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Benjamin Badock and Kaido Ole. A Sparrow in the Hand

Curated by Siim Preiman

The duo exhibition of Benjamin Badock and Kaido Ole, A Sparrow in the Hand will be open at the Art Hall Gallery from 19 November. Amplifying common stereotypes, the works of the two artists depict life in an idyllic ideal world. The curator of the exhibition is Siim Preiman.


The exhibition will remain open until 24 January.


The accelerating segregation among people in Estonia creates an increasingly fertile ground for the emergence of envy and a sense of exclusion as well as delusions. Besides all this, there are innumerable superficial and insignificant reasons for envy. Envy does not necessarily depend on income, and so the title of the exhibition is borrowed from the proverb, “A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the wing,“ which, in short, means that we should be content with the little that truly belongs to us, rather than desire the unattainable.


Yet it seems that getting rid of that deeply rooted feeling of jealousy is not that simple. Kaido Ole, presenting a new series of paintings of fantastic houses at the exhibition, suggested a positive interpretation in an interview with Eesti Ekspress this summer: “Life would be terribly boring if we could resolve this matter and decide that people are now content. Having to deal with this roaring beast inside you is precisely what makes a happy life.”


Next to Ole’s houses, Benjamin Badock displays his print art with human figures. They are still very much recognisable despite the fact that their eyes, noses and mouths have been lost as a result of geometric simplification. You can see a grandmother peeking from behind a lace curtain, a teacher standing in front of a blackboard, a clown with a red nose and many other characters. We can only guess what the roaring beast inside them might look like.


“The exhibition of Benjamin Badock and Kaido Ole is a simplified ideal model of our world,” says Siim Preiman, the curator of the exhibition. “In the meeting point of the works of the two artists, a completely new story unfolds about ambitions, dreams and failures. This world is inhabited by faceless people driving completely featureless cars and living in luxurious but utterly impractical houses. Looking at this curved mirror of life inevitably raises the question of whether or not these people are happy.”

Benjamin Badock (1974) is a printmaker living and working in Leipzig, whose medium of choice is relief print. His work is expanding the field of printmaking by the experimental and unconventional use of classical printmaking techniques. He studied at Braunschweig University of Art (2001–2009) and Estonian Academy of Arts (2005–2006). His recent exhibitions include Life is Live (ITO-Raum, Stuttgart, 2019), …yellow and blue, that’s for you (Parrotta Contemporary Art, Cologne, 2018) and Open Studio (Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, 2017).


Kaido Ole (1963) is an artist living and working in Tallinn. The core of his practice is conceptual painting. Ole’s theatrical and controversial scenarios always combine various visual techniques from geometric abstraction to pop art and neo-realism. He studied design and painting at Estonian Academy of Arts (1982–1992) and first worked at the academy as a teacher and later as Professor of the painting department (2003–2010). His recent exhibitions include Blind Date (Triumf Gallery, Moscow, 2017), Nogank Hoparniis (Tallinn Art Hall, 2016) and New House (Tartu Art Museum, 2015).


Many thanks to: Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Estonian Artists’ Association, Akzo Nobel, Embassy of Germany in Tallinn