Merike Estna & Maria Metsalu. Soft Scrub, Hard Body, Liquid Presence

17 Nov 2017 – 13 Jan 2018

Art in General

New York
New York, United States


Travel Information

  • Art in General is located one block south of Canal Street, between Broadway and Lafayette. Subways: 1, A-C-E, N-R-Q, J-Z, or 6 to Canal Street

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Art in General and Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia (CCAE) present an exhibition and performances by artists Merike Estna and Maria Metsalu, curated by CCAE Director Maria Arusoo.


The performances are part of PERFORMA 17 and kick off Art in General’s International Collaboration exhibition, Soft Scrub, Hard Body, Liquid Presence.

Soft Scrub, Hard Body, Liquid Presence observes a shift taking place in the realm of our aesthetic and emotional sensibilities. The exhibition wonders if our over-consumption of virtual space and submission to the stress of competition and acceleration has provoked a deep mutation in the psychosphere, exploring the zombified body as a response to today’s evolving societal structures.

Today, individuals suffer under the duress of a continuously fractured and precarious landscape and—even more acutely—an understanding of the self. Looking particularly to the female perspective, the exhibition attempts to address this uncanny, post-accelerationist body in its new surroundings, questioning our state of turmoil, loneliness, and uncertainty surrounding the future.

Merike Estna’s works echo contemporary social concerns with allusions to the digital, the nostalgic, and a romantic reverence for the parts of human existence that are currently mutating, melting, and slipping away. Her performative paintings and multidimensional works—including textiles, curtains, and clothing—question the diminished value of traditional female labor. Estna’s performance Red Herring engages painting as a stage for human interaction.

Maria Metsalu’s sculpture and video deal with the politicization of sexuality and the millennial body. She confronts our current conditions by taking her own body as the epicenter of her work, turning it into a shimmer as sublimely dull as that on a screen. Her performance Mademoiselle X blurs relationships between self and structure in a time of technological advancement and sociopolitical uncertainty.

The artist-founded, Tallinn-based publisher Lugemik also presents a mini-bookshop within the exhibition, open during gallery hours. Lugemik provides a specially-curated selection of books for browsing and for sale that contextualize the exhibition’s themes and provide a glimpse into the contemporary art scene in Estonia.

Performances by the artists presented in conjunction with PERFORMA
Friday, November 17, 5–8pm
Merike Estna, Red Herring

Friday, November 17, 7–9pm
Maria Metsalu, Mademoiselle X

Exhibiting artists

Maria Metsalu

Merike Estna


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