Crystal Grid
Kogo Gallery / TARTU (Estonia)
05.08.2020 – 05.09.2020

The exhibition brings together the installation "Husa" by Mari-Leen Kiipli and series of photo collages "Crystal Grid" by Paul Kuimet. The installation by Mari-Leen, first created for Haapsalu City Gallery and exhibited in July fills the Kogo Gallery and expands to the yard of the Widget Factory. Series "Crystal Grid" by Paul Kuimet was first shown at the Tallinn Art Hall in Paul Kuimet's and Mihkel Ilus' exhibition "Endless Story" that was curated by Siim Preiman.
Mari-Leen Kiipli's installation "Husa" depicts a fantastic garden. It consists of car windows, bent armature, concrete, dripping water, second-hand jewellery, lace boots, Ensis shells, twining plants of Ipomoea genus, runner beans and raspberries. Mari-Leen describes her installation "Husa" as "a grove filled with thoughts, ideas and feelings as different poses, inspired by the lush urban and natural landscape. The installation creates a scene carried by night winds, emotional mazes, cars, building lots, flying insects and movement of plants." Mari-Leen seems to be interested in the connection of thoughts, ideas and feelings with the landscape and the spirit of different life forms.
The series "Crystal Grid" by Paul Kuimet consists of twelve photo collages combining photographs of tropical plants taken in the botanical gardens of Tallinn, Brussels, Glasgow, Brooklyn, Frankfurt and the Bronx. Kuimet uses the chemical magic of analogue photography to record the light conditions of greenhouses around the world. The artist has then cut the photos with a laser, following the structural pattern of the Crystal Palace's central transept. The Crystal Palace was built at Hyde Park in London for the Great Exhibition in 1851, and it was designed by Joseph Paxton, known as a gardener. It was the largest glass building of his time. To achieve a glassy surface on the collages, Paul has coated them with epoxy resin. As a result of this delicate and labour-intensive process, these works contain many associations, ideas and references to history and technology. Similar to his recent essay-film "Material Aspects" (2020), Kuimet's "Crystal Grid" relates to the history of modernist glass architecture from the Crystal Palace to the present day hinting at the metaphorical connections of glass architecture to global capitalism, social structures and modern life.
The dialogue between Paul Kuimet and Mari-Leen Kiipli that is developing in the exhibition at Kogo Gallery, includes thoughts about different connections and balances between humans, man-made environment and plant life. Buildings created for plants, plants that take over the neglected urban landscape, crumbling unused concrete, new houses and gardens, order, flow, fantasy, beauty, light. As did 19th-century architecture critic Richard Lucae see in the Crystal Palace the ethereality of the barriers between us and the landscape, the disappearance of boundaries between interior and exterior*, so does Mari-Leen Kiipli's work often convey the blurring of boundaries between human and nature, focusing on sensations and body awareness while being in a state of active and dynamic relation to one’s surrounding – the state that is perhaps best for the perception of art and the environment in general, as well as for any creative process, whether it takes place in a laboratory, studio or somewhere else.
*Richard Lucae: "As in a Crystal there is no longer any true interior or exterior. The barrier erected between us and the landscape is almost ethereal. If we imagine that air can be poured like a liquid, then it has, here, achieved a solid form, after the removal of the mould into which it was poured. We find ourselves within a cut-out segment of atmosphere. It is, in my opinion, extraordinarily difficult to arrive at a clear perception of the effect of form and scale in this incorporeal space." – A quote found by Paul Kuimet, which was used in the exhibition "Endless Story" by Paul Kuimet and Mihkel Ilus, curated by Siim Preiman in the Tallinn Art Hall. The digital guide and virtual tour of the show are available on the website of Tallinn Art Hall https://www.kunstihoone. ee.

All images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Kogo Gallery