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Marge Monko. Stones Against Diamonds, Diamonds Against Stones

Curator: Evelien Bracke

Marge Monko’s solo show titled Stones Against Diamonds, Diamonds Against Stones will open on 11 January as the first Tallinn City Gallery exhibition of 2018. The exhibition will display new video, photography and installation works that study the keywords used to construct femininity in commercial culture: beauty, desirability and fertility. The exhibition is curated by Evelien Bracke.


Stones Against Diamonds, Diamonds Against Stones is a natural continuation to Monko’s work over the past couple of years and her interest in commercial design. Designs for shop windows and interiors often borrow elements from fine art as well as classical and modern architecture. Monko is interested in how companies have used these elements to create consumer desire and communicate exclusiveness.

Most of Marge Monko’s works are connected to historical references. For the current exhibition, Monko has collected advertisements by De Beers, a company that controlled the diamond market throughout the 20th century, in particular, the ‘Women of the World, Raise your Right Hand’ campaign from 2003 that targeted women with enough money to buy a diamond ring.


“In a world where practices as diverse as operative surgery, legal decision-making and even warfare are largely image-based, insight into the mechanics behind visual representation is indispensable. Although we are constantly surrounded by images, this regular engagement does not necessarily make us visually literate. Most of the time, we are not aware of the tools and codes used in advertisements to create a seductive narrative for a product. Advertising is an important and clever mechanism that helps brands establish the association of physical and social ideas with consumer goods,” wrote curator Evelien Bracke in the exhibition brochure.


Marge Monko (EE, 1976) lives and works in Tallinn. She graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts (MA in Photography, 2008) and furthered her training at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Monko works with photography, video and installation media. Most of her works are influenced by the theories of psychoanalysis, feminism and visual culture. Since autumn 2017, she has been working as a Professor of Photography at the Estonian Academy of Arts.


Evelien Bracke (BE, 1980) is a freelance curator and project manager of contemporary art and design. She received her Master’s degree from Ghent University. From 2010 to 2015, she worked at Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Hasselt, where she curated and coordinated several exhibitions, among them Atelier à Habiter (2013–2014), The Wilde Things – The So Contemporary Jewellery Collection of Mrs. Wilde (2013–2014), Mind the System, Find the Gap (2012). She is currently working on the new permanent exhibition for the Design Museum Gent.


We would like to thank: Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Ministry of Culture, Tallinn Department of Culture, Veinisõber, Kuu Stuudio, Sadolin, Christophe Van Gerreway, Jean Van Der Haegen, Qu Chang, Kaisa Sööt, Reimo Võsa-Tangsoo, Zheng Xinyi.