THE INTERNATIONAL ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM
New Works: 97.3
Alex Bag, NEW YORK, NY
Cesar Martinez, SAN ANTONIO, TX
Jaan Toomik, TALLINN, ESTONIA
The International Artist-in-Residence Program, sponsored by ArtPace, A Foundation
for Contemporary Art | San Antonio, presents New Works: 97.3, a series of
installations by artists living and working at ArtPace. Alex Bag and Jaan Toomik were
selected by the March 1996 IAIR Program Panel consisting of Elizabeth Armstrong,
David Avalos, Dana Friis-Hansen, Thelma Golden and Maaretta Jaukkuri. Cesar
Martinez was selected by guest curator Susanne Ghez. Work produced by the artists
during their six-week residency will open to the public on Thursday, September 11, 1997.
Based in Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia, Jaan Toomik was born in 1961 in Tartu, Estonia.
Since the early 1990s, when Estonia declared independence from the Soviet Union,
Toomik has been exhibiting and performing throughout Europe. Toomik's video
installation marks his first one-person exhibition in the United States. His work is well
known in Estonia, where he has exhibited at The Soros Center for Contemporary Arts;
The Art Museum of Estonia; Gallery of Tallinn Art Hall; Vaal Gallery; and Tartu Artists'
House. His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary
Art, Helsinki; The Contemporary Art Centre of Vilnius, Lithuania; UNESCO
Headquarters, Paris; and the Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw.
Toomik's video installations have been included in SITE Santa Fe's 1997 Bienial, the
1997 Venice Biennale, and the 1994 Biennial of Sao Paulo.
Toomik's meditative, slow-paced video and performance work pieces locate sites and
reduce those sites to their essential spirits. Toomik's investigations of nature are intensely
personal, combining a quest for the spiritual with the voice of an individual. Toomik's
installations involve the viewer's interactions with space, moving images, and hypnotic
Toomik's untitled installation at ArtPace draws the viewer through a tunnel with the
toll of a church bell, towards a looped image, projected in a corner, of masses of people
walking down a winter street. The repetition of the image of faceless Estonians walking
toward an unidentified direction is chilling. Is the crowd heading towards church?
Towards work? From work? Toomik offers no answers. The viewer moves into a larger
space with a moving LED sign displaying unfamiliar words, a Buddhist chant. Opposite
the LED sign is a video projection, a documentation
of a nearly naked man alone in the landscape expressing himself in a cathartic state. The
installation suggests a spiritual search, juxtaposing the institutional and the individual.
Toomik provides the viewer space and time to investigate their relationship to the social
and the spiritual.
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