What’s the primary meaning of human freedom? Political freedom? Economic? Social? Intellectual?
Of course it is all these things, and how you interpret the concept of freedom depends on your circumstances and your point of view.
Estonia, freed in 1989 from a nearly half-century occupation by the Soviet Union, is experiencing something of a cultural self awakening, and its next wave of artists are interpreting this freedom in a myriad of ways.
This exhibition ”Vadabus/Freedom 2011” gives Estonian artists an opportunity to articulate their own experiences of freedom within the system of signs of contemporary art, and to do so in dialogue with French, Bulgarian and Japanese artists.
According the show’s curator Kaia Kiik, interpretations of the concept of what it means to be free range widely in this intriguing and sometime ironic exhibition, from the liberty to “disrupt the unfolding of things (Jaanika Peerna), to free oneself for the next world (Jass Kaselaan, Elo Liiv), to find one’s own space (Einike Leppik), to flee and simply get lost (Flo Kasearu), to be able to communicate without linguistic barriers (Aili Vahtrapuu), the freedom to say “No” (Czeka), of what one thinks (sometimes) of the family (Marko Mäetamm), of bioethics (Veronika Valk), of politics – specifically to ‘look under the skirt’ of politics (Terje Ojaver), and the freedom to wear the ‘skirt of not’ (Kiwa / Terje Toomistu).”
Adding a layer in history to this exhibit is the space itself –the rococo 18th century castle of Asnière, designed by Jacques Hardouin-Mansart de Sagonne.
It’s also interesting to note that, while the world’s attention was focused on the fall of Paris to Nazi forces in June of 1940, the Soviet Union quietly moved to blockade Estonia. So it’s a fitting and interesting turn of history that this exhibition celebrating the release from the mid-century darkness that engulfed the Baltic region should occur here, in the City of Light.
This show’s all-too-brief run ends Sunday December 4th, so if you are anywhere near Paris this weekend, you should drop by.
LIBERTÉ / VABADUS
Le château d’Asnières
89 rue du Château, Paris
Through December 4th
All photos by Veronika Valk
See a video of Jaanika Peerna’s installation.
Artists: Aili Vahtrapuu, Louis Dandrel, Czeka, Einike Leppik, Elo Liiv, Flo Kasearu, Jaanika Peerna, Jass Kaselaan, Jevgeni Zolotko, Kirke Kangro, Kiwa, Terje Toomistu,Lestberg, Marko Mäetamm, Mayumi, Stefan Nikolaev,Terje Ojaver, Veronika Valk, Villu Plink. Curator: Kaia Kiik