My image
issue 40 - October/November 2017
CURVE magazine cover October/November 2017
Push  Art  


Collages Inspired by the USSR

Estonian born visual artist Riin Kaljurand currently resides in Dublin, Ireland, where she has lived for a decade. Five years ago Kaljurand returned to college to pursue studies in Fine Art and graduated in 2015 with honors from the National College of Art and Design. Known for her depictions of women, Kaljurand's work is the result of her fascination with Soviet imagery and cultural icons, blended with a more contemporary take on art. Her work takes the form of acrylic and paint collages which she layers and manipulates into shape. Evocative and powerful, Kaljurand's pieces are certainly captivating.

How do you define your work?
To begin talking about my work, I find it is most helpful to talk about my history and upbringing. I like to think that true art should be a result of a person's journey through life; unique and personal. I was born in the Former Soviet Socialist Republic of Estonia. The era in which I was born has always fascinated me with its paradoxes and peculiarities. Suffice it to say, my geographical origin hugely influences my art. Through both my earlier experience as an artist and through continued learning in college, I have found my own unique style which takes from many aspects of my upbringing and heritage.

Take us through your upbringing and heritage, how it has influenced your work?
My current painting practice has been very much influenced by my geopolitical origins. I was born in 1979, in the former Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, then part of the Soviet Union, an era which has always fascinated me with its paradoxes and peculiarities. Much of my imagery is directly taken from Soviet Estonia's women's magazine 'Soviet Woman'. As Judith Butler says: 'Masculine and feminine roles are not biologically fixed but socially constructed.' 'Soviet Woman' created images of femininity according to the communist ideology of work women as hard working comrades of Soviet society. Sections of the magazine were dedicated to teaching women skills that were considered useful, like cooking, health and beauty, and hand crafting skills like crocheting, knitting, sowing, etc. It even included indispensable life skills like raising children. The source material I work from dates from 1955 to the 1980s; I usually select photographs which feature women hard at work in traditionally 'masculine' milieus like farms, factories and construction sites.

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