Doomsday flowers? What kind of flowers are these? Marko Mäetamm knows. Standing somewhere on the edge of the world during one creative moment, he watched what was happening in front of him – in the garden of the end of the world, where the doomsday flowers were blooming. About his experience, Marko later writes: ‘It was a very strange plant. Otherwise like a tulip, but in the evenings a black hand stretched out from it, with fingers full of large, expensive-looking rings…’. These are the kind of visionary stories Marko has painted and written about sixteen strange plants, which are like flowers on the one hand, but on the other, they are everything else.
The series of Marko Mäetamm’s flower paintings was created in one idea, typical of the artist. He will probably never paint anything like this again, he has thought. Some ideas live only in their poignant moment of arrival, there to remain forever unique, never to be repeated. The appearance of the doomsday flowers in Marko’s work was like a unique natural phenomenon, a flash of light behind the windows of thought that the artist was mesmerised to gaze into. He would not have expected himself to paint flowers, but it happened. Perhaps it was the war consciousness that has touched us all, he concludes. Marko Mäetamm remembers from history that it was during the war years that artists painted a lot of flowers, beautiful flowers…
Marko Mäetamm’s flowers are not traditionally beautiful flowers, in fact, they are not really flowers at all. Rather decadently dramatic insights into the psychological space of relationships that has always interested the artist. Perhaps this is not the first thing that comes to mind about Mäetamm’s work. Like pop art, it hides a deeper idea behind the outward expression of form.
We already know Marko Mäetamm through the colourful and simplistic, yet symbolic world of images of the early 1990s, characteristic of pop art, when American consumer culture and its cult of brands infiltrated the columns of Soviet realism in a strange manifestation. Mäetamm took an honest stance on this phenomenon on the art stage. Frankly and convincingly, he has moved through time and its manifestations, with his art, selflessly until today. Marko Mäetamm is an author with a keen sense of the individual as well as the general.
After all, the psychological underpinnings of Mäetamm’s works, with their personal artistic language, have always been an input for a closer look, focusing on the peculiarities of being human, sometimes with shocking directness. Subtly ironising what for him is a completely unnecessary and incomprehensible concealment of the real reasons for life – games that appear to be one thing but are actually another. Mäetamm takes on the sometimes hooligan role of an artist who exposes the faces of the world, painting the provocatively, embarrassingly personal and intimate. Such, in fact, are Marko Mäetamm’s doomsday flowers – revealingly eloquent. Their supposedly beautiful blossom unfolds to the attentive observer as grotesque, endearingly wicked, cunningly oppressive, startlingly selfish and mischievous.
The pure white innocent tones of the paintings and the lusciously beautiful blossoms and delicious fruits of the flower creatures further accentuate the two-piece contrast of this series. The artist’s portrayal of the dubious ambitions of the ‘flowers’ of the end of the world is enjoyable and hilarious.
In painting these flowers, Marko Mäetamm has clearly sought the extremes of human embodiment in different situations. Referring to the conflict between the roles we take on in life, or the roles we are forced to take on, and our true nature, when we still want to believe that everything is always beautiful and good, just like Marko’s flowers at the end of the world…
As part of the exhibition, an animated catalogue of Marko Mäetamm’s works has also been produced in collaboration with film artist Nando Grancelli, presenting Mäetamm’s various interpretations of himself against the backdrop of two-faced flowers.
From the end of the world, the flowers have brought their own special fragrance to the exhibition hall, which perfume artist Kai Laidla has collected and which can be smelled next to each flower.
Curator Piia Ausman