Solo Show at Haus Gallery, Tallinn 03.05- 07.06 2018
text by Triinu Soikmets
THE STARTING POINT OF THE SERIES OF PAINTINGS BY ARTIST MERILIIS RINNE (MERU), COMPLETED AT HER LONDON STUDIO DURING LAST YEARS, IS A PERSONAL JOURNEY INVOLVING CRAZY SITUATIONS, BUT ALSO TRAUMAS AND THEIR THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS.
All of Meru’s paintings are also her self-portraits. “For some time I have been painting situations in my studio relating to my life and myself as if it was a journey; at the same time I have been indirectly discovering how much my childhood and the end of the Soviet era really affected my understanding of beauty and ugliness,” she says, jokingly reminiscing about how back in the old days a pink skipping rope someone sent to the children next door from America gave her a shock. “Today when I speak about those times to people in London, it feels like a complete utopia!”.
This pink shock was induced by the uniform brownness of the environment back then. Similar memories have shaped her coded relationships with other colours, for instance yellow or black. “For a long time, I was torn by the question about how to be a human, artist, and a woman at the same time,” the socially sensitive author says, explaining the dilemma she faced when she was being reproached for busying herself with art, meaning her children would simply starve. This is how the painting “You paint your children black” was born.
When an accused works through what they are accused of, they are liberated from the pressures linked to self-image, and release the negative energy, converting it into positive energy. “Louise Bourgeois spoke about this topic in quite a similar way – she had felt hatred for her father since childhood, but as living with such hate was rather destructive, she found that the only way was to transform the hate into love,” says Meru, commenting on the sentence scribbled on her studio wall: “Turn hate into love”.
“I only lied him because of money
“After an unhealthy relationship I realised how we often and unknowingly do something if it is useful for us. This painting deals with the complexity of getting out of that vicious cycle. It is an honest self-reflection, a beautiful portrait of a self-conscious woman who owns up to her weaknesses.”
Besides Bourgeois, Meru has received inspiration from another American artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose use of materials as presented at his show gave her confidence to experiment with different textiles.
Several paintings displayed in this exhibition have been painted on canvas made of recycled and reworked coffee bean bags.
As a gift from the artist and the gallery, 20% of the proceeds of all the exhibited works sold will go to the University of Tartu Hospital Children's Foundation to support the participation of children with special needs in developing therapies, such as riding and music therapy.
Meriliis Rinne (1985) is an Estonian artist living and working in England, whose works have been presented in Tallinn and London as well as in Tokyo, Copenhagen, Oslo and Berlin. Meriliis first studied law at the University of Tartu, which deepened her interest in paradoxes and social pressure, i.e., topics that she attempts to solve as a self-taught painter.
Dissapearance of female modesty
/“As I am a feminist big city woman, the inspiration for this painting came from post-feminism and the appearance of human values. What would the last woman on Earth feel…? The painting expresses the studies of the human core and the search for an escape from absurdity. The woman seems to be in a spider web, holding two birds in the palm of her hand as if nature is the last thing that can be trusted but it is disappearing like everything else. The feminine hat on her head symbolises the yearning to be weak and vulnerable without anyone seeing it as an opportunity to take advantage of you.”