and rich in nuances, although different. They both have their own techniques and perspectives on art, but there is more to their practice than that.

Mari: All important things are invisible – and if you manage to visualize some of them, then for me this is art. As an interior architect, I have been particularly fascinated by historical interiors. This kind of engaging in two different eras at the same time has caused a strange shift in my perception and has given me a gentle opportunity to peek somewhere in between times. Having now returned to painting, I would like to try to delve deeper into this experience.

For many years, Sirja-Liisa and I have truly had a strange mutual joy of affinity for each other. I can’t really explain it fully. Her paintings in from the series Emptying Field of Meaning felt as though they could have been painted for  by me. Her desire to do particularly unpretentious things is inherently very understandable to me; this is why I like painting tree leaves: silently observing each leaf individually takes so much time and attention. What has been put inside a painting slowly seeps out of it as well.

Sirja-Liisa: Painting is a creature; it wants you to come closer. It is not only that the viewer needs to see painting, but the painting too has to see its viewer. The artist has been breathing on it for hours, days and months, bringing it to life with gentle brush strokes. It is born out of love, which is usually the way things are born.

I have been thinking that paintings are like battery banks of time, preserving the working hours dedicated to their creation and releasing that time in the exhibition hall, so the viewer can experience a great amount of time in a single instant.

At first, the painting is wet; then it is moist. It needs time to dry. This is exactly what its splendour lies in. The painting is in no hurry; it is dignified and confident. It makes you wait, and that waiting is important. Indeed, it is the waiting that is important.

Mari too is important. She is completely her own person; there is lightness, beauty and absurdity in her; she laughs in a cool way. The bold metaphysics and emptiness of her paintings have touched something very important in me. Mari creates ideal worlds – organised pictorial fields. Her spaces and still lives consist of original shapes or organised forms[1] . I believe it is this order that brings us together. The yearning for an ideal, which may be a moment before the chaos, or all moments above all chaoses.

Gallery name: Tallinn Art Hall

Address: Vabaduse väljak 8, Tallinn

Opening hours: Wed-Sun 11:00 - 18:00

Open: 29.01.2021 - 04.04.2021