Eike Eplik (1982) is a sculptor and installation artist. She uses nature motifs for constructing narrative, utilises the gallery space from floor to ceiling, works with sculpting techniques from classic plaster casting to paper and wood assemblage and found objects. The processes in her art are partly subconscious and not always fully explainable. When preparing exhibitions Eplik relies on improvisation – to the extent material allows, of course.
One of Eplik’s first exhibitions, “The girl who loved everything” (2012) is inspired by the Hungarian writer Ervin Lázár’s fairytale “The seven-headed fairy”. The animals in the fairytale-like Umwelt created in the exhibition are cartoonish, many of them freaks, chimeras combined of multiple plants and animals, conglomerates frozen into weird compositions.
The exhibition “Some of the birds flew on their backs” (2015) played around with creating compositions of portrait paintings and still lifes, emphasising the perishable and temporal nature of the subject. This existential theme was further developed with the show “Beauty salon” (2017), where the artist explored the construction of beauty and its fleeting and unnatural core. Unlike her previous exhibitions, “Natural” (2018) foregrounded a mechanical-therapeutic way of making art – the artist exhibited installations-sculptures that imitated organic and natural forms in various stages of abstraction.
Through biomorphic forms, Eplik has created over the years a specific vocabulary she keeps adding to and repurposing in new contexts: for example, the horse head that has been exhibited as something hybrid and grotesque together with a bust on a carriage at Artishok Biennale (2016) and the same horse head with hands, teeth and lumps sticking out of it at “In the shadow of the twilight” (together with Imat Suumann, 2019). Looking at Eplik’s positioning of objects and trying to grasp at their exchanges, a phantasmagorical narrative without beginning or end comes into being. This is why singular elements in the shows have no titles – everything that’s exhibited must be viewed simultaneously and in relation to one another.
Eike Eplik graduated from the Sculpture Department of Tartu Art College (BA, 2007). During her studies she took on internships with artists in Germany, Sweden and Finland. She continued her studies at the Sculpture department in the Estonian Academy of Arts (MA, 2010). Eplik works as a teacher in Tartu Children’s Art School and also Tartu Art College. In 2006 she was awarded the Eduard Wiiralt Stipend and in 2012 the young artist production stipend KUKU NUNNU of the contemporary art festival ART IST KUKU NU UT. In 2015 she was nominated for the Sadolin Art Prize and in 2018 Eplik was awarded the Addo Vabbe Stipend. She is one of the recipients of the artist salary 2021–2023. She was awarded with Estonian Cultural Endowment’s annual award (2021).