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DIALOGUES OF LONGING

Ketli Tiitsar, Flora Vagi 02.09–03.10.2022

We welcome everyone to A-Gallery on Thursday September 15 at 6 p.m, to an artist talk, where Ketli Tiitsar and Flora Vagi will talk with journalist and metal artist Urmas Lüüs about their exhibition, collaboration and creative path.

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Dear Flora,

How have you been doing? It’s been a long time since we talked to each other. My family’s in Hungary now, but I stayed to work here. I miss them. I’ve been over the head involved with my work at the museum and there has been a significant gap since I managed to finish something in the studio. Luckily my holidays just started, giving me this very needed time. My exhibition still is centered around the same themes I outlined to Koru – the textiles I found among the logs at my countryside house, if you remember. I spent some time in the countryside with my dog and enjoyed doing stuff around the place. I find working with these personal layers of history relaxing and humbling. The old house is crawling deeper under my skin and making me think about the past.

And then on my way to pick up my mum to take her to the countryside for the weekend, my car broke down and I had to stay in Kiviõli, in the house that belonged to my late grandfather and his wife, who was like a grandmother to us. I’m glad it didn’t break down in Southern Estonia. It took three days to get it fixed. I got to spend that time with someone I love and rediscovering the little mining town. Have I told you that my grandfather was a skilled craftsman? All the houses in the town reflect the locals’ resourcefulness with materials and their ability to make something out of nothing. Talk about a journey through time! It was so inspiring.

They fixed my car though and I got back to my work in the countryside. But there’s just no reception here. I’ll be coming to town soon, then we can put our materials together.

I really hope you had a lovely vacation with your family and that you’ll be able to have some studio time you missed so much. I’m really excited about the exhibition, and I can’t wait to have a glass of wine with you here in Tallinn!

Call you soon!
Ketli

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Dear Ketli,

So nice to hear from you! The passing of time doesn’t seem to be an influencing factor, I always enjoy our conversations over the phone about jewellery, our lives and our worlds. We never seem to run out of topics to talk about, and despite the geographical distance between us, we never seem to be that far from each other.

We had a short holiday, but still had too many things on my mind to truly enjoy it. To my mind, a holiday only properly starts when the head is completely distracted from the mundane things and duties that keep chasing us during our daily lives and daytime jobs. I wish I had more time.

However these things also give us the framework and perspective to create things, and I guess that’s something that keeps one’s mind safe.

I’m so looking forward to the Tallinn exhibition. It’s been a long time since I was last there that it almost feels like it was another life of another person! Rather strange to think that I was still a student studying in Italy and that Manfred Bischoff and Kadri Mälk gave workshops to our groups at the Estonian Academy of Arts and Estonian students took us out and showed us so many interesting places. But the city certainly stayed in my memory as a place where one can quickly feel at home.

It is so nice to read about your childhood memories and to imagine the places and objects that bring those memories back to you. It’s like reading a book and immersing yourself into its yellowing pages. I can almost feel and smell the history and how time has stood still in these old houses in the countryside.

I very much look forward to having those glasses of wine in your company, but for now let’s get back to work!

Keep in touch!
Flora

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Everyone is familiar with the sense of longing. It is something that is constantly felt. Longing is often associated with melancholy, nostalgia, loneliness, heartache and even weakness. We long for something unattainable, but sometimes this reflects the fact that we are absorbed in our thoughts, through which we become closer to ourselves and thus to others. While talking to each other, we noticed that longing can also be something recognisable, connecting, tangible, material and fragmented which is accompanied by an overwhelming longing for time.

We met in Budapest in 2014 and have been talking, meeting and having long chats on the phone ever since. Our conversations cover a wide range of topics. We talk about everyday matters, our preferred materials, teaching, family and each other’s skills and practices. I’m not quite sure if it is due to the distance, but our conversations always have a sense of longing to them. That is where the idea for the exhibition came from.

The central subject of Flora Vagi’s creations is wood, which is the basis for most of her works. Layers of surfaces and colours lead her to discoveries which are surprising or even fascinating, but mostly make you wonder and search for a personal connection. This time she is presenting works which focus on longing for something familiar. She makes more use of shapes that might be familiar to viewers than before. Certain life stages, where one thing ends and another begins, are linked to these images. The metamorphosis that butterflies, moths and flowers undergo is the most striking and intense phenomenon in visual terms, but their intellectual and spiritual meaning is also strongly represented in literature and philosophy. Time and light are the key elements of discovering details which lead the viewer to the abstraction of reality and to the entrance to the immaterial world. Flora Vagi is a Hungarian artist who has studied in Mexico, Italy and the United Kingdom. Her work has been widely exhibited in Europe and beyond. Her work has also reached the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

In her work, Ketli Tiitsar uses wood with personal significance, mostly from fruit trees grown in the gardens of her relatives which have outlived their usefulness. She is interested in showing our connection with the past through materials to highlight what we remember, what we decide to remember and what we imagine. The materials in this series originate from the walls and doors of a summer cottage which she inherited a few years ago. The cottage has been in her family for over 100 years. While cleaning it up during the pandemic, she discovered strips of dusty textiles used as insulation between timber beams. Tearing them out revealed colourful traces of the past. The different types of textiles, such as wool, cotton, flannel and silk, all seemed grey at first, but after washing and ironing it turned out that their colours and textures had remained exactly the same as when they were last used as clothes. Ketli Tiitsar is an Estonian artist who, in addition to graduating with a degree in jewellery from the Estonian Academy of Arts, has studied at the Oslo College of Art and Design in Norway and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands. Her work has been exhibited in many European countries and is to be found in art collections in Estonia, Sweden, Lithuania and Norway.