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Pointless system II

Tarmo Salin / Ekke Väli

Tarmo Salin, a graphic artist, comics artist and one who diagnoses the systems of society, and Ekke Väli, a sculptor of monumental works will open a joint exhibition called Pointless System II.

The title of the exhibition refers back to Tarmo Salin’s final project at the Estonian Academy of Arts in 2001. Pointless Systems depicts ghostly consumer items covered in grey plasticine. The objects, which are now in the Art Museum of Estonia’s collection, provide the mood for Salin’s subsequent works: the simultaneously sharpening and dulling of sensations, the tolerability or intolerability of routine.


In his sculptures, paintings and author comics, Tarmo Salin casts an analytical sideways glance at society and himself, and discovers that the system has not changed during the last 15 years. In his author comics Tarmo Salin is precise and laconic. He focuses primarily on vital existential issues, such as dreams, work and love, opportunities and choices. By playing with icon-like easily comprehensible images, he creates something that is also extremely poetic, universalising and pertinent.


“His curt use of language speaks equally through omission and allusion. As such, the text truly invites psychoanalytical interpretation. At the same time, I believe that the artist himself would prefer some other escape trajectory,” writes Hanno Soans in the foreword to Salin’s comics collection. “In a uniquely intriguing way, his works have always mapped the clashes between personal beliefs and a minimalist figurative idiom, by parodying the numerous pointless systems to be found in society at both the local and global level.”


Tarmo Salin has had joint exhibitions with both Siiri Minka and Marco Laimre. Sculptor Ekke Väli and Tarmo Salin have following each other’s work and associated closely since 2001, when Väli was the adviser for Salin’s BA project Pointless Systems. In the context of this long-term cooperation, Väli’s monumental sculptures of curly birch, which resemble tables, are both a real and conceptual fulcrum for Salin’s sculptures and comics.


Ekke Väli (b. 1952) studied architecture and sculpture (BA 1979) at the Estonian Academy of Arts and has appeared in exhibitions since 1979. In 2009, he received the Anton Starkopf Prize.


Tarmo Salin (b. 1974) studied architectural engineering at the Tallinn Higher Technical School; sculpture (BA 2001) and graphic art (MA 2003) at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Recent exhibitions: Next to Nothing at the CAME (2010), Schweitz at Gallery 008 (2009), Schizophrenia (with Siiri Minka) at the Hobusepea Gallery (2008). In 2014, the Lugemik publishing initiative released Salin’s comics book Artist, Art and Comics Art and Artist’s Project.