CRITICISM - Kaido Ole, Five pictures of Flo Kasearu. – Estonian Art 2010, nr 1

It is only natural that you should have a fairly good knowledge of someone you want to write about, although in my case I fear I hardly know anybody except myself. Besides, my memory is not what it used to be, so that when talking with people about the past it is occasionally difficult to understand whether we are in fact talking about the same thing. In a situation like this, I thought it best to focus on the few incidents connected with Flo which I certainly remember quite precisely and also my own relevant emotions. I call these descriptions pictures.

The first picture: I was a lecturer and Flo a student in the same department. However, I have no recollections of her at entrance exams, only from her second year onwards. This is quite strange because Flo, as a rule, is someone whom people remember. Anyway, at that time we were having a January workshop, conducted by an artist from abroad. The task was to deal with him, actively think along and also paint something good within a week, because there was going to be an exhibition afterwards. The guest was an artist, not an artist and a lecturer combined, who was used to an extremely professional approach, just as he did things in his own studio. Our students were diverse – some managed to keep up, some didn’t. Flo was among those who left a positive impression, although she was younger than most of them. Her painting, although big and bold, was a bit weird. She depicted herself as a small girl mischievously lifting her skirt. Not painted after an old photograph in trendy photorealism, but after memory, presenting a Fauvist colour display. Exchanging impressions with the guest lecturer afterwards, we both agreed that there was something in that girl. Something essential and universal that makes an artist of one person, but not of another, although that other person might produce better works for a long time. I remember saying about that painting that, although it was not bad, it certainly wasn’t right. I also thought that, whatever her paintings were like in the future, they would not resemble this painting. There was some sort of contradiction with her personality. I can now say that I was partially right, but perhaps not in the most essential way.

The third picture: Flo and Tõnis [Tõnis Saadoja (1980), painter – Ed] were compiling an exhibition; the main topic of their conversation was teaching painting and whether the teachers themselves could actually paint. We proved it by painting the same little box with a handle made by Flo, only this time it was bigger and placed in a typical still-life setting with folds of textiles and falling light. The topic, after all, was not just mastery of painting, but mystical classical painting skills. Flo filmed everybody painting, at the same time bombarding us with questions. The atmosphere was much nicer than at that dreadful marking, almost enjoyable. I had not painted an object for a long time so realistically, and I also kept answering her questions, getting rather carried away. Later results showed that Tõnis painted the longest and probably the most carefully, and I talked the most. This time, Flo’s questions were not that sharp, or perhaps I was better prepared. We both seemed pleased, although the teachers did not paint as well as Flo had hoped, at least not according to the given rules. Flo herself did not produce a wonderful painting either. The idea was that the professionals would paint first, and then Flo, having learned from us, would attempt to produce the same thing again, but in a new way. For some reason I, and probably she too, liked the first slightly faulty version better.

The fourth picture: Flo and I were making art together, on a perfectly equal basis, fully democratic. It is a relatively old form of cooperation, with my architect friend and myself. A large number of creative people with different backgrounds and work experience, from beginners to prominent people, take part at various times. The result, as a rule, is a short video; the playfully regulated creative process reminds me most of all of the past undertakings of Fluxus. We invited Flo when we needed to start a new cycle with new people. I suggested Flo, as I was certain that she would be brave enough to participate in anything, without abandoning her critical attitude, because we needed both participation and criticism. Flo immediately blended into our diverse group and was more confident than I had dared to hope. Knowing her honesty and sincerity, I was certain that, if we got totally muddled, it would be she who would point this out. I often get carried away to the extent that I lose all sense of criticism. Everybody seemed well pleased with her part and hopefully we can do this again in the future.