On 19 January, Kogo Gallery, based in Tartu, Estonia, opens a group exhibition Octopus Rococo which tackles serious humor. The participating artists are from Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine, the show is curated by Šelda Puķīte. Octopus Rococo remains open until 2 March 2024.
Humour has been a tool for detecting the zeitgeist and exploring power relations for hundreds of years. Some artists have become masters in expressing their trickster and sinister entertainer’s role so skillfully that their work makes you laugh and shiver simultaneously. When humour is used to cope with life’s more serious challenges, it can be described as “serious humour” or, to borrow German philosopher Kuno Fisher’s phrase, “a playful judgment”. The exhibition Octopus Rococo brings together works by Estonian, Latvian and Ukrainian artists who are known as explorers of irony and humorous mischief. Together they send up, give social commentary and create poetical metaphors to address what it is to be human in the contemporary world.
The participating artists are Kateryna Berlova, Eike Eplik, Alexei Gordin, Ivars Grāvlejs, Krišs Salmanis, Sabīne Vernere and Elīna Vītola, the show is curated by Šelda Puķīte.
The combination of the words octopus and rococo is itself nonsensical, used by critics at the turn of the twentieth century to mock the ornamented facade of the legendary Hofatelier Elvira in Munich designed by architect August Endell. In the exhibition, octopus rococo becomes a code name for serious humour – a strange, seemingly nonsensical, dadaistic joke that, in truth, camouflages the different layers of a very complex existence.
The exhibition opens on 19 January at 18.00 at Kogo Gallery. The gallery is located in Tartu, Estonia at Aparaaditehas, on Kastani 42. Octopus Rococo is open for visits on Wed–Fri at 13–19 and on Sat at 13–18 until 2 March 2024.
There will be a curator’s tour on 27 January at 16.00 by Šelda Puķīte. The event is part of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024, opening week programme, the tour is in English and participation is free of charge.
The exhibition is part of Kogo Gallery’s this year’s programme Performing Existence.
The exhibition is funded by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the City of Tartu.
Special thanks to VV Foundation and Valmiermuiža.
Curator: Šelda Puķīte
Production and public programme: Stella Mõttus
Administration: Liina Raus
Communication: Karin Kahre, Kristlyn Liier
Installation: Siim Asmer
Photo documentation: Marje Eelma
Event photography: Evelin Lumi
Graphic design: Aleksandra Samulenkova
Translation and language editing: Refiner Translations
More information: www.kogogallery.ee/en/exhibitions/octopus-rococo