Not so long ago I ate a fortune cookie a girlfriend gave me, hoping that it will predict something nice. I felt like one would on Midsummer Night, going to sleep with a posy of flowers under the pillow in the hopes of a brighter morning. Anyway, I had to be disappointed again, as the cookie which was supposed to tell me fortune or at least convey a useful aphorism, only said “Doubt everything!” As if I didn’t doubt enough anyway, I thought to myself.
They say that Estonians are not proper Christians. But that they do tend to believe in all sorts of sorcerers or psychics. “I’m not superstitious,” I’ve heard people say, fearfully regarding the pieces of a broken mirror. At the same time, the scary thought of seven years of unlucky love following is reflected in their eyes. Liisa Kruusmägi has decided to research superstition and its practices, if one can call it that, at her exhibition in Vaal gallery. It seems to be something we all do in secret, but deny in public. The most direct references to superstition at the exhibition are in Kruusmägi’s installation, which consists of a bed and items related to superstition surrounding it. The most recognisable of those is perhaps the posy under the pillow. I cannot not mention the black cat who has been brought to reside in the museum for the duration of the exhibition. So, for a while at least, there is one less black cat out on the town to ruin our happiness by crossing our road. Next to the bed, one could also redeem all one’s lies hoping that it would somehow save us. Saying publicly that I lied when I said I did not like Justin Bieber certainly made my life better. I did not need a rabbit’s paw or anything.
At Liisa Kruusimägi’s exhibition, I was most attracted to her paintings. Everything was in place in them: style, colour, composition, even how much is not perfectly fine-tuned. The created characters and situations seemed familiar. Especially the painting, on which a party is depicted. All the party heroes are there: babes with pink hair, cultural bearded types, beer-drinking hipsters, neat nerds. But something makes one doubt. These events with their weird characters give one a feeling of discomfiture like in a David Lynch film. A shift is created between reality and dreaminess. The work in which a larger group is watching television (I assume they’re watching TV, as it’s not really depicted in the painting), could very well be a scene from a psychological thriller, where the main characters start to play with your mind. Contrary to the wisdom from my fortune cookie, however, I do not want to doubt everything. Doubting creates superstition and it gets one nowhere. And there is no point doubting in Liisa Kruusmägi, who is one of the brightest young Estonian painters with her remarkable sense of style at the moment.
Liisa Kruusmägi’s exhibition „Cursed“ in Vaal gallery 9.02.–11.03.2017