Tiina Käesel in the book “A-galerii. Eesti autoriehte galerii 20 aastat” (2014)*
* “A-Gallery. Estonian art jewellery gallery for 20 years”
Behind this presentable historical security door probably the smallest known gallery started exhibition activities in May 2005. This is a narrow and high metal case, where creation of exposition possibilities was not easy and what still makes artists think about exposition as the key part of their exhibitions. The first exhibition was “Granaat” (Grenade/Garnet), which name included a hint to small charge that would cause creative explosions and introduce garnet as a jewellery stone through a small available selection of jewellery with garnets. Exhibition activities continued just like in the former rooms of A-Gallery, through development and changes. 12–13 exhibitions were held annually, mainly basing on the following model: request of the participant and confirmation of the Management Board of the private limited company, whereby the Board has also proposed exhibitions with targeted invitation, joint thematic exhibitions, anniversary exhibitions.
A positive quality of safe exhibitions has been openness – they are open for young self-conscious radicals, shy beginners, jubilarians carrying long traditions, foreign guests, presenters of strong concept or creators offering a variety selection. These exhibitions have provided a constructive artistic dimensions to the commercial side of A-Gallery (this should not be taken as a shame, taking account of the current trend promoting creative industries), small art educational excursion for the purchasers, larger audience than usual for the artists and, last not least, the possibility to align routine activities to more festive events. In the exhibition also serial jewellery, the technique or material used by the artist will get a different position, more important meaning, depending on the context.
Throughout the years there have been much changes in the content and form of exhibitions, but certain generalising classification can still be made. Project-based exhibitions have been added to the process-based exhibitions proceeding from a person and creative path. First, the obligatory genre or anniversary exhibitions, carriers of jewellery traditions. Older jubilarians do not take sharp risks in their style and techniquess – this is rather a demonstration of skills and creation, which we could store in our memory. For example the memorial exhibition of Ede Kurrel “Silver Threads and Gossamers” in 2005, Õie Kütt “Beauty in Time” in 2008, the exhibition for celebration of 90th birthday of Arseni Mölder in 2009, which was special with very old works and designs and unfortunately remained his last exhibitions, Aino Kapsta “Filigree feeling” in 2010, Ive-Maria Köögard “Our Daily Bread” in 2012. Other memorable events have been reuse of old techniques by Harvi Varkki, 2006 exhibition “Family A+M+MM” by Adolfas Saulis in 2006, Andrei Balashov “Sonnet XII” in 2009, Ulvi Haagensen “Pantry” in 2008, Mari Pärtelpoeg “Pillow Thoughts” in 2009, Anneli Tammik “Des Menages” in 2010, Ülle Kõuts “Water” in 2011, Leida Ilo “Soul Boats” in 2013, Maarja Niinemägi and Maret Sarapu “Waters” in 2013 and many others. It is easy to start the list, but much more difficult to stop – over a hundred exhibitions, several authors have recurred, therefore nobody should feel hurt.
Every exhibition is important for an artist and every artist knows, why the exhibition has been planned. Where are you moving? What are you showing? And all more urgently – how do you show? While in theatre black box is a room allowing most experiments, the exhibition space functioning with a principle of a white box actually also allows endless transformations; own space has been created in rather total form and basing on various aesthetics by Katrin Amos with “Drawers” in 2008, Kaire Rannik with “Inonobus Obliquus” in 2010, KAM with “Cowberries in the Heath” in 2012, the group Otse! with “Concrete Time” in 2011 and the group Urmas-Ott (Urmas Lüüs and Hans-Otto Ojaste) with “Shelter” in 2012 and “Waste of Time” in 2014.
As already said, every exhibition is an important milestone in the biography of an artist; Safe exhibitions form an essential part in the biography of A-Gallery. There is nothing to be ashamed of – this is a part of contemporary jewellery, part of Estonian art life. Good luck!
Since 2007 colleagues have selected also the Exhibition of the Year in the gallery. Here is the list of these exhibitions:
2007 – Katrin Veegen, “näitus”
2008 – Katrin Amos, “Drawers”
2009 – Maria Valdma, “Dust”
2010 – Kaire Rannik, “Inonotus Obliquus”
2011 – Ülle Kõuts, “Water”
2012 – Urmas-Ott, “Shelter”
2013 – Leida Ilo, “Soul Boats”