Runner Along the Border, Rat Catcher and Bricklayer
Curator: Gregor Taul
On Friday, 4 February at 6 pm, the group exhibition Runner Along the Border, Rat Catcher and Bricklayer will open at the Art Hall Gallery. The exhibition has been inspired by short stories by Peet Vallak, Mehis Heinsaar and Ilmar Külvet, whose main characters are forced to set both physical and mental boundaries for an array of reasons.
The exhibition brings together artists Amie Nga Man Chan, Eike Eplik, Kristaps Epners, Hanna Samoson and Augustas Serapinas, who all deal with issues of identity in their work. Also exhibited are historical photos from the collections of the Estonian memory institutions. The curator of the exhibition is Gregor Taul.
Multimedia installations by Kristaps Epners and Amie Nga Man Chan look at an individual’s ability to cope with challenging situations. Chan’s performance reveals the zero point of life on Narva River, while Epner’s story takes the protagonist to Siberia to join the bricklayers’ brigade in the Sayan Mountains.
The video work by Hanna Samoson is based on a dream or a sense of location, in which the individual’s self becomes one with existence. Eike Eplik presents wicker and sculptures made of clay, willow and wire. On the one hand, these are obscure consumer goods that could belong to the “product catalogue” of Siim the basket weaver in Vallak’s story, or to the toolkit of the inhabitants of Soontaga Village and rat catchers from Latvia that have come to rescue them in Heinsaar’s Toomas and the Rat Catchers. On the other hand, these works reflect the idea of a body that constantly recreates itself: through manual work and passing on traditions, we form both ourselves and the culture.
The work of Augustas Serapinas has a similar sense of life: he likes to wander along the grassy Lithuanian landscapes reminiscent of the scenery in Heinsaar’s stories and collect unseen stories about everyday lives. He has brought to the exhibition a greenhouse left behind by one of the summer cottage cooperatives in Estonia. What has remained from the formerly central element of everyday life is a sad-looking wreck, like a monument to the people who once wove their lives around it.
Gregor Taul, the curator of the exhibition, says: “Although all the literary works on which the exhibition is based contain elements of magical realism, they focus on ordinary people with their daily needs and whims. In the exhibition, these characters appear as generalised images, marking the peripheral ways of being and survival strategies of society. In the works of art, the line between fiction and real-life stories is unclear, yet the archival photos feature what seem to be flesh-and-bone runners along the border, rat catchers and bricklayers.”
On Sunday, 6 February at 2 pm, curator Gregor Taul will give a guided tour at the exhibition. The Runner Along the Border, Rat Catcher and Bricklayer exhibition will be open at the Art Hall Gallery until 3 April 2022
Amie Nga Man Chan (1991) is a ceramic artist from Hong Kong who graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in 2021 and received the Young Applied Artist Award. Eike Eplik (1982) is an artist living in Tartu and a current recipient of the artist’s salary provided by the Estonian Artists’ Association. Hanna Samoson (1987) is an artist based in Tallinn who graduated from the FAMU Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in 2021. Kristaps Epners (1976) is an artist working in Riga who has twice been nominated for the most prominent art award in Latvia, the Purvītis Prize. Augustas Serapinas (1990) is a Vilnius artist whose works belong to the collections of both Tate Modern and the Pompidou Centre. The curator of the exhibition, Gregor Taul (1986), is an art historian and semiotician based in Tallinn.
Our biggest thanks go to Bauroc, especially Margus Oja and Māris Cimmermanis.
We would also like to thank: Bauroc, Estonian National Museum, Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum, Department of Ceramic Art and Department of Interior Architecture of the Estonian Academy of Arts, Narva Art Residency, Tallinn City Museum, University of Tartu Museum, Old Võru County Culture House, National Archives, Ivars Gravlejs, Māris Cimmermanis, Mehis Heinsaar, Miervaldis Kalniņš, Rein Kutsar, Henrik Nurste, Kristjan Pütsep, Epp Salulaid, Sandor Sinimeri, Christin Taul, Enriko Valk.