04.12.2020 — 20.06.2021

This time we present the works from three artists who complement each other and create a special synergy. The selection of works on display tells a controversial and complex story in a language that is documentary but also poetic, chimerical but very physical. This exhibition presents the theme of war and peace in most diverse ways.

Emmanuel Tussore, the author of the project “Study for a Soap”, is an artist, a cameraman and a photographer. In recent years, he has explored in depth the issue of war and destruction through the lens of civilization and humanistic thought. The artist has chosen a very special medium for his artistic expression: the Aleppo soap. Out of Aleppo soap Tussore is carving the ruins of buildings and whole neighbourhoods that have been razed to the ground by bombings. One can see here a clear reference to the situation in Syria as well as the reflections of more universal concerns. Through this kind of natural and realistic expression, we find ourselves in the middle of homes in ruins and war trauma in a very unexpected way: soap as a symbol of a civilized man acquires an aura of raw destructive power instead. To understand how important is the role that the Aleppo soap plays in the lives of Syrians, it can be compared to the old tradition of Estonians stocking up on potatoes every autumn. Syrian families use to buy their annual supply of soap from the family’s favorite producer. Sadly, there are ten times fewer soap producers in Syria since the outbreak of war.

The sculptural ruins made of soap by Tussore enter into dialogue with shattered cityscapes on the images of St. Petersburg photographers Anton Ivanov and Alexander Vasilyev’s project “Wish us peace”. Black-and-white manually developed and magnified analogue photographs bring to us the war-torn life in Syria and the people who live there. The images focus is ordinary people’s daily life as they try to carry on despite the presence of war and danger. As many Syrians have been forced to leave their homes to find refuge and a new home somewhere else, this nation today is associated primarily with refugees and related issues. Thanks to the photo stories by Ivanov and Vasilyev, we have the opportunity to meet those who have decided to stay put  and to carry on with their lives in the country of immensely rich historical and architectural heritage, now in ruins.

Although our daily life here in Europe seems to be a world apart from life in Syria, on a deeper human level, we are all interconnected. With this exhibition, we share the intimate insights into the history of this region and its people.

Curators: Kristel Lau and Toomas Järvet

Assistant Curator: Liisa Kivimäe

Emmanuel Tussore assisted by: Ahmed Al-Sulaiman

Exhibition Partners: Cultural Endownment of Estonia, French Institute in Estonia, Telliskivi Creative City, Art of Foto Gallery, Joon, Taevas Ogilvy, Tikkurila Eesti, Ajar Stuudiod, Hektor Container Hotel

Acknowledgments: Killu Maidla, Aari Lemmik, Polina Ljaševa, Eric Bultel, Ulla Kihva, Ilmar Kurvits, Triinu Mölder, Kaspar Kaur, Jason Värk, Carl Eric Laanetee Reintamm, Consulate General of Estonia in Saint Petersburg

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