Marko Mäetamm's art practice focuses on family life and society, and explores the grey area between private and public through a variety of media, such as photography, sculpture, comics, animation, painting and text. In particular, he focuses on home and family relations as models of larger sociopolitical and economic mechanisms. Mäetamm often highlights everyday situations, filtered through the prism of his unmistakable dark humour. Partly inspired by his own private life, Mäetamm's work explores the area where ambiguous feelings of being in control and being controlled merge, and looks into the sometimes toxic and violent nature of co-dependency. Recently, his work has focused on the impact of new technologies, the merging of private and public, and issues of control. The abundance of pictures he presents to the viewer is dizzying and reminiscent of the endless streams on social media. Mäetamm's humorous tone can be misleading and make us think that what we see is a light-hearted joke. In reality, it's the opposite: He exposes the innermost angst that our accelerated way of life generates. He highlights how we use social media to stream, 'like' and tweet to react to issues of social justice, but that we are less likely to take more direct roles in solving global problems. In his new work for the exhibition, Mäetamm moves away from exploring the idea of love through the nuclear family, and instead broadens his field of enquiry to examine the issue in a more political and communal way. Τhe series of ten paintings and one light box he is presenting, entitled Summer of War (2017), uses the iconic style of graphic design of the Summer of Love, but juxtaposes this with a variety of slogans from several protest movements and demonstrations from the present day.
Mäetamm has exhibited internationally since the 1990s and represented Estonia at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007) and the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) as part of the artist duo John Smith (with Kaido Ole). Mäetamm's upcoming and recent solo exhibitions and projects include: Tragic Timing, together with Pavel Pepperstein, Galerie Odile Quizeman, Paris and I'm Only Streaming, Tallinn City Gallery, Tallinn (2017); I Want to Tell You Something, Picker Art Gallery and Artist In Residence, Colgate University, New York (2016); The Meaning of Life (with Kaido Ole), FUGA, Budapest (2015); Home and Away (with Raymond Pettibon), KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn (2015); LOVE, IKON Gallery, Birmingham (2014); Love, Love, Love. Family Stories and Many Other Stories, Iragui Gallery, Moscow (2014); The Alphabet of Lies, Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, Tallinn (2013); Painting and Waiting, Gallery Hobusepea and Gallery Draakon, Tallinn (2013). Mäetamm has received numerous awards, such the Baltic Assembly Prize for the Arts (2009) and the Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (2011). Recently, he has been resident at the Banff Centre of Arts and Creativity, Canada (2017).
Summer of War, 2017
Acrylic on paper
80 x 80 cm
Courtesy of the artist