Jaan Toomik – Untitled Action

<p>Video created for Jaan Toomik's exhibition "Smells Like Old Man's Spirit" 2015.<br></p> <p>For his solo show at Temnikova & Kasela gallery, Toomik presents new paintings and a video. <br><br>As the title suggests, the exhibition deals with ideas of ability, failure and perception of age. Using himself as a model, Toomik assumes various positions and inhabits different scenarios, continuing to explore the self as a site for reflection. Still imbued with a dose of characteristic self-irony verging on pathos, the new works possess a different tone to the artist’s recent output: extrovert performances are replaced with a more introverted process.<br><br>The return to figurative painting is not incidental, yet - juxtaposed with the video - neither does it appear to be final. Presented here is the very process of painting through the issues at hand, and the activity itself does not escape the artist’s sarcastic humour.<br> </p> <p>–</p> <p></p> <p>Jaan Toomik (b. 1961) is an acknowledged Estonian painter, video and performance artist, who recently got more and more involved in film. Having gained recognition as a painting student in the late 1980s, his practice shifted towards installation and performance art after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Toomik gained international recognition primarily for his video works such as “Dancing Home” (1995), and “Father and Son” (1998). The artist has exhibitied widely, both at home and abroad, where he has participated in the first Manifesta (1996), 4th Berlin contemporary art biennial (2006) and represented Estonia at the Venice Biennial twice, in 1997 and 2003.</p> <p></p> <p>Born in the university city of Tartu, he was forced to undergo the then-compulsory Soviet Union army service from 1981 until 83. Upon his return, Toomik joined the art academy in Tallinn, where he studied painting in the period between 1985 and 91. Some neo-expressionist paintings, like “Menstruation” (1989), are testament to a time when Toomik considers himself to be more influenced by and concerned with art from abroad. However, with the coming of independence, the artist claims that the interest in his immediate situation took over. This is consequently the time when Toomik was responding to the changing political situation, converting from a neo-expressionist painter into a post-conceptual performer.</p><p><br></p>