Curator's foreword

Her legs, an egg, her toil(e) and blankets

Her legs, an egg, her toil(e) and blankets is a poetic exploration centred around the idea of material as a source of inspiration for storytelling. The exhibition views material as a carrier of imagination and memory and looks at the eclectic permutations that occur within the process of reconstructing the past either for archival purposes or envisioning futures. When we think about material such as textile, for example, in the flow of historical time, it is fragile, especially if not properly cared for or archived. That, sometimes, makes it difficult to keep the matter and the meaning attached to one another and the material cultures of the past become difficult to read.

However, instead of letting that confuse them, the artists included in this exhibition take a playful approach, making material into stories and stories into material. Rather than focusing on how material fades in time and clinging to its traces, the artists bring it back with abundance, filling in the blanks as they see fit. Acting as self-appointed historians and archaeologists, they often use humour, grotesque and excess to make sense of how material is shaped both by human activity and in time by elements.

Although coming from different backgrounds, all artists work with textile in one way or another, a material closely tied to the human body. Textile is shaped after bodies and for bodies, and its decay reminds us of the decay of the body as well. Instead of treating it as a source of grief, however, they view time in a more circular manner and, in some ways, work against rationality. In addition to textile, the artists also use text, sound and performance to evoke the passing of time. Furthermore, rather than keeping the bodies of the past from wandering, they are very much encouraged to do so – to spin, perform, read, sing, work, leave traces, enjoy their freedom and be seen.

Bringing in diverse references to the history of industrial textile production, the aesthetics of Neo-Baroque, bog bodies, queer histories and pondering material accumulation and decay, Her legs, an egg, her toil(e) and blankets can be viewed as a little collection of pasts that may or may not have happened. The material representations of these possibly imagined pasts, however, become vessels for storytelling and connecting these to the present moment.

Artists: Mónica Mays, Netti Nüganen, Heinrich Sepp (in collaboration with Mikk Madisson and Sorcerer Sourcing), Johanna Ulfsak

Curator: Keiu Krikmann