Estonian multimedia artist Marko Mäetamm tells stories, both personal and global, in the exhibition I Want to Tell You Something, opening this Thursday at the Picker Art Gallery.
The exhibition features paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, and video installations through which Mäetamm communicates with viewers about his life, his problems, and the world around him.
“For me, making art is always about saying something, or at least provoking communication or dialogue,” said Mäetamm, who is the 2016 Christian A. Johnson artist-in-residence. “If I don’t have anything to say, then I don’t see why I should paint, or why I should do anything.”
Many of the works in the exhibition are intended to provoke conversation about everyday life and cultural issues. The installation titled Bookshelf appears to be a room covered with books, but inside is the video Just Checking if There’s Something New, which shows a man continuously checking his smartphone.
“I don’t know if it’s good or bad,” said Mäetamm, reflecting on social media and texting as new forms of communication, “but it’s different now, and it’s exciting, and that is what interests me: observing it.”
In preparation for the exhibition, Katie Jean Colman ’18 assisted the Picker Art Gallery staff as a summer intern. She wrote an essay for the exhibition catalogue, organized a student event, and started a project with Estonian fashion designer Reet Aus that will provide sustainably sourced T-shirts to complement Mäetamm’s exhibition.
“There is so much that goes into planning and executing an exhibition that I had never thought of until this summer,” said Colman, who is an art history major. “I did all sorts of work during my internship, from curation to collections management. Each day presented something new.”
Colman and other student interns will give remarks and lead mini-tours at the exhibition’s opening reception Thursday at 5 p.m.
Internships at the Picker Art Gallery satisfy the internship requirement of the museum studies minor, a new interdisciplinary program that focuses on cultural property, public history, and museum theory.
In addition to the exhibition at the Picker, a complementary exhibition of Mäetamm’s video art, called Something Moving, is on display at the Clifford Gallery until October 2.
Mäetamm is also teaching an advanced studio art course, presenting a lecture, and completing a project with the theater department during his four-month residency at Colgate.