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Singular Inner Worlds

Marju Mutsu and Reti Saks (Laanemäe) 

This exhibition presents the graduation projects of two notably distinct female print artists: Marju Mutsu (1941–1980), who graduated in 1969, and Reti Saks, formerly Laanemäe (1960), who obtained her diploma in print art in 1987. From the outset, both artists displayed a unique and unmistakable style. They both engrave their visions with a sharp needle onto the acid resistant layer of a metal plate using intaglio printing, specifically etching. Their interpretations of the world are profound and characterised by a strong sense of generalisation – albeit expressed in entirely different ways.

Marju Mutsu’s vibrant series Youth comprises six prints, each titled thematically: Wind, Truth, Tenderness, Song, School and Earth. On one hand, we observe the spirit of the 1960s reflected here, capturing the fast-paced rhythms of contemporary life, alongside determined-looking men with strong jawlines. On the other hand, we encounter unprecedented forms in Estonian printmaking, witty suggestions, fragmentation of the pictorial space, as well as emotional experiences, mental states, and the beauty of nature’s fragments. The uniqueness of Mutsu’s print art lies not only in its dynamic expression and Astrid Lindgren-like humour, but also in its exploration of all the possibilities of intaglio printing and bold experimentation: at times, the plate is not completely wiped clean of printing ink, the outlines of recognisable figures blend into abstraction, and the surface of the printing plate itself becomes a character.

The joyful print artist departed from us prematurely, at the young age of just 39.

Reti Saks’ series of seven images Games exudes a more subdued and static tone. From the outset, the artist has been on a quest for answers to life’s profound mysteries, delving into the enigma of life and death. The depth of exploration, sometimes even penetrating the surface of the image itself, is evident in the sheet titled Deep Print. Other prints, like Stairs, Ribbon and Walker, signify human choices, whereas works such as Eye to Eye, Hand and Picture illustrate the enigmatic ways in which the world can be perceived. The artist reflects the world through herself, with her images literally bearing her own visage. In a metaphysical expanse of imagery, a semi-frozen figure of a child-woman emerges, often in repetitive iterations, reminiscent of the artist herself. This deeply introspective exploration of the world is both painful and melancholic, yet it is also rich and multi-layered.

Reeli Kõiv
curator of the exhibition

Graphic design: Pärtel Eelmere

Mutsu & Saks
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Posted by Andres Lõo

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