PRESS RELEASE - Press release for the exhibition “Ranks”, Sandra Jõgeva and Kaarel Sammet, Hobusepea gallery, 13.03.2008-24.03.2008

SANDRA JÕGEVA (1976) and KAAREL SAMMET (1976) will open their co-exhibition Ranks in Hobusepea gallery at 5pm, March 12, 2008.

According to the artists' statements, the current exhibition studies Estonian contemporary pseudo-monuments of hidden ranks which representatives show themselves in the towns and villages every day. The signs of stratification are demonstrated both consciously and subconsciously by random passers-by in the streets. 

The constitution of the Republic of Estonia in 1920 abrogated social ranks - the rural law of 1919 had transferred the ownership of the lands that used to belong to the gentry and the church. However, now there are issues about the dramatic stratification of the Early Capitalist era, about the caste society. Whereas the caste society is ontocratic in nature - inevitably, one gets born into a certain caste - then the society of ranks is meritocratic, based on merits. Moving between ranks is not easy, but still possible. In contemporary class society the gap between ranks is material - you either have it or not, in the most general terms. The degree of people's awareness of their classification depends on the country and society. Estonian mentality is definitely closer to Eastern than Western Europe - when excluding the elite there won't be many signs left about the class awareness. "Prole" and "the rabble" have extremely negative connotations. The cult of success is unquestionably in fashion and being poor is disgraceful. For that reason it is tricky to classify a school teacher abroad who is obviously a member of middle class, and the poorly paid teacher in Estonia.

Today's world is drifting away from the atomic model subject to the ideal based on freedom-equality-fellowship where the society essentially consists of equal individuals and where the state laws serve the purpose to protect that equality. However, gone are the eras that preceded democratic ideals as well as the understanding about place, obligations and necessity. The propagation of democracy brings along higher degree of individualism, leaving the impression that this is the faith for every individual. This is hardly ever collectively perceived in society. Approaching the organic model is proved by free labour market, causing migration and relocation of the whole industrial branches according to the local wages. Those suffering under such conditions still believe that they are equal, unique individuals, as being brought up this way. 

Current exhibition is a unique monument for the present development stage in our society where many of its members try to seem better, richer, and more successful than they really are and where others have accepted their situation or lost faith in "going back" to the society. 
Press release is based on the project description by Sandra Jõgeva and Kaarel Sammet.

Exhibition will be open until March 24, 2008. 
Supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Norfolier PLC. 
Exhibitions in Hobusepea gallery supported by Estonian Ministry of Culture. 
Thanks to: Eike Eplik, Berit Talpsepp, Hannes Starkopf, Ain Nurmela, Triinu Jürves, Marje Mee, Rene Reinumäe, Maigi Magnus, Allan Tõnissoo, Villu Jõgeva, Ants Torim. 
Models: Malle Jürves, Okym Reem, Jaan Klõsheiko, Jekaterina Novosjolova, Kuldar Ebruk 
Hair stylist: Anu Aaremäe

Music: Andrus Elbing, Okym Reem