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Opening of the exhibition season

A-Gallery celebrates the beginning of a new programme season by opening three exhibitions on January the 14th!⁠

As the principal local exhibition space for jewellery, during the year 2022 A-Gallery will host 32 exhibitions, which will be shown in the gallery’s historical VAULT and on the WINDOWS that enrich the local public space.⁠

The start of the abundant exhibition programme will be celebrated in the evening of the 14th of January with the opening of the first exhibitions of the year.

In the VAULT the legendary jewellery artist Vaida Suits’ anniversary exhibition VAIDA SUITS 90 will be held, where Suits’ magnificent works from 1960’s to the year 1982 will be shown. The exhibition is open 14.01–08.02.2022. ⁠

WINDOWS will show Aino and Keesi Kapsta’s and Henry Mardisalu’s exhibition THREE STORIES, where three generations from one family will show their take on jewellery. Also on WINDOWS, Therese Mørch from Denmark and Helen Clara Hemsley from South Africa will show their exhibition TRACES IN TIME, where they research and give meaning to the everyday. The WINDOWS exhibitions are open 14.01–26.02.2022.⁠

The opening event of the exhibition season will take place in A-Gallery on Friday, January the 14th, at 18:00 o’clock. Entrance free, COVID-passport mandatory.⁠

Check out A-Gallery’s 2022 exhibition programme here.

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On Friday, January 14 at 18:00 exhibitions THREE STORIES and TRACES IN TIME will open on A-Gallery WINDOWS.

Aino Kapsta, Keesi Kapsta, Henry Mardisalu

THREE STORIES is about three generations of a family and their take on jewellery. The three artists’ three different stories are tightly interwoven and influential to each other.                                                                    

The main asset and inspiration of the Kapsta family is the esteemed Estonian jewellery artist Aino Kapsta, who’s work experience starts way back in the Soviet times. In the past couple of years Kapsta has mostly been working in filigree. Kapsta’s delicate and detailed filigree jewelry has won the hearts of many jewelry admirers. During her 60 years in art jewellery, Aino Kapsta’s work has travelled to London, Italy, Berlin, Moscow and Japan. This exhibition is the 12th time for Aino Kapsta to be showing in A-Gallery.

Aino Kapsta’s daughter Keesi Kapsta initially studied graphic design, but was also drawn to jewellery. Although having learned a lot from her mother, Keesi has developed her own independent form of free expression through the smelting technique.

The link between them is the third generation artist Henry Mardisalu, who works in the preparation of materials. According to him, the path of metal art was paved for him by the environment he was born into. His main favorite is the production of gold and silver chains. All the chains used in the jewellery of the Kapsta family are handmade by Henry. In recent years, he has also been fascinated by the sophistication of filigree techniques, which he has learned largely from his grandmother Aino Kapsta.               

Helen Clara Hemsley, Therese Mørch 

Therese and Helen’s collaborative project is called TRACES IN TIME. There is a display of exploration and the concept of the everyday in both of their works.

In essence, the title refers to both their artistic practices, and a shared fascination with documenting events in their lives – the things that matter to them, the seemingly mundane, and the big and small challenges they face as creators and in their private lives – through the medium of contemporary jewellery. The individual pieces work together and tell a united story – works that allow the viewer to investigate and form their own opinions, and contemplate their own lives and situations. 

The title TRACES IN TIME thus refers to a visual documentation of our lives and practices. Whether it’s about building up pieces with materials and objects collected over a period of over 30 years, constructing a kind of timeline of a life well lived. Or pieces depicting a growing family, representing tactile and metaphorical encounters, and gently allowing sensory perception in a materialised sense of belonging. 

With Helen’s work there is an odd sense of familiarity, but at the same time a perplexing feeling of not being completely sure why the objects or materials are so important, what they symbolise or where they come from. And then there is a feeling of sadness, and an almost desperate need to make things better again. All this happens over a long period of time, bearing witness to the joys and pain of teenage struggles, parents and parenthood, marriage, divorce and a constant desire to make, build and share.

With Therese’s work there is also a feeling of familiarity and the passing of time, and a beautiful fragility that draws the viewer in. Common to her series TRACES & TOUCHED is the sense of touch and tactility used as generators for creating contact. This may lead senses onto paths of proximity, intimacy, physicality, sentiment, totems, object relations and attachment. All are fragments of Therese’s on-going research in jewellery, which is often embodied in repetitive sculpt work, corporeal representation with reference to ritual and spiritual prayer jewellery.

“We both work with themes that appeal to human nature and experience, and are endlessly fascinated by the material intimacy and tactility of the works, which arouse curiosity and attention”.

Helen Clara Hemsley is originally from South Africa, but currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. Helen studied at Oxford Brookes University and the Institute for Precious Metals in Copenhagen and she holds a BA in Fine Art from the Glasgow School of Art. Her work has been exhibited, among other countries, in Denmark, China, Portugal, Australia, Germany and the US.

Therese Mørch is from Denmark and studied in London. She now lives and works in Copenhagen. Therese graduated from Cass School of art & Design and in Royal College of Art, both in London. Her work has been exhibited in Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, France, Germany and in the UK.

The exhibition is funded by the Danish Cultural Institute in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

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TIME, a celebration of the 85. birthday of the filigree-master Aino Kapsta, is an overview of her works created over the recent years.

“My exhibition is a cross-section of the ideas I have arrived at when working in my beloved filigree technique which has fascinated me for decades now. I have often found myself starting from the centre, then moving towards the edges – a process I have discovered to closely resemble making of mandalas. Into each element and detail I have laid good thoughts. Making this exhibition was a kind of therapy for me: I was deeply at peace and experienced the lightness of overwhelming joy.

The show includes three autonomous sets of works: brooches, pendants and neck pieces.

The brooches carry the initial vision of the show, the luminescence of clouds, while the pendants and neck pieces pushed the concept forward. Mostly, I chose to use semi-precious stones. Quartz with its brightness fits my vision perfectly, the powerful essence of garnets and the warmth of topaz is supported by gold spheres. I wish for the inner peace and harmony to radiate to the viewers through my work.”

Aino Kapsta was born in Saaremaa in 1935. She graduated from Kuressaare Secondary School and continued her studies at the State Art Institute. Although Kapsta’s first choice was sculpture, in 1961 she graduated from the Metal Department and in 1966 became a member of the Estonian Artists’ Association. It is probably thanks to her sculpture studies that she created several panels, fountains, decorative metal grids, clocks, and sculptures in Narva, Tartu, Moscow, Jurmala and Saaremaa, many of them in collaboration with Mai Mägi.

Even though Kapsta has always enjoyed experimenting with materials and techniques, due to circumstances brass, red copper, bronze, melchior, and new silver remained her favourite materials for a long time. A wide selection of these items belongs to the collection of Estonian Applied Art and Design Museum.

Freedom to use precious metals allowed for experimenting with new techniques. For example, melting numerous small details into various compositions, and of course, filigree technique, which is creatively extremely satisfying due to its complexity and abundant detail, while being simultaneously fragile and delicate, yet powerful and resilient.


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“I was born in 1935 in Saaremaa. In 1961 I graduated from SAIE with a degree in metal art and since then I have participated in exhibitions both at homeland and abroad. I have always enjoyed trying and experimenting with different materials and techniques. The memory of my youth has brought filigree technique back to my works, which, with its complexity and richness of detail, still offers creative satisfaction. And I feel that there are still many possibilities in this ancient technique. What has been done at this exhibition is calmer and more traditional than before ”. – Aino Kapsta