Dilemmas: Artists and the Idea of the Nation

Rael Artel Presents New Video from Estonia

Wednesday, October 22, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
CEC ArtsLink, 435 Hudson Street, 8th Floor, New York City

CEC ArtsLink is pleased to present a video program and a talk by Rael
Artel, an independent curator from Estonia. The short videos, “Mulgi
Travels” by Flo Kasearu (2007), “Woman on the field” by Eva Labotkin
(2008), and “The Monolith” by Kristina Norman (2007), deal with one of
the most contentious issues in Eastern Europe – national values in rapidly
globalizing world. Estonia is taken as a case study but the parallels
might be drawn with its Eastern European neighbors. A recent addition to
the EU, the region gets a full taste of exploding migration and global
capital and labor market-forces. These changes are often met with a fear
of loosing national identity or even the disappearance of the nation
itself. Xenophobia, burgeoning conservative national traditions, and
instumentalisation of culture and history have became an inseparable part
of everyday reality.

The three young female artists have approached the state of being a member
of a small and disappearing national community from distinct angles: Flo
Kasearu works with the idea of a nation state as a branded product and as
a religion; Eva Labotkin addresses the position of being a woman and a
reproducer of the nation; and a fictional story by Kristina Norman departs
from recent historical moments altogether. What is the dominant social
reality? What are possible alternatives? The ambiguity of the answers to
these and other questions amplify the complexity of the issues.

Rael Artel is an independent curator based in the forests of Estonia. She
graduated from the Institute of Art History at the Estonian Academy of
Arts in 2003, and participated in the Curatorial Training Programme in De
Appel, Amsterdam (2004/05). Since 2000, she has contributed to a number of
magazines in Estonia and elsewhere, and curated shows in Estonia as well
as in Lisbon, New York, Amsterdam and Warsaw. In 2004-2008, she was
running and moderating her project space in Pärnu and Tartu, Estonia.

The presentation of Estonian younger generation video art was kindly
supported by Center of Contemporary Arts, Estonia.

The curator of the screening wishes to thank all the artists for their
kind contributions, and also Zhenia Stadnik, Anna Bitkina, and Remco de
Blaaij for their help.

CEC ArtsLink Talks provides a forum for artists and arts professionals to
present their work and to stimulate discourse about contemporary issues in
the arts.

Image: A still from “Woman on the Field”, 2008, 2 min, by Eva Labotkin

CEC ArtsLink
435 Hudson Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10014
T: 212 643-1985
F: 212 643-1996

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