Deep Digging – Art Accents from Estonia
By Martin Krusche

Europe is today as complex a story as a hundred years ago, when empires broke down. The Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia … the consequences of these events shake people and nations up to the present day.

Where politics, often with the weapons of nationalism, separate and hurt people, borders may nevertheless open again. Bu the borders in the heads of the people sometimes remain closed. Old resentments are acting. This Europe with the Slavonic and Moslem share of its identity has considerable difficulties to face up to a quiet self-confidence. Arrogance and misunderstanding mark the past century. But the present as well.

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Which positions may artists consider meaningful in this context? Artistic practice is not dedicated to daily politics. Apart from that, creative people sometimes find it obvious to intensively react with their means to such conditions. Not necessarily as a concrete intervention but rather in order to strengthen the general awareness and the public discourse.

Perhaps a bit in the sense of Anton Tschechov, who noted that he as an artist is not the medical doctor but the pain. Thus occasionally artists come together who have very personal experiences with the above mentioned cracks and fractures ... transcending cultural and language barriers in order to work out the connecting links, the common ground … by contrast.

The Croatian Vlado Franjevic this summer followed an invitation to Estonia. Franjevic was born in 1963 in Martinac (Croatia) and today, after many years in Switzerland, lives in the principality of Liechtenstein. In the Estonian Mooste, close to the Russian border, a "Guest Studio (MOGS)" with its "artist-in-residence-program" provides artistic accents. This year’s International Art-Symposium in the series "PostsovkhoZ" was dedicated to the subject of "isolation". 30 artists from ten countries worked on the subject; the curators were Evelyn Müürsepp und John Grzinich.

A few months before his arrival, Franjevic had asked a number of artists from various nations to contribute texts to the subject. On the one hand these contributions formed the basis of part of the activities in Mooste and on the other hand will be prepared for publication as a book. Apart from this, they are integrated into the art project "Junction".

Thus Frenjevic carries this work into various media spheres and moreover brings them into the interplay between virtual and real spaces. And apart from this into a connection with the symposium in Mooste which deals with this subject matter and where the old bonds of Europe were contrasted with the new demands of the continent; most of all in relation to the situation of the media and artistic practice and with glances to other territories. Thus Marcus Williamns from New Zealand reported on "Art Politics in an Island State", Maarja Löhmus reflected on "Media and Culture" in Estonia, and Andreas Kurg put up for discussion "Spatial separation, invisible barriers, moral (b)orders".

Franjevic devoted himself to the contemplation of "Liechtenstein – big possibilities for a small state" in order to switch during this symposium via the textual contributions he collected from the mental to a physical level.

In a forest in Mooste, overlooking the nearby lake, the artist dug a 70 cm wide canal, which winds in a spiral of five Meter in diameter up to a depth of ca. 1.70 Meter. On the surface Franjevic added an installation of wooden sticks, strings and candles. The work is documented in "The Crossing" on the internet. This land art-work was subsequently the focus of various activities. Thus Marcus Williams read a text by Jakob Kaplan from Tel Aviv, who was born in Estonia. Kaplan had reported already to the first phase of the project.

It suggests itself that Franjevic didn’t close the matter with the work in Estonia. On the one hand through formulating the theme, which demands a wider horizon and perseverance. On the other hand through aspects of what is meant by "art under web conditions". Net-work which simultaneously happens in real space and in "Cyberspace". Interaction of themes and acting persons.

Thus the Serbian Svetlana Volic together with the artist Peeter Krosmann realized in Mooste a fascinating connection between habitat and artistic installation – to later suddenly appear in the "Transit Zone" in Belgrade which again leads to "The Junction", to the "Beograd Track".

Thus ideas circulate, exchange is successful, teamwork increases … beyond the existing borders.

Translation by
Hans Georg Tuerstig

Deutsche Fassung
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Martin Krusche

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