Hanno Soans & Juri Kortšagin

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Jubilee with a Sea View, 2004

video and painting installation, video 12’

 

The work was completed for the 2004 Tallinn Print Triennial curator exhibition titled Other Neighborhood, in the course of which Hanno Soans smuggled the works of amateur artist Kortšagin in to the established exhibition space of Kunsthalle Tallinn.

Juri Kortšagin was born in Komsomolski and since 1962 has been living in Estonia. Kortšagin is a former soviet ‘leading worker’, who is retired today and works as a security guard and an amateur painter, who discovered a burning passion for painting at a later age.

A videocamera was given to him for his 60th birthday. Kortšagin immediatly started filming his surroundings. He filmed a total of 17 hours out of the 24 hours starting on the evening of his birthday, which Soans edited into a 12-minute video.

As an amateur, but still convincingly expressing the art language and preferences of the Russian minority, Kortšagin managed to create a proper exposition for the Kunsthalle gallery out of his thirty paintings and the video edited by Soans. The video and one painting, that was given to Soans as a present from the author, are part of the EKKM collection. The authors have donated the work to EKKM.

 

Hanno Soans: ‘Mr. Kortšagin’s first question to me as a curator was if I liked his work and if we could cooperate by me being his dealer or something, and together we could earn obscene amounts of money. Godsmacked by the question I had nothing else to do but to awkwardly accept… When I had the chance to look at his first quite idiosyncratic amateur documentary that he filmed during 24 hours (where he very peculiarly presents surroundings of Kalamaja, his home, me as a neighbor and his paintings in his own idiosyncratic way) I had an idea to send it to a proper curatorial exhibition, where his extensive exposition of paintings can be shown. Kind of as a comment – the abandoned salon of national minorities. Fortunately at that time Sirje Helme was curating an exhibition Other Neighborhood, where my project seemed to fit and so it happened.”

 

Media: ‘Juri Kortšagin/Hanno Soans Jubilee with a Sea View is a very expressive documentary about the adaptation mechanisms and selectivity in a foreign culture. Juri Kortšagin was born in Komsomolski and since 1962 has been living in Estionia. Kortšagin is a former “leading worker”, who is retired today and works as a security guard and an amateur painter, who has filmed his home and its surroundings with his videocamera which was given to him for his 60th birthday. He is a loyal and respectful citizen of Estonia who has a Russian coat of arms on the wall (‘I am, however, a Russian!’), He is totally identified with his new home in Kalamaja in Tallinn (‘our sea’, ‘the street we are on is famous’) and at the same time paints nostalgic images of his homeland. Considering this pattern local integration campaign slogans seem quite absurd.’

Sirp, 24.09.2004