Estonian artists Laivi and Hedi Jaansoo have been selected for the 2023 artist-in-residence programme at the renowned WIELS art centre in Brussels. The opportunity for two Estonian artists to take part in the residency is provided by the WIELS and the Estonian Centre for Contemporary Art.
Laivi and Hedi Jaansoo were selected via an open call amongst 11 applicants. The final decision was made by a jury which consisted of WIELS’s and CCA’s representatives.
Laivi (Laivi Suurväli, 1988) is an artist working with the medium of fashion. The keywords of her practice are desire and longing, addiction and glorification, production and offer, preservation and destruction and the price of the value. Laivi’s practice is characterised by material-based and experimental approach to textiles which is expanded from clothing and accessories to sculptural installations and large scale works on canvas. She has BA in fashion design from the Estonian Art Academy and MA from the Aalto University in Helsinki. She has been participating at contemporary art exhibitions since 2014 and had several solo shows since then. In the beginning of this year Laivi received the annual prize for her works in 2021 of the Estonian Cultural Endowment’s visual and applied arts foundation.
During the residency she plans to focus on research supporting her practice, concentrating on the development of the multilevel project “Goods and Services” which deals with the working mechanisms of the fashion industry. The purpose of the series with both performative and installative elements is to open up the behind the scenes of the production heavy fashion industry, while working with public sessions. Thus the border between art exhibition, performance, community activism, cooperation and knowledge sharing disappears. The aim of the inclusive approach is to minimize the distance between the viewer and the creator and the consumer and the producer. Laivi believes that co-creation is important in the society which at least partly tries to withdraw from the methods of mass production in order to start discussion on the negative impacts on society, connected to the globalisation.
Hedi Jaansoo (1989) is an artist and photographer. She has studied photography (BA 2014) and contemporary art (MA 2018) at the Estonian Art Academy. She studied at the Art and Design Academy of Bergen, Norway in 2012-2013. She usually works with small and fragile objects, flowers, insecurities, cognitions and sensitivities. In her recent practice she combines photography, textiles and clay, non-functional accessories, unfinished thoughts and variable decisions, longings and conflicting desires. Jaansoo has received the Young Artist Award of the Estonian Art Academy and The Others art fair residency award in Turin. Hedi Jaansoo’s previous exhibition was “Kimbutab” (“Teases”) together with the printmaker Marje Üksine in Rüki gallery (Viljandi, 2022), curated by Kaisa Maasik.
During the residency she plans to work towards a group exhibition, taking place in November 2023 in Atletika gallery (Vilnius, curated by Kaisa Maasik). At the same time, she would like to work with open end, not thinking of any particular project, commiting to her artistic practice, meet the mentors and to observe curiously where she can move on this extraordinary opportunity. She is also keen to meet with the international art scene, provided by the opportunity to work in Brussels.
The jury was composed of Maria Arusoo and Sten Ojavee from the CCA and the three artists who mentor the residency programme – Sylvie Eberg, Simon Thompson and Michael Van den Abeele – together with senior curator Zoë Gray. The WIELS members were impressed by the research-driven practice of Suurväli, her experimental approach to textiles and her critical investigation of the garment industry. The jury was also intrigued by the exploration of fragility in Jaansoo’s photography and installations. The two artists offer ways of working that are new to the residency and which will doubtless be the beginning of rich exchanges with the other international residents.
Previously, Estonian artists Paul Kuimet and Jaanus Samma (2018), Anna Škodenko and Tõnis Saadoja (2019), Tanja Muravskaja and Anu Vahtra (2020), Eva Mustonen and Ingel Vaikla (2021), Krista Mölder (2022) have taken part in the same programme and currently, the residency in Brussels is hosting Sandra Kosorotova. The artists are always selected via open call and their residency is supported by Estonian Ministry of Culture.