'Etudes with Imaginary Performers' by Riin Maide and Nele Tiidelepp at the Tartu Art House

October 4, 2022
Author Echo Gone Wrong

To acknowledge the disappearance of something is still to say that it could exist.

One of the first exercises for those learning to be an actor is an etude with an imaginary object. The scene, usually taken from everyday life, is repeatedly rehearsed as accurately as possible so that correspondence to the previous reality is preserved even when the objects are removed. From our etudes, we have excluded the performers. The space and objects, which try to imitate the presence of the performers as accurately as possible are left to speak for themselves.

During the last years, we have lived here and elsewhere, have encountered new people and places – left them behind, grown close to and apart from them. Remembering and reviving  allow us to retain something that we have passed by or been through. Fragile moments of existence, which have become dear, can be replayed. 

Scenes have been rehearsed many times, moments have been imagined even more, feelings have been relived constantly. Over time, they take shape and adapt, moving away from the immediate reality. In hindsight, it’s unclear why or how it all happened. Moments seem to be fitting to increasingly distant narratives. Here the dramaturgies of both of our memories take center stage, drawing from here and there and other places, but together forming a completely new space.

In the exhibition “Etudes with Imaginary Performers,” Riin Maide and Nele Tiidelepp are taking a closer look at everyday experiences and the possibility to translate them into different means of expression. Traces of activity or their significance are alternately presented as a soundscape, objects, or texts. Nele’s soundtrack to driving down the Riga highway with an old BMW on a Friday night, a dialogue of the one thing she needed to hear or her travelogue alongside cardboard, paper, wax moments from the houses that Riin has considered home or photos from lonely nights in her studio – embody sublime moments of existence.

Riin Maide (b 1997) has acquired a bachelor’s degree in the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Estonian Academy of Arts, majoring in graphics, and furthered her education in the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theater at DAMU in Prague, majoring in scenography. In 2020, she received the EKA’s Young Artist Award and the Edmund Valtman Scholarship. Site specificity, ephemerality and graphic imagery are important in her work. Through playful installations and theatrical environments, she deals with memory and presence.

Nele Tiidelepp (b. 1998) is a freelance artist who graduated from the department of installation and sculpture at the Estonian Academy of Arts (2020). In her artistic practice, Tiidelepp is inspired by spontaneous reactions to the environment and (sculpture) materials. Her background in literature and theatre has allowed the artist to make use of poetic and literary elements and narrative structures in her artwork. Tiidelepp operates on the verge of fictional and real spaces, people, and moments and her works are often collective or include cooperative aspects. Her works are often derived from a momentary impulse, which is then carried out as an installation, a text, or a durational piece such as a song or a performance.  Tiidelepp has won the Noor Tartu competition, EKA’s Young Artist Award, SIIL Prize and Millenium Prize, published texts in the journal “Värske Rõhk”, the newspapers “Müürileht” and “Sirp” and exhibited or performed in Estonia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, and Portugal.

Voice acting by Tom Brennecke
Special thanks: Tanel Asmer, Saara Liis Jõerand, Cristo Madissoo, Martin Tiidelepp

The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

Etudes with Imaginary Performers
Riin Maide & Nele Tiidelepp
Tartu Art House
2.09 – 2.10.2022

Photography: Jürgen Vainola