Inviting Erki Kasemets and Camille Laurelli to make an exhibition together is one of those ideas that seems so natural in retrospect that you can’t even put your finger on the moment when it was born. The genuine and happy excitement that came with this realisation has still not waned. A three-way ping-pong of ideas has led to a labyrinth-like exhibition based on reuse and playfulness. Objects are extracted from each other’s treasuries: the material becomes art and art becomes the material; collections are compiled (are you surprised that both artists keep collections of keys and broken tools, among other things?), and the artists give each other futile tasks and misleading instructions.
The activities of both of them as artists (but why not also as citizens) could be interpreted using Michel de Certeau’s idea of tactics to resist prescribed patterns of consumption. This approach also resonates with the so-called everyday activism, i.e. changes in individual consumption, which I have written and talked about in the context of the exhibition series The Art of Being Good. Rather than finger-wagging and moralising, the exhibition deals with figurative issues, yet it is still performative and active in its own way, rather than static or passive.
In the case of Erki and Camille’s creative legacy, it is largely a collection of objects that, based on conventional logic, should have perished long ago, consisting of materials that many of us use only briefly. I think that it is necessary for each of us to cultivate a healthy level of playful defiance, even in the most insignificant situations!
Reflecting the work methods of Erki Kasemets and Camille Laurelli, especially collage and reuse, I have used the press releases and guide texts of the following exhibitions I have previously produced or curated at Tallinn Art Hall, unless stated otherwise:
Group exhibition Infinite Lives, curators Nicolas Audureau and Camille Laurelli, Tallinn City Gallery, 2016
Group exhibition Random Rapid Heartbeats, curator Kęstutis Kuizinas, Tallinn Art Hall, 2016
Ketli Tiitsar and Kristi Paap, Nature morte: Cherries and a Skeleton, Tallinn City Gallery, 2017
Mihkel Ilus, How Else Could I Put It, Hordaland Kunstsenter, 2018
Varvara & Mar, Chameleon, Tallinn City Gallery, 2019
Group exhibition The Art of Being Good, Tallinn Art Hall, 2019
Mihkel Ilus and Paul Kuimet, Endless Story, Tallinn Art Hall, 2020
Maria Valdma, Memory Palace, Tallinn City Gallery, 2021
Group exhibition, Wearing a Hundred Shirts, curators Sten Ojavee and Siim Preiman, Art Hall Gallery, 2021
Benjamin Badock and Kaido Ole, A Sparrow in the Hand, Art Hall Gallery, 2021
Kristi Kongi and Krista Mölder, … And Other Shades of Light, Tallinn Art Hall, 2021
Cloe Jancis, Wishing Well, Tallinn City Gallery, 2022
Group exhibition Immerse!, curators Corina L. Apostol and Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás, Tallinn Art Hall’s Lasnamäe Pavilion, 2023