Reeli Kõiv, curator of the exhibition:
Tiina Sarapu’s exhibition is her personal look into the recent history of Estonian agriculture. Her parents and her brother are still farmers in the roundabouts of Pärnu keeping in working order an old mill and a grain dryer from the Soviet period. With her work Tiina Sarapu raises that thematic range higher above the everyday sphere in her aesthetically extraordinary subtle way, glorifying the beauty of simple and practical toil.
How to tell the story of agriculture through the glass art? In what way to visualize the feeling of security created by the cyclic seeding and harvesting grain, the substantial eternity of getting bread on your table in a traditional way; how to share the frail fragments of memory, the poetics of dear places and modes of living with the visitor?
Tiina Sarapu uses the special qualities of glass – transparency, reflectiveness, fragility – to forward her message, expressing it through an installation filling the whole room. On a long dark surface as if on a freshly ploughed field multilayered objects are standing. Photos, texts, and drawings engraved and sandblasted on glass panels bended in a hot kiln tell us the agricultural history of the artist’s family. There is a handwritten page of mother’s field book and the recipe of baking bread told by her, the road to and the interior of the mill, its corn bunkers and transporters; in some works golden grain gushes out of the harvester tube, on another grandma’s loaves of bread are ready for baking.
In the layers of the glass sheets the cultural layers of memory, stratified periods of time seem to have become material. Different pictures are combined together and are at the same time separate, transparent, seen through one another, reflecting one another – they are there simultaneously for the visitor and as the memorial pictures of the artist. At the same time the movement of light can change the image and something seen in a momentary flash of light vanishes into inexistence the next moment.
The exhibition took place at the Estonian Agricultural Museum, 17.02–19.08.2017