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?"


The artist who seeks to touch the unknown

Konstantin Kuningas (1/2024)

Konstantin Kuningas visited Hanna Samoson's solo exhibition "Magic is Sometimes Very Close to Nothing at All".


Hanna Samoson could easily be categorised as an artist whose works speak of wanderlust. Samoson gained wider recognition with the performance film "Trail Baltic: A Trip to the Green" (2023). She traversed the future route of the Rail Baltic railway on foot, broadcasting the journey live online. The entire mainstream media covered it extensively. "A film about nature and people who stand in the way of the railway," describes Levila, the film's producer.

However, Samoson caught the attention of many even before "Trail Baltic". For example, at the 2017 Umbrella Group exhibition "Not Really" (at the ARS Project Space, curated by Kaisa Maasik), she presented a gigantic playground slide ("Mom, You Don't Have to Worry About It", 2017). In the same series, there are also photo-documented situations featuring a swing installed on the roof of an apartment building and a basketball backboard made from an apartment window.

In her exhibition "Magic is Sometimes Very Close to Nothing at All", Samoson shares her experiences of journeying toward an inner home through installations, sculptures and videos. She encounters various people and animals, experiences powerful natural phenomena, and seemingly small but magical coincidences.

One room is designed as a train carriage. Seats. Windows. The latter acting as video screens displaying recordings of Samoson's activities – travels, swimming in lakes, hiking in mountains. There are many videos in the exhibition. It also has another side: it emerges from grief.

One sculpture appears to grow a stone rose surrounded by sprouts. Although these things could ultimately be interpreted as some kind of organ – a heart or fingers reaching out from the ground. Elo Viiding once said that she doesn't know any good poets who aren't at the same time minstrels of death.

Where does the processing of pain end and the actual work begin? She doesn't say. Eventually, the work takes over. The pain may not disappear but becomes something to interpret. And to begin with, an artist needs honesty.

Perhaps the common thread connecting the works in "Magic is Sometimes Very Close to Nothing at All" is… life? And right behind life, a speeding ambulance, children running and money accumulating.

Curator Siim Preiman points out that our brains love narratives, stimulating beginnings, and satisfying endings. Anything that comes along could become the final "keystone" of the story.

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