Siim Preiman

Curator's foreword

Whether the world was born in six days as the result of the work of God or from nothing and everything in a great cosmic explosion, first there was blinding light and only then came everything else. It is very much possible to live without sight, but life as such would not exist without light. Through long chains of exchanges, the sunlight that warms the Earth becomes the air we breathe, the food that fills our stomachs and the fire in our hearths. Stretching our imagination, we could even say that everything we encounter in life is, in a way, a distant nuance of this primordial light of creation.

About 90 per cent of the information we receive is visual. Even though the whole space around us is also available to us for touching, hearing and smelling when close our eyes, the light alternately reflects and absorbs in space, giving colour to the objects and depth to our gaze that reaches the horizon. For thousands of years, humanity has been transmitting information at the speed of light. Indeed, the beacon has meanwhile been replaced by an optic cable, and the amount, complexity and distances of transmitting the information have increased insanely, yet the light is still the same.

Light, colours born from it and the shadow that counterbalances them is also the common denominator in the work of the two seemingly different artists in this exhibition. They are brought together primarily by the curator’s intuition and his ongoing interest in the current and historical points of contact in painting and photography. It is a game and a competition at the same time, depending on the way you look at it. Both artists were free to work on topics and motifs that are currently of interest to them, so this is an exhibition where two seemingly opposite artists walk side by side for a brief moment in time. Nevertheless, the works begin to influence each other in the gallery; they reflect from one other and build bridges of meanings, sometimes highly specific and sometimes barely perceptible.

The installations that recreate Kristi Kongi’s personal encounters and observations in a painterly manner often fill the entire exhibition room with colour. Thus, one event in space and time is translated into another by the artist. With her installations it is unclear whether the paintings refuse to stay on canvases or whether the surrounding space invades the paintings. As an artwork, a single part is equal to the immersive whole. Everything is somewhere in between; we are in front of and inside the work at the same time. Typically of a contemporary painter, Kongi has subjectively explored colours and studied the material and conceptual background of painting during her career so far. In doing so, she moved away from direct figurative representation for quite some time. By now, she has already reached the extreme state, turned around and is currently on her way back to representation. Doing this entirely on her own terms, of course.

In a bird’s eye view, Krista Mölder connects times and moments which, presented together, do not reveal their initial separation in any way. Only the select few are fortunate enough to know that photographs presented in complete series in some of her exhibitions might be taken several years and thousands of kilometres apart. And what should those lucky ones do with this knowledge anyway? For some time now, Mölder’s creative motivation has been characterised by the desire to fly or float – in short, to be lightweight. Envious and compassionate at the same time, she has captured butterflies, birds and planes that have lost their ability to fly. Unlike Kongi, Mölder is on a consistent journey from figurativeness to abstraction. Over time, the relatively detailed everyday occurrences and random figures have been refined to narrower frames. It is difficult to imagine where, and how exactly, the space will continue around the things depicted by Mölder.

Thus, we can still talk about a moment of equilibrium in this exhibition, a meeting of creative movements in different directions, where the level of generalisation of both artists has reached a state comparable to each other. And like all living beings, these visual artists and particular addicts of light are always tied to the rhythm of the day, the appearance and disappearance of sunlight and the everlasting game of the tangible world appearing and disappearing. And if you really need to formally simplify things, then yes, one of them represents the colour spectrum that branches out from white light (not only, of course!), whereas the other prefers the monochrome shades of twilight (not fully, of course!), but even when they join forces, they do not represent all shades of light.