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Sight from exhibition Enough is Enough in Tallinn

Enough as a Point for Beginning 0

Maija Rudovska

The new space for the Tallinn gallery Temnikova & Kasela—a cross between the last names of art dealer Olga Temnikova and her supporter Indrek Kasela—were unveiled with a co-exhibit of works by Latvian artist Inga Meldere (1979) and the German-born Finnish artist Mikko Hintz (1974), Enough is Enough. In the exhibit, a dialogue is created between two powerful artists, who until recently were bound only by painting, yet a meeting in real life served as a reason to begin a “conversation” in the gallery space. This, of course, is a challenge to both sides—both for Inga, who is still a relatively young artist (though in the Latvian art scene she has already earned lots of accolades) and for Mikko, who isn’t particularly well known in the Baltics, yet is an established artist in Finland. Also because both of their painting styles can be dubbed sensitive and nuanced, based on very fragile layers, autonomous and self-sufficient in the peripheries of their inner, creative spaces. In the exhibit format as it appears in the gallery Temnikova & Kasela, it is interesting to see how the equal mental worlds of both artists intertwine; different painting school traditions encounter one another, as does the desire to challenge them wherever doubts and quests appear.

Mikko’s paintings could be described as small-format layerings of chromatic fields. For example, a painting in red or a painting in black (Une and Fu), which the artists himself calls landscapes. Other works consists of different color combinations, which are clearly separated from one another and are precise in their fields (for example, Mal, Fune, Tavs). On an emotional level, these works call to mind vintage objects, particularly from the 1960s and 70s, with a design of clear and “polished” forms that, slightly tarnished and covered with the patina of time, once again regain their value. Though these are only the initial associations of feelings, Mikko’s exposition is the intermediary that reveals technical nuances which are culpable in this flow of associations. Pigments and acrylics on a surface primed with chalk were used to create the works. Layers of colors are placed atop one another, yet this is revealed not by the surface of the painting, looking at it frontally, but rather the edge of the sides, on which you find drops and drips of paint. These draw attention to the multiplicity of layers beneath the topmost, most visible layer.

The angle from the side is the main thing in perceiving these works, because it indicates that here you’ll find not some particularly notable aesthetic qualities in the surface or its finish, but rather a conceptual proposition. The beginning and end points are important for Mikko. As he himself reveals, a beginning is full of desires and illusions, put in motion by imagination; yet as you attempt to strives for these imagined “figures,” you usually suffer one defeat after another. Mikko talks about a “process full of confusion and dissatisfaction, which leads you to an impasse”[1]. The main idea, the artist says, is a union between the joyful and the shadowy side of things, or the presence of the nice and pleasant in the unpleasant. >>

[1] Iliana Veinberga, press release for the exhibit Enough is enough