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Eesti Arhitektuurimuuseum Tallinn

Geometry and Metaphysics
Mare Vint and Arne Maasik

© Mare Vint(image), Arne Maasik(photo)

Printmaker Mare Vint and architect-photographer Arne Maasik, younger by one generation, are both well-known Estonian artists. However, the exhibition in the Museum of Estonian Architecture is for the first time they are presenting their works together, a specific dialogue is created where Maasik’s works are in direct response to those of Vint. The photo series Architectonics specially taken for the exhibition are like Maasik’s tribute to Vint’s architecturally organised pictorial worlds, but also reflect his understanding of the ideal space and ideal architecture as an architect. These are meticulous compositions where nothing is redundant and nothing is missing, where architecture has reached the ultimate level of abstraction and generalisation. Maasik, who had previously photographed scrubby thickets and houses, has this time constructed the photographed objects himself: the precise mock-ups with their clear and definite sense of line are three-dimensional models of something he calls “white architecture”: “I am interested in the emergence of a metaphysical origin in white architecture, white surfaces and the emptiness between them. Openings in walls, light and shade. My goal is to create a geometric space”. Maasik’s models have a familial resemblance to the “architectons” which, according to a tradition dating back to the Russian avant-garde art of the 1920s, signify abstract sculptures created by architects that strived toward pure geometric art.

Mare Vint strives also for order and the perfect balance in the image space. Her motifs are always extremely aesthetic: nature, parks and houses appear in Vint’s work as perfected archetypes – as ideal forms. We have all seen these landscapes, walls and white southern cities somewhere; we recognise them by their simplicity, and yet we remain outside because they are pronouncedly inaccessible, like images from a dream. Vint’s aesthetics have been associated with the reaction of the artists of her generation to the ugliness and the harrowing reality of the Soviet era. They sought motifs from minimalist Japanese beauty through references and emptiness. However, in Vint’s toolkit of architectural motifs, we can also recognise a postmodern awareness that was brought to the Estonian art scene by young architects in the 1970s – historical buildings, classicist elements, the beauty of decay and ruins, and the relationship between nature and the urban environment.