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Liina Siib. From series: A Woman Takes Little Space. 2008-2011

What is more, the kneading and baking of dough, with its hypnotic allure and sensuousness, reminds me of creating and forming a work of art. The second-to-last room will feature the 2007 video Averse Body, where I interviewed eleven prostitutes in Tallinn, asking them what they think about their body, whether or not they like it, how much attention they pay to it, how much they take care of it.

For this work, I was inspired by a quotation from the Polish playwright Jerzy Grotowski who said that prostitutes supposedly don’t like their bodies and disassociate themselves from it. That’s why I went out to ask them myself. A few admitted that they hate their body, but others like it very much. It’s not black and white; there is diversity. Just like with any other women. With this exhibit I tried to show that there is nothing unequivocal in reality. We can read or hear general opinions, but, when arriving at the site of the event, we must conclude that reality is more diverse.

In the video the interviews are anonymous; you can only hear the subjects talking, and one voice has even been altered upon request. The visual section will consist of material filmed over the course of two nights while driving in a taxi through the streets of Tallinn on a route of erotic services—bordellos and private apartments whose addresses were posted on the internet. The cab driver already knew the main locations. While we drove and filmed the streets, it was snowing. There will be eleven drawings along the walls of this room, where each of the interviewed prostitutes drew her favorite flower. Between the two video rooms there is a small bathroom – here one can hear a man singing in the shower. It is performed and recorded by Estonian philosopher and musician Roomet Jakapi. 

What does participation in the Venice Biennale mean to you? The fulfillment of an artist’s dream?

Yes, that could definitely be an artist’s dream. But as for myself—I had never thought before about participating or submitting works. This was the first time. I was working on the photo project about women (in Venice I’ll show just an individual series; the overall project is much more extensive) and had already begun several themes.

Then I thought that it would be good to go to Venice, because then I’d have to work more intensively and think about how to present the project. And I made it. I am incredibly happy that I was chosen. Now I feel that people are discussing my art work, and it’s much easier to work in these conditions than alone. There is communication, feedback, and precisely this makes me very, very happy.