Holger Loodus (1970) is an artist mainly working with painting and installation. One of the more prominent methods in his work is the mystification of daily experiences. Loodus’ earlier work can be characterised as magical realism, whereas his later work can be better understood through notions of sci-fi or alternative histories.
Before arriving at art, Loodus worked as an animator in an animation studio, translated comic books and has been active as a musician for over ten years. Loodus concluded his painting studies with the series “2150. Portraits” (2015) that transferred experts’ and fortune tellers’ visions of the future onto Estonian society in the year 2150. His following solo exhibition “Dolly” (2013) discussed automatic actions and human inner stupor as a form of alienation. The artist posed the question whether the mental state of stupor could perhaps be the organism’s defence mechanism that is artificially induced to overcome the stress of meditation?
In the work “Walking the Dog” (2015) a painting of a legless dog is connected to wires that monitor impulses emanating from the painting. The artist describes this image as a metaphor for self-control from his childhood: “I am connected to the dog via a leash. The dog runs, I jog behind. The world runs, I jog behind. […] But anyway – when I unleash the dog, there’s always trouble. It’s definitely better to keep the dog under control.”
The exhibition “Urlaub” (2016) focused on the theme of holidays and travelling. Loodus looked into why people often do exhausting and dangerous climbing while on holiday: up observation towers, on church roofs, mountain tops or the edge of a canyon. To exemplify, he put up an “observation tower” made of copper pipes in front of large paintings.
The work “Journey to the end of the world” (2017) paints a picture of our irresistible desire to reach the North Pole, simultaneously referring to well-known artists and explorers. The work, playing on exhibiting modes characteristic to museums, reveals multiple layers: a Joseph Beuys inspired tandem bicycle with a survival kit, stereoscopes displaying staged scenes, a primitive film mechanism showing a refugee family’s journey to the North Pole.
The installation “Dynamics of the Obstacle” (2018) looks at the similarities of migration trajectories of refugees and the Étienne-Jules Marey experiment. The experiment staged by the French film pioneer placed variously shaped obstacles in front of straight streams of smoke. Loodus compares the flow of migrants to the vortex of air induced by obstacles – on the one hand both are predictable and foreseeable, yet the fluctuating system produces innumerable mistakes and unexpected situations.
Holger Loodus graduated from the Department of Cultural Heritage and Conservation (BA, 2008) and the Department of Painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts (MA, 2012) at the Estonian Academy of Arts. In 2011 he studied in the Media Art department of Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. In 2012 Loodus was awarded the Young Artist Prize. In 2018 he received the People’s Choice Award of the Köler Prize and the annual prize of the Estonian Cultural Endowment.