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Lots of water and little gold

Erle Nemvalts 20.09–22.10.2018

LOTS OF WATER AND LITTLE GOLD is a reflection on time and timelessness. The exhibition focuses on three themes that seem different at first glance, yet are connected to each other – the forest, evanescence and symbols.

All three phenomena meet in the ancient South-Estonian funeral traditions, part of which involves cutting a cross in a living tree. Cutting this cross is an expression of respect to the deceased as well as a diversion of magic – the soul is shut into the tree so that the deceased can find peace and will not visit the homes of the living.

People respect and fear the forest like they respect and fear the dead. The forest is an unknown place where danger lurks. However, one of the most ancient worldviews is the tree of the world as the source of life and rebirth. The latter can also be considered one of the beginnings of the cross, as it divides the world vertically into parts: higher beings, mere mortals and the dead, and horizontally into four cardinal points.

The exhibition studies the connections between these three themes as well as their background, and thinks about the changes in people’s attitudes towards their surroundings over time. Since some views of life have changed radically, each piece at the exhibition symbolises social phenomena that, in the author’s opinion, have changed so much over time, there isn’t much ‘gold’ left in them.