Exhibition > Past > SEB Gallery

SEB Gallery 04.12.2002-10.01.2003



Mall Nukke is one of the most known contemporary artists in Estonia. Current exhibition explores Estonia and Estonians.

Mall Nukke (1964) had a forceful introduction of her creation in the beginning of the 1990ies, when she commented on and played with the emerging pop culture. Her collages of that period glued together all possible types of cultural texts and created playfully new \"madonnas\" and pseudo stars. Attractive and chique - noted the critics then.


About three years ago a certain turn took place in Nukke\'s creation. Nukke is still the DJ in the disc jockey\'s stand of the human history, mixing together different periods, meanings, figures. We still see in her works subtle irony and a tender smile, the Heimlich manoeuvre with history (which is commonly known as pressing the stomach of a person choking so that the trachea is cleared from a piece of food blocking it) and big stars. Turn, having taken place in Nukke\'s creation, is at the first glance naturally reflected in the form: the artist has taken to use the structure, build-up, way of painting and accessories that are characteristic to the old Russian icons. By testing different possibilities she has covered the surface of the \"pop icons\" also with a lacquer layer, resembling cracking and by slightly gilding the works has given them a somewhat sacred and intact appearance. Still one should not think as if the use of icons means taunting of or laughing at the religion. Nukke\'s works are too elegant for that. By quoting the formal solution of icons, but by giving new, modern vibrations to their world of meaning, Nukke\'s works become ironic not towards icons, but the \"crazyness\" of the modern world.


Mall Nukke\'s exhibitions have been exposed in Riga, Moscow and the Ukraine. Still it immediately catches the eye that the artist\'s works do not try to be so much global than multi-cultural (i.e. mixing different cultural contexts), proceeding simultaneously from Estonia and modern mythologies which have emerged here. Just the so-called \"doing the Estonian thing\" that is slightly playful and even cheerful, is because of being so direct quite a new phenomenon in Nukke\'s creation. Nukke does not use the blue-black-white flags on the icons of her pictures so much as tricolours, marking the national feelings (and so her stitch has nothing to do with \"Estonia-mindedness\" as such), but as symbols that for Nukke seem to be outstandingly remarkable, meaningfully important or comical. These icons are not for bowing or viewing from the distance anymore. I want to have the possibility to pick things up and examine them at short distance, says Nukke. It is natural that as the first thing she picks up the context that determines most of all her social essence.

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