CRITIQUE - Elo-Hanna Seljamaa. Significant Margins, as Seen by Liina Siib. KUNST.EE 2011, 1-2
Elo-Hanna Seljamaa analyses the art of Liina Siib whose project A Woman Takes Little Space will represent Estonia at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia A number of art critics, discussing the photo and video installations of Liina Siib, have come up with similar observations that both contradict and reinforce each other. Firstly, it has been stated that the work of Liina Siib explores subjects and places tucked away into the margins of respectable society, and groups whose status within the social structure is questionable or invisible: violence and sexuality in their abundant forms, death, women who work as prostitutes and men who work as grave diggers, homeless people and criminals, murder scenes and, in the case of Estonia, Communism and the Others of Estonians. Secondly, her projects deal with clichés, with topics, images and views that are so commonplace and ingrained as to become invisible: childhood, puberty and family, conventional gender roles and the subjugated position of women, homemaking, the language of advertising, suppressed and sublimated desires, cinematic narration strategies and psychoanalysis. Overall, Liina Siib is considered to be an intriguing, even provocative artist with a penetrating, yet sensitive take on grave social problems. She is fascinated by the opportunities of the photographic medium and often adds a touch of humour or (self-)irony, thereby multiplying the already broad spectrum of plausible interpretations. In her project for the 54th Venice Biennale, Liina Siib continues to explore how images and gazes mediate relationships among a group of people, whether a family, a couple, an ethnic community, a gender category or a particular society. Her work on topics and people in the margins encourages viewers to question their convictions and patterns of classification by casting both light and doubt on epistemological and moral lenses that give shape to what is being seen. Of crucial importance is the concept of play: while the artist is interested in different forms and functions of play in everyday life, she also uses play as a method for approaching social reality and for interacting with her audience.