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'Uncharted', Group Show at Hoib gallery, Tallinn

Jan Zalasiewicz asks in his book “The Earth after Us: What Legacy Will Humans Leave in the Rocks?” (2008): what is the legacy of humanity and the anthropocene, if anything at all? Driven by the ideal of constant growth and development born out of the Industrial Revolution, society at large and the art world more specifically have become a predatory battlefield, where speed, functionality and profitability have become the primary currency. In order to obtain these goals, people are willing to destroy the environment as well as our own and other species. Tendencies that do not produce never- ending growth, such as relationships, mental health, myths and small magic everyday moments that broaden the human experience and make us more sensitive towards our surroundings have been fading into the background. 

The installations and sculptures in the show could aesthetically originate from a time before the western man decided that the world is theirs to dominate, control, standardise, develop and perfect. These installations hide thematic layers such as feelings, myths and fairytales, sensuality, fantasy, fear, hope and nature. These works step beyond the logic of the art world that does not allow for sensitivity, intuition, sincerity, naiveté, irrationality and fantasy. Instead, it often provokes anxiety, competition and the fear of loss. Works by Slama, Delong, Sova and Naulainen do not evoke nostalgia for a lost past, as the show creates a space that has never existed before. It is also not a vision of a perfect future. The artists focus on the present (time), however, instead of triumphing technology and rationality, they highlight themes that in today's world have faded into the background, such as the potential of sincerity and fantasy in the everyday. 

It is not merely a child-like fairytale world but a possibility to look at the past with a critical eye and ask how certain social norms or artistic canons have taken shape and what has been purposefully left out. These artists are critical thinkers for whom magic, sincerity and irrationality are a method of creating art and a way to tackle various issues, as their work is not driven by the mere desire for artistic expression. Anna Slama, Marek Delong, Pire Sova and Ando Naulainen create work that makes the viewer hopeful that in addition to the devastating consequences of the climate catastrophe and ignorance, the cyborg anthropologists of the future (if there are any) will also find that the humanity's legacy includes the ability to tell stories and dream as well as lead a sincere, collective and spiritual life. 

"Uncharted” offers a shifted view on the present and dreams of an alternative society, where beings other than humans would also have a worthy place. Through a shifted gaze on the present and into the future after the anthropocene era, we can learn from our mistakes already now without having to wait for the explosive end offering no return. 

2.6.21 — 3.7.21

Anna Slama and Marek Delong, Pire Sova and Ando Naulainen

Hoib

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