On 8 February, artist Silvia Sosaar‘s shoe-polishing service “SHINY SHOES SALON” opens in Tallinn, at EKA Gallery.
Shoe shining service, a durational performance piece encompassing all ten days of the exhibition at the EKA Gallery, is an action parallel to the series of performances, which took place prior to the opening. In public spaces, in front of the official entrances of Ministries of the Estonian Republic, the artist offered a shoe-polishing service for a bargaining price. In the gallery space, she creates an environment where fragments of performances in photo, sound and video will recreate the play enacted in public, while melting into the decor of the imaginary shoe-polishing salon. As it goes, the whole project is initiated by acting under a shield of sorts, a “camouflage of humility”, so that she could safely position herself in the bordering entrance areas of the government institutions. The artist lured the white collar office workers entering their daily posts to position themselves as superior to the service-provider, but at the same time putting them into a somewhat vulnerable situation, as they were literally required to trust themselves into the caring hands of the service provider, rather extraordinary in our culture, particularly when happening in public. And now, try to visualise your personal “SHINY SHOES SALON” in your head, imagine the conversational bits barely uniting the two parties involved in the shoe-polishing trade, trying to break the uncomfortable silence and think on the petty cash handed over to the shoe-polisher for her services – and you think your job is bad!
Silvia Sosaar (b. 1979) is an artist living and working in Tallinn. In 1998–2004 she studied English language and journalism at the University of Tartu. She has spent a year studying television production at the Baltic Film and Media School. In the spring of 2017, she graduated from the BA studies at the Photography Department of Estonian Academy of Arts. In autumn 2017 she began her MA studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts. She is the member of the Estonian Photographic Association (FOKU), co-founder and general manager of the publishing house ‘;paranoia’ and has participated at its numerous performances. Sosaar is a founder of publishing house ‘skaala publishing’. She is the member of artistic collective ‘Umbrella Grupp’ since 2016.