Critics’ Picks

Jaanus Samma, Hair Sucks, 2014, mohair, dimensions variable.


Jaanus Samma

Tallinn Art Hall
Vabaduse väljak 6
October 30–November 23

For his current solo exhibition, Jaanus Samma has transformed the gallery space into a pop-up boutique, complete with display cases, racks, a full-length mirror, dressing room, couch, and a video collage blending shots of graffiti with models posing in the sweaters on offer. The patterns and messages emblazoned on the sweaters, knitted in a variety of colors and fabrics, were lifted from bathroom graffiti and wall tags Samma has recorded throughout his travels, and most of it quite cruisy. One hot-pink mohair creation plaintively inquires, “Tu veux voir ma bite?” (“You want to see my cock?”). A fluffy white turtleneck is the background for an erect cock on its way towards entering a bent rear, all rendered dramatically in black outline.

Dicks and sperm galore. The sweaters are wearable graffiti canvases curated by Samma’s queer eye. As for feminism: “CUNT ME IN,” declares one of the recurring patterns (also available as a scarf!). In true DIY spirit, for those who can’t afford the 150–200-Euro price tags, a much more affordable exhibition catalog is available with pattern book included.

Combining classic punk sexuality with in-your-face absurdism (one of my favorite sweaters, from whence the show takes its title, is a carnation-hued mohair number adorned with the slogan “HAIR SUCKS!”), Samma’s latest effort fits in well with the artist’s ongoing project of queering the post-Soviet sphere and serves as a teaser for his upcoming representation of Estonia at next year’s Venice Biennale.