est eng 2024/1 international special pages! See: Nils Ohlsen "Konrad Mägi and Die Brücke at the Baltic Sea – just a coincidence or a phenomenon?"


Die Eisbrücke

Taavi Eelmaa (1/2024)

Taavi Eelmaa's interpretive journey at Urmas Lüüs' solo exhibition "Man! God Has Created You Out of Nothing, and This is Too Often Felt in Your Case".


Let me start by clarifying the vantage point from which I will begin to unravel my discourse. I will risk taking on the role of an enlightened viewer, an enthusiastic, empathetic art lover who does not shy away from a personal contribution when it comes to interpreting art. Who could stop me?

After all, anyone with enough reach, appreciation and initiative can assume this status within public space. This is a respectable status – every artist would desire such a viewer to visit their exhibition or performance. In a sense, for want of a better term, I am the "dream viewer". One whom the artist imagines while creating works but who, unfortunately, does not exist in reality because the demands placed on them are extremely high – in fact, too contradictory for one living person to fulfil. Symbolically, this viewer must bear witness to the artist's innermost secrets, even serve as the boatman on the journey across the River of Misinterpretation.

Looking at Urmas Lüüs' solo exhibition "Man! God Has Created You Out of Nothing, and This is Too Often Felt in Your Case" in my mind's eye, I would begin by recalling two aphorisms that, unlike the title of the exhibition, are not borrowed from the Estonian author Arvo Valton and instead belong to an equally titanic figure, Samuel Beckett. "Old stauncher! / You... remain", uttered in the finale of Beckett's "Endgame" (1957), and "fuck life / rock her off" in the finale of "Rockaby" (1981). Both plays deal with the final moments of life – the very end – in a completely deliberative, sensitive but not sentimental tone.

Seeking from Urmas Lüüs that art-brut sense of interconnection between things so characteristic of metal artists, I highly recommend paying close attention to his tools that have "begun to grow". First, imagine someone, why not yourself, waiting for your symbolic boatman at the end of your life. In a room with some objects, among which there exists a gnostic connection. And consider that as you die, or while waiting for the boatman, you slowly slip into an altered state of consciousness. I believe no one would deny that the process of dying is accompanied by a peculiar state of consciousness that helps the person split into two: matter and spirit. Something that will remain here and something that must undergo a complex ordeal to reach the other side safely.

If we imagine the spirit and the body as two lovers entwined, torn apart by death, which creeps up like a spider, then it makes perfect sense that all living matter should try to embrace the departing spirit. Objects stretch, faces blur and the artistic intricacies of images fade into the background as your final bed clings desperately, unwilling to release its grasp, and your last rocking chair enfolds you to its bosom with an anguished embrace.

With death, digestion is an external process, just like with spiders. They catch their prey, such as a fly, wrap it in threads and inject it with their gastric juice. Then they withdraw, waiting until the gastric juice has broken down the contents of the cocoon, and then pierce it with their mouthparts to suck in the sweet substance. Here, and also in those cemeteries in Europe where Urmas takes his walks, we see these empty shells. Decorated shells as a tribute to the departed. But the lover's anticipation always remains unbreakable; even years later, an unnamed feeling may awaken and compel one to look out the window, onto the empty road.

In the realm of the arts, the word "cliché" is often heard, and it often carries a certain taste of disdain. Personally, I have abandoned this attitude. As a novice analyst, I do not see clichés, but archetypes. Monotony, repetition, recurrence mean to me primarily the continuity of beauty and significance, not boredom. The essence from which the unnecessary has been removed. The refrain.

The repetition of dying, its clichéd nature, was also perceived by the prophet Zarathustra. When he was still a child, his family had to flee their home over an ice bridge that melted beneath their feet. Young Zarathustra had to discard everything that was a burden. And he did cast away everything except for one thing.

I have never wanted to know exactly what it was. Therefore, I have not delved into the Zend-Avesta to seek a solution. The deliberate ignorance I had built up led me eventually to a psychologically satisfying allegory – that one thing was his soul.

His soul, which was so light that Zarathustra kept walking even when the ice bridge melted beneath him. What we see at Urmas Lüüs' exhibition is a list of objects that Zarathustra threw onto the lakeshore to cross to the other side over the ice bridge.

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