Marian Bogusz, Christa Jeitner, Jaan Toomik
with works by: Zbigniew Dłubak, Zbynek Sekal
cooperating artists: Katarzyna Przezwańska, Piotr Kopik, Tomasz Czuban
What does freedom mean in Europe today, where is it restricted or threatened? In the frame of the Freiraum project initiated by the Goethe Institute in 42 European cities, the Kunsthaus Dresden and Kanuti Gildi SAAL, an art space in Tallinn focusing on performance, raise questions as to the preconditions of freedom from two places far away from each other in Europe – Tallinn and Dresden.
“Are Estonians wrong to be happy …?” is a question posed by artists in Tallinn. The collective memory in Estonia is shaped by centuries of occupation and bondage. Therefore, great is pride taken in the independence peacefully gained in 1991. Freedom is highly esteemed both in private and public, and has led to an economically successful culture of being allowed to make mistakes. But freedom also entails responsibility – what possibilities and limitations accompany this new freedom?
“What is art capable of as a language of freedom in times of resentment?” In the past years, Dresden has clearly experienced that many citizens see an apparently glorified cultural homogeneity in danger when changes occur. Can art today show a path to empathy with the life-worlds of other people, can it warn against what it means to be unfree? And under which circumstances can it do so?
Under which conditions is freedom possible in the first place? To understand freedom in Europe today, it appears essential to cast a view to the past. The start of the joint exhibition and event series in Tallinn and Dresden is made by three shows of artists from three geographical and contemporary historical perspectives – between Mauthausen and Warsaw, the GDR and the People’s Republic of Poland, and Tallinn before and after regained independence. Despite the experience of terror and authoritarian regimes, the works of Marian Bogusz, Christa Jeitner and Jaan Toomik reflect the optimism and the independence of a then new generation along with the buoyant striving for new artistic freedom.