Strangely Familiar – Alexander Janetzko and Anna Lehespalu

09.05.2024 — 04.08.2024

The exhibition is a unique collaboration between Anna Lehespalu, a photo artist from Tallinn, and Alexander Janetzko, a photographer from Brandenburg. Their works, a product of a winter residency program in Tallinn and Cottbus, offer a distinct perspective. Anna Lehespalu delved into the unknown city in southern Brandenburg, while Aleksander Janetzko explored the unfamiliar capital of Estonia. Both towns were captured through their lenses over a span of two weeks. 

One of the ways we adapt to foreign environments is by seeking familiarity. This provides a sense of security in new situations. Though characterised by November’s bleakness, greyness, and desolation, the artists’ initial perceptions of the unknown cities felt quite familiar. As they got to know the towns, the photographers had the opportunity to get closer and rely on each other. The unfamiliar and the familiar intertwined, adding new layers to their experience. The plan to bridge two cities through photography became a connection between two additional people. It’s fascinating to see how these ‘fresh observers’ discover a new space for themselves in limited time and circumstances, and as interpersonal trust grows, they develop both as creators and individuals.

At the exhibition, you’re invited to immerse yourself in the unique visual language of both artists and explore their common points of contact. You’ll also have the opportunity to be a part of the creative process and witness more intimate moments related to their self-development and communication. Technically, both photographers love shooting on film, which adds a sensibility and unexpected charm unique to analogue photography.

We hope the visitor will also see and feel this special connection and poetry between the two cities and the photographers who portrayed them. See this exhibition as a journey into the unknown, where you can always find something familiar and see an opportunity to grow. As curators, we thank the artists for their trust and human contact!

The residency and exhibition are part of the “German Spring 2024” program and were born in cooperation with the Juhan Kuus Documentary Photo Centre, the Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst and the Goethe-Institut in Estonia.

Exhibition curators and artists: Kristel Laur & Toomas Järvet

Exhibition is additionally supported by: Telliskivi Loomelinnak, Eesti Kultuurkapital, Taevas Ogilvy, Hektor Container Hotell, Tikkurila, Ajar Stuudio, Pakendi

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