Merike Estna at Galeria Karen Huber / Mexico City

Merike Estna / Mother of Pearls

16 May – 5 July, 2019

Galería Karen Huber
Av. Bucareli #120
Col. Juárez, CDMX

“A painted surface
is a real, living form”.
– Kazimir Malevich

The central thesis of Merike Estna’s work (Estonia, 1980) is to imagine
Painting as a living element beyond its formal and creative expression, or
as a visual and historical archive. As direct as powerful, the artist
defines “Performative Painting” as a dynamic entity, a common territory
in which societies carry out their simplest collective rituals; a space for
reflection, spirituality and meditation; and a complex system of layers of
materials that are capable of generating the deepest and most intimate
emotions in those who experience them. In Mother of Pearls, the
nacre, an organic and iridescent material where the pearls are born, is
used to continue with her extensive research on the expanded field of
painting. This new body of work that was made in the last two years, asks
us to understand this medium as a dynamic, utilitarian resource and creator
of contexts and physical situations that address the autobiographical, the
mythological, the social, and the political.
Within the disarticulation of classical painting strategy, the artist makes
use of other materials related to different media such as ceramics or even
less orthodox ingredients like beeswax., Stick from the Woods,
hints from the Hood
 is a group of nine beeswax candles that light
a space that has been transformed to resemble a church producing a moment
of reflection on the role played by bees in the environmental balance and
its constant danger of extinction. The metamorphosis of space is
complemented by two stained glass windows, History of Broken Glass and Loss, that
carefully lit the darken space and whose reference lies in the symbolic
importance of the sites destined for spiritual meditation and its deep
relationship with artistic representations.
Estna definitively erases the canons that have differentiated the art of
craftsmanship by producing objects that can be used for other purposes more
relevant than mere admiration. Kneeling banana/angel / flew over my
head / on the 7th floor / above the seabed
 is a performative
painting made explicitly to be used as a picnic mat. On the one hand, the
artist manages to disarm the nature of the pictorial medium by changing her
use of the contemplative to the utilitarian. At the same time, different
social and cultural rituals are formulated that emerge in these scenarios
when shown in different parts of the world. Furthermore, the paint layers,
and therefore their production technique, build a dream scenario and
generate a series of additional readings on the nine easel paintings and
vessels that complement the main room.
The work of the artist is transcendental to underpin the correspondence
between the performance and the pictorial medium. Daily
is a set of dozens of paintings made in 2018, one per
day, that testifies Estna’s intimate relationship with the medium and the
work required to produce it. While each of these pieces tell an independent
story with their own characters, styles and plots, together they become a
vast compendium of colors, textures, materials and themes that complement
the practice of abstract painting and take it to new frontiers.
The relationship between painting and performance is essential to
understand the professional production of Merike Estna. This symbiosis
acquires a new meaning when exposed in Mexico, where the pictorial medium
has been put aside in favor of techniques linked to international
conceptualism. Mother of Pearls, proposes a space for dialogue
and reflection for generations of artists on the new limits of the medium
and its ability to generate a social impact.

Alberto Ríos de la Rosa

Project Manager: Evelyn
Produced with the help of Art Allmägi, Heldur Lassi, Mario Corona
Artist wants to thank: Karen Huber, Andrea Bustillos, Martin Melioranski,
Maria Arusoo,  Riinu Rahuoja, Aime ja Priit Estna
Supported by: Estonian Ministry of Culture and Estonian Cultural
exhibition is accompanied with a public program of Hang Outs.
On the occasion of Mother of Pearls exhibition
by Merike Estna, this series has the objective of generating a dialogue about
the production, spread, study and exhibition of the pictorial medium in the
contemporary art industry in Mexico and its possible interactions with other
manifestations abroad.

Each session is composed of two special guests moderated by the curator of the
exhibition who present a case study to then frame Estna’s work. The sessions
will be held on Thursday 6, 13, June 27 and July 4 from 6- 8pm in the
gallery and taking place on top of the the painting ‘Kneeling banana/angel
/flew over my head /on the 7th floor /above the seabed’ of Estna. 

Session 1
6th of June
from 6pm -8pm
Invited artists: Allan
Villavicencio (FUEGO) and Christobal Gracia (Biquini Wax/ El Cuarto de
Production and promotion
in independent spaces: what is the role of painting within the collective
production that arises in the independent spaces in Mexico? The importance of
these spaces lies in how crucial they have become in the generation of new
creative proposals and in the professionalization of young artists.
Session 2
13th of June
from 6pm -8pm
Invited artists: Elsa
Louise Manceaux (France), Lucia Vidales (Mexico) and Ana Segovia (Mexico)
Individual production:
seen from the angle of the individual artist, the conversation aims to
highlight the currents and problems of approaching painting as a means of
expression in emerging artists.
Session 3
27th of June
from 6pm -8pm
with Octavio Avendano
Trujillo (independent curator) and Karen Huber (gallerist)
Diffusion and commercial
positioning: what are the challenges involved in the production, diffusion and
positioning of emerging painters from the point of view of the galleries? To
this end, Octavio Avendaño Trujillo, curator of the first exhibition of Merike
Estna and faithful promoter of young Mexican painters, will be invited to
dialogue with gallerist Karen Huber, whose project is closely related with this
Session 4
4th of July
from 6pm -8pm
with Paola Jasso
(Fundacion Casa Wabi) and Graciela Kasep (independent curator)
Exhibition and academy:
the curator of Fundación Casa Wabi Paola Jasso and independent curator Graciela
Kasep will be invited to discuss the processes, challenges and exits that
encompass the exhibition and study of the pictorial medium in Mexico based on a
case of study.
 (1980) lives
and works in Tallinn, Estonia. She has graduated from the Estonian Academy of
Arts with a Bachelor’s degree in painting and from the Goldsmiths College,
University of London, in 2009 with the Master’s degree in art practice. Her
performative work has been exhibited at Baltic Triennial 13, 
Give Up The Ghost, Tallinn; Kiasma Art Museum,
Performa 17 and Art in General, NYC; Chart,
Copenhagen and elsewhere. Her solo exhibitions have been exhibited at
Kunstraum, London; Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga; Kumu Art Museum,
Tallinn; Bosse & Baum Gallery, London; Karen Huber Gallery, Mexico City;
Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, Tallinn and others. She was awarded Konrad Mäe
prize, Estonia 2014 and has been an associate professor at the Estonian Academy
of Arts since 2017. She is represented by Temnikova & Kasela Gallery,
Tallinn and Karen Huber Gallery, Mexico City and is collaborating with Bosse
& Baum gallery, London. 

Currently she is preparing for group shows at
the Tallinn City Gallery, Estonia and KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia as well
as for a solo show at Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden.