Critics’ Picks

Babi Badalov, WWW.WORLDWORDWAR III, 2018, fabrics and acrylic, dimensions variable.

Tallinn

“Cloudbusters: Intensity vs. Intention”

Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM)
Põhja puiestee 35
June 2 - July 15

The main exhibition of the Seventeenth Tallinn Print Triennial takes Wilhelm Reich’s pseudoscientific invention from the first half of the twentieth century as its starting point. Upon entering the building (which was an abandoned heating plant until 2006 and is now redesigned for each triennial), the viewer first sees photo documentation of Christoph Keller’s ongoing project of creating his own “cloudbuster,” in which he reenacts Reich’s experiments with the goal of influencing the atmosphere and inducing rain. Featuring more than twenty artists, the show, curated by Margit Säde, conjures various notions of the word cloud, from the ephemeral matter in the sky to the digital operating cloud to the nuclear mushroom.

The first floor includes “visual poems” by Babi Badalov and prints and books by Corita Kent, which are housed in lime-green vitrines. Badalov’s linguistic pieces tackle ideas of mixed cultures, money, and media, his words painted directly onto the museum walls and bright, slouching banners. Mirroring Badalov’s pieces, Kent’s silk screens with ominous slogans—“Hope is the remembrance of the future”—point to a metaphorical looming black cloud that is more constant than transient. On the second level, Andrea Büttner’s Phone Etchings, 2015, presents four large prints that bind the idea of the technological cloud, the personalized username, and the iPhone with the most intimate, individual form of identification: the oils and prints on the pads of our fingers. The exhibition ties together different interpretations of an extremely elusive concept, beginning and ending with the fact that “cloudbuster” was originally a metaphor for people’s indestructible optimism and willpower.