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Artist talk: Ilona Treiman

Ilona Treiman is a jewellery and metal artist and teacher, who uses different materials and techniques in her work, characterised by a sculptural approach. She has graduated from metalworking at the Estonian Academy of Arts (1984), is a member of the Estonian Artists Association, Ornamo Art and Design Finland and The Union of Finnish Art Associations. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, most notably at Limoges (1990, -92, -94), Cincinnati USA (1989, -91), Moscow and Tallinn (1985 -1990), Tokio (1992), Denmark, Beijing (2004) and Berlin (2005, -16), She has taken part of the nomadic exhibition Baltic and Nordic Jewellery Art (Denmark-Finland-Sweden, 1991) and the exhibition in Seoul South Korea (2011). She had a solo exhibition in the Art Museum of Hyvinkää (2012). In 2019, she received the Ede Kurrel prize of the The Estonian Association of Jewellery and Blacksmiths. Her works are part of the collection of the Estonian Museum of Applied Art And Design, Nordic Museum in Vaasa and private collections in France, USA, England, Finland, Denmark, Italy.

Ilona Treiman’s exhibition “Fire” was in the A-Gallery VAULT 28.05–29.06.2021.

The exhibition was part of the 8th Tallinn Applied Art Triennal satellite programme.

The artist talk was conducted by jewellery artist Marita Lumi, filmed and edited by Liina Lõõbas.

A-Gallery’s artist talks are supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

ARTIST TALKS

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FIRE

“The word “FIRE” has different meanings in estonian which allow for parallel readings to emerge. We have been moving forwards at such a fast pace that it felt like there was fire (tuli – fire) beneath our feet. Eventually, we had to (tuli – had to) stop and look for balance.

The importance of fire in the life and work of a metal artist is undeniable. In metal forging and casting, fire is powerfully dominant: fire represents passion, heat and enthusiasm while creating something new. It can represent both beginnings and endings. Strike while the iron is hot — capturing the right moment is crucial. Fire can be beautiful, magical, purifying, illuminating and warming, but at the same time it can be destructive. It is tricky to tame fire. In fact, a metal artist could even be called a fire juggler.

Annual, increasingly common wildfires have made the world rethink and look at the effects of climate change on our planet, see the change in flora and fauna. I add elements of nature to my work which will be part of the disappeared world in the future. When we see how vulnerable and fragile we are when fighting against the fire, our values change. How are we supposed to find the balance then? We know that all things break when great force is applied. This poses a Shakespearian question: to be or not to be? I consider and reflect the life path through the symbols hidden in the works and with the help of dialogue.

When we see how vulnerable and fragile we are when fighting against the fire, our values change. How are we supposed to find the balance then? We know that all things break when great force is applied. This poses a Shakespearian question: to be or not to be? I consider and reflect the life path through the symbols hidden in the works and with the help of dialogue.

In fire, there is a dialogue of opposites, collisions, movement through time, and balance. The world is like a double-edged sword: when one blade is of feather and the other of sharp steel, which one has more weight?” – Ilona Treiman

Ilona Treiman is a jewelry and metal artist and teacher, who uses different materials and techniques in her work, characterised by a sculptural approach. She has graduated from metalworking at the Estonian Academy of Arts (1984), is a member of the Estonian Artists Association, Ornamo Art and Design Finland and The Union of Finnish Art Associations. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, most notably at Limoges (1990, -92, -94), Cincinnati USA (1989, -91), Moscow and Tallinn (1985 -1990), Tokio (1992), Denmark, Beijing (2004) and Berlin (2005, -16), She has taken part of the nomadic exhibition Baltic and Nordic Jewelry Art (Denmark-Finland-Sweden, 1991) and the exhibition in Seoul South Korea (2011). She had a solo exhibition in the Art Museum of Hyvinkää (2012). In 2019, she received the Ede Kurrel prize of the The Estonian Association of Jewelry and Blacksmiths. Her works are part of the collection of the Estonian Museum of Applied Art And Design, Nordic Museum in Vaasa and private collections in France, USA, England, Finland, Denmark, Italy.

The exhibition is part of the 8th Tallinn Applied Art Triennal satellite programme.

The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

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ICE – SUFFICE

The central theme of the current exhibition is the Estonian homonym “jää” (“ice”). Ideas are wandering to the unknown just like moving along fragile ice through which transparent messages are being revealed.

– The thinner the ICE, the bigger the will to learn if it will endure the human weight
– The present moment is the time that will be never SUFFICE.

“In my work, I record moments, findings, vanishing elements, symbols, words, touches … into the fragile ice / resin while trying to create unique memories, pieces of jewellery and miniature sculpture. I experiment with material while uniting precious metals, pieces of feathers, crystals, seeds, plants, stones, fossils, horsehair, transparent resin that imitates ice. A unique tension but also harmony and balance will arise between various materials. I try to include both happiness and sadness, moments of bitterness, hours borrowed from tomorrow in my work; a new output is being born in a lifeless transparent material. Vanishing traces, signs and words are revived in exhibition pieces and enter into a dialogue with the audience. Through my artwork I contemplate on the situation of both eternity and present moment. Moments must be cherished the same way as precious metals; thus, the piece of jewellery that one wears every day is the biggest treasure. You are the one creating value. Oscar Wilde has stated that nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. A ring or a bracelet made out of familiar birch bark may acquire special meaning. My purpose is to awake emotions, values and conversation in people.
A human being is vain by nature – wearing jewellery gives us possibility to carry stories, thoughts, pieces of our past with us – all this give birth to new stories and impulses.
Already the ancient peoples have dressed up and decorated themselves that has given them unbelievable power. I also invite the guests of the exhibition to take a look at the past, the future and the vanishing things surrounding us – maybe these will be revived in some way and this will become a form of communication with the closed ones.
The vanishing ICE in the Arctic is a worrying fact that is changing geography, fauna and flora. Sometimes it seems that I attempt to record the last traces of things such as the ripe flower bud of a thistle or the white lightweight parts of feathers floating in the air. Let us catch the moments …
With the present exhibition I am therefore drawing the viewers’ attention to global issues such as climate change: melting of ICE and raising temperatures – how this will influence nature, currents of air, winds? There are more questions than answers at the moment. Changes have been enormous; but if we will raise our consciousness then perhaps we might move to the right direction with our actions.
And lastly: the one who changes with time will never become obsolete – even the fragile ice will carry them.

There must be ICE. No ICE will not SUFFICE …