Ede Raadik as an artist has often been described as a feminist conceptualist. The core of her creative practice is centered on working with ‘found data’ – statistics from everyday life that are systemised, adapted to a minimalist aesthetic, and usually realised in the form of a series of digital prints. In her latest solo exhibition, Sailin’ on the Red Sea, Raadik assumes the role of a kind of scientist, creating simplified models of intricate real-life processes. All works in the exhibition are based on personal experiences from medical appointments and ultrasonic examinations.
Sailin’ on the Red Sea consists of two sets of digital prints, gradating shades of red painted on walls, and a public programme accompanying the exhibition. The first set of prints depicts a normally functioning ovary while the second, an ovary bearing a pathological finding. The vertically arranged series represents the artist’s left ovary and the monthly processes transpiring within it. Reading from top to bottom, the first image pictures the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle during which a woman’s body undergoes hormonal changes and prepares itself for ovulation. In it, the ovary is visualised as a bowl-like figure that contains an egg cell maturing inside a follicle, eventually dividing into a dominant daughter cell and a receding one. The ovulatory phase shown in the second image sees the mature egg cell released from the ovary in the process known as ovulation. The third image, symbolising the luteal phase of the cycle, conveys a certain sense of potential for fertilisation. If no fertilisation occurs, the egg cell dissolves into the body and the cycle begins anew.
The horizontally positioned works on the rear wall of the gallery depict pathological changes unfolding in the artist’s right ovary. Four images, read from right to left, correspond to four transvaginal ultrasounds. The healthy ovary on the first image is juxtaposed with the ovary burdened by endometriosis on the second image. The ovarian endometrioma, also known as a chocolate cyst, took up 38% of the total volume of the ovary at the time of the first examination. The term for this type of cyst is derived from the fact that it is filled with old darkened blood, somewhat reminiscent of chocolate. A concurrently developing dominant follicle is shown in yellow. The third image portrays a follow-up examination two months after: an ovary harbouring a cyst that now assumes 59% of its total volume. The final image of the series shows that by the last follow-up before being admitted for laparoscopic surgery i.e. the removal of the cyst, the endometrioma occupied 62% of the ovary. Set against the backdrop of red gradients, the designs created by the artist reflect her emotional outlook on the subject.
An important part as well as an addition to the exhibition Sailin’ on the Red Sea is the public programme that consists of a number of artist talks and presentations. Among other subjects, the topics discussed within the programme include reproductivity and abortion, sexual health, and depictions of blood in art.
Ede Raadik wishes to emphasise that the exhibition currently on display in Kogo Gallery marks only one manifestation of a yet ongoing process, the following stage of which can already be seen in May in the Kraam artist-run space in Tallinn.
Kastani 42, 50410 Tartu
04/04/2019 – 11/05/2019
Photography: Madis Kats