Creativity comes naturally to Siim-Tanel Annus, being seemingly the only possible form of existence for him. ‘These days, process is the most important part to me. After all, making grand art or being a complex artist is not the real purpose. I enjoy the process of creating. When one work is done, I immediately begin another one as I want to experience that process, that energy, again,’ remarks Siim while drinking coffee at the gallery.
One can keep on talking to Siim about art, the artist himself, his scandalous performances in the 1980s and his current paintings but Siim wants to define where he is today and what has become important to him as an artist. ‘Process, process,’ he repeats. Goodhearted humour is innate to him. Conversations about art are not difficult with the artist but straightforward, laced with a bit of goodnatured self-irony. However, as a creator, he goes deep, seeking perfection.
The paintings and photographs presented at the exhibition originate from Siim’s latest creative period. Textured, coincidental and patterned canvases, blown-up micro worlds — Siim’s paintings are actually simple, as the artist himself emphasises. Annus is fascinated by the recurring patterns of nature, noting structural similarities between a tree and the microscopic scale of a leaf. Although it may appear so at first, this is not a complex philosophy but simply the artist’s understanding of our world.
The photo series looks back on Siim’s work, touching upon the symbolism of power and control. In these photographs, the artist holds a burning staff which seems to originate from the infinite and cosmic vastness of space, extending into the hand of the artist as an all-powerful tool. In his own words, Siim sees the artist as an intermediary via whom the art is created. His task is to observe the world that surrounds him — go along with the currents of wind and water and take in all the lines and colours of nature, transferring them onto the canvas.
Text: Piia Ausman, Haus Gallery
Siim-Tanel Annus (born 1960) is a painter, performance artist and printmaker who earned his place in art history already in the 1980s with his boundary pushing performances. He trained at the studio of the artist Tõnis Vint from 1974 to 1978 and in 1978-84, studied art history at the University of Tartu. Additionally, in 1989, he studied printmaking at the Estonian Academy of Arts. The artist has held exhibitions all over the world out of which he deems representing Estonia at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997 and earning the grand prix at the Nanjing International Arts Festival in 2015 as his most significant accomplishments.