Flo Kasearu at Tallinn Art Hall

Artist: Flo Kasearu

Title: Cut out of life

Venue: Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn

Curator: Cathrin Mayer

Photo: Paul Kuimet

What really goes on behind closed doors? Why is it safer on the streets than at home? How do male perpetrators – every fourth man in Estonia – justify their actions? How to recognise violence around us and where to get help.

Tallinn Art Hall presents Cut Out of Life, the largest solo exhibition to date by Flo Kasearu, one of the most important Estonian contemporary artists, which conceptualises domestic violence against women, a social problem with devastating and severe effects on society.

The will be opened to the public on the morning of 20 January 11 am EET. The official opening will be held virtually on 27 January at 3 pm CET on Tallinn Art Hall’s virtual exhibition platform. The opening event can be viewed via Zoom here as well as on Tallinn Art Hall’s YouTube channel.

Flo Kasearu’s art is playful, provocative and conceptual, exploring the broader conditions of society. In recent years, the artist has drawn attention to the role of women. Cut Out of Life is the result of a long process for the artist. Even though the problem of domestic violence, which was kept quiet and considered taboo for a long time, has gained more and more coverage in Estonia in recent years, it still remains a pressing issue in society.

Kasearu’s personal interest in this topic is by no means recent, and did not simply rise out of solidarity; rather, it is rooted within her own biography. In 2009, the artist’s mother, Margo Orupõld opened a women’s shelter in the city of Pärnu. Over the years, through creative workshops and art projects, Kasearu has been engaging with several generations of women living in and receiving counselling from the Pärnu Women’s Shelter.

Spanning across the generous spaces of the Art Hall, the artist conceived the exhibition as a narration in chapters that follows the efforts of survivors of violence who seek to gradually claim independence from their abusive partners. Through her visually playful and provocative practice, Kasearu understands how to engage her audience, pushing the right buttons. She proposes genuine and helpful solutions, also showing us that sometimes humour and laughter can be the best forms of therapy.

“Kasearu belongs to the generation of young Estonian artists who witnessed a change of power after the collapse of the bipolar world order. When dealing with upheavals in Estonia, the artist is primarily interested in changes in personal and public life and their wider impact. In recent years she has drawn particular attention to the role of women in society,” says Cathrin Mayer, curator of the exhibition. “For her work Illustrating the Request for Privacy (2016), Kasearu organised a performance at NO99 Theatre in Tallinn with women who had suffered from severe domestic violence. In the course of two hours, the women read their court cases to the audience. The artist’s first major solo exhibition delves into the issue of domestic violence, exploring its various aspects and looking at the journey of breaking free from an oppressive relationship and restoring one’s independence.”

Flo Kasearu is an artist who works directly with various social processes, using her characteristic irony. Her works include videos, drawings, paintings, installations and performances, with the approach chosen to suit a given theme. Flo has focused on various topical questions, such as freedom, public and private space, the economic crisis and the role and opportunities of women in society. She often turns to her own life and the lives of those closest to her for inspiration. Kasearu is the founder of the Flo Kasearu House Museum in Tallinn. Her latest exhibitions include Festival of the Shelter (Pärnu Women’s Shelter, 2018), Holes (Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, 2018), Performing the Fringe (Konsthall C, 2020), Wunderkammer (Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga, 2020), State of Emergency (KUMU Art Museum, Estonia, 2020).

Cathrin Mayer is a curator at the newly established Kunsthalle Steiermark (Graz, AT). From 2015 to 2018 she worked as assistant and from 2018 to 2020 as curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. There she presented various exhibitions such as solo shows by Anna Daučíková, Kris Lemsalu and Evelyn Taocheng Wang. In collaboration with Maurin Dietrich, Mayer established a new performance programme especially for KW as part of the “Pogo Bar” project. In addition to her work as a curator, Mayer regularly teaches courses and seminars at the UdK among others and is currently editing two books which will be published by Sternberg Press.

The exhibition is accompanied by an educational program for schools and groups. Tours and educational programs in English, Estonian and Russian will be held on the virtual exhibition platform via Zoom. Please contact publik@kunstihoone.ee for bookings and more info.

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