Sirje Runge’s personal exhibition Old Venus is be accompanied by a display of works from the earlier creative period of female artists who are also contemporaries of Runge, under the common denominator Young Venus.
At the exhibition Sirje Runge will be presenting the digital print Old Venus, completed in 2017, whose lesser known counterpart, the lithographic self-portrait Still Life with Mirror, dates from 1979. The mirror, towards which the body of the artist is facing on the lithographic sheet, does not reflect the image of the woman gazing at it; instead, there are droplets falling on the surface of the water, with the continuously changing surface implying fugacity. The mirror image is not found in the 2017 work Old Venus; instead, there is nature and a woman, i.e. the artist resting on an iron bed, who seems to be fading into the deep space of the image. With this work, Runge is bridging the gap between her young and old self, symbolically weaving her life and creative works together. Here one can sense the deep and wise self-awareness of an old woman, which reminds the viewer that if the feeling is right, one must define one’s own being and not bow to conventions and practices coming from outside. Being human means a continuously changing and fragile relationship with one’s surroundings. It is therefore essential to be honest, and not be afraid, if necessary, to open oneself in complete nakedness to the world.
Also being displayed at the exhibition are large format oil paintings from Sirje Runge’s later creative period, from the series Architectural Structures and Shadows; works which are known for her gentle and sensitive play between light and shadow, with nearly imperceptible transitions of colour, the reception of which takes place through the eyes, perception and inner vibrations. To perceive the perceivable without explaining it, while at the same time knowing the truth hidden within – this is precisely a feminine ability. It is because of all of this that the topic of the exhibition is Old Venus as a woman that is mature in terms of her years and creativity, her heritage in enriching society, her sensitive wisdom and knowledge of the world.
As part of the exhibition Young Venus, creative works from the 1960s and 1970s, by female artists from Runge’s generation, will also be displayed. These works symbolise selected examples of the fertile period of blooming of female Estonian artists and the trends of the time. In this part of the exhibition, works by Sirje Runge, Malle Leis, Mari Roosvalt, Mare Vint, Aili Vint, Vive Tolli, Evi Tihemets, Tiiu Pallo-Vaik, and Naima Neidre will be displayed.
In addition to the dual exhibition, there is a long-term plan to start a fund which would support older creative women and their intellectual potential in society.