Merike Estna & May Hands:
Preview Milan 2019

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30 October –

3 November 2019

Palazzo Cramer, Milan

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The fourth edition of Preview was presented in October 2019 at Palazzo Cramer, in via Fatebenefratelli 5 in Milan, taking place at the same time as Artissim in Turin. BeAdvisors Art Deparment, hosted four international galleries in their spaces: Bosse & Baum from London, Rodríguez Gallery from Poznań, SUPRAINFINIT from Bucharest and Steve Turner from Los Angeles.

Bosse & Baum presented a selection of works on paper by Merike Estna from the Daily Painting series and a selection of wall-based objects by May Hands.


Merike Estna pushes the limits of painting as both idea and action: with her expressive style, the Estonian artist unites an abstract visual language that seems to be taken from our digital age with motifs from myths and folk tales. In her work, an inviting openness converges with an understated sense of humour, examining the tradition-laden structures that have come to be associated with the medium of painting in particular. This series of works entitled Daily Paintings, is part of 146 works on paper, made by Merike Estna over the course of 146 days. Each one is numbered, dated and marked with the location where is was made, contributing to the artist’s own mythology. The series was intended to document a period of the artist’s life, when she was balancing studio time and exhibition making, with her teaching role as Associate Professor in Painting at the Estonian Academy of Art as well as visiting tutor in Tartu Art School in Estonia.

Through social and performative elements, Merike Estna’s installations are transformed into user-friendly stage designs that direct the viewer. The painterly medium is allowed to expand beyond frame and canvas, taking over both the exhibition space and the human body. The works occasionally function as props or objects and take the shape of benches, tables, floor or wearable items of clothing. Merike Estna also introduces handicraft techniques, such as ceramics, into her installations. Through her choice of motifs, creative processes, materials and poetic titles, the viewer’s understanding and interpretation is led in several different directions including historical, political and personal dimensions. In Merike Estna’s work, painting becomes a living, fluid substance with unforeseen possibilities, and where the spiritual meets the physical. It is perhaps less about the medium per se and more about an attitude and a sense of freedom that is allowed to permeate the entire process as well as its outcome.

Merike Estna (b. 1980, Tallinn) lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia. She has graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts with a Bachelor’s degree in painting and from the Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 2009 with the Master’s degree in art practice. Her performative work has been exhibited at Baltic Triennial 13, Give Up The Ghost, Tallinn; Kiasma Art Museum, Helsinki; Performa 17 and Art in General, NYC; Chart, Copenhagen and elsewhere. Her solo exhibitions include Kunstraum, London; Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga; Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn; Bosse & Baum Gallery, London; Karen Huber Gallery, Mexico City; Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, Tallinn and others. She was awarded Konrad Mäe prize, Estonia 2014 and has been an associate professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts since 2017. She is represented by Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, Tallinn and Karen Huber Gallery, Mexico City and is collaborating with Bosse & Baum, London. Currently she is participating in an exhibition at KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia and has a solo show at Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden running from 25 October 2019 until 26 January 2020.

May Hands  sources materials from her daily environment both manmade and natural to create new objects and sensory experiences. These collected urban and natural debris are interwoven together through various processes. She celebrates and reveals qualities and new identities of the materials she works with, reflecting upon seasonal cycles, sensuality and the inherently curated aspect of our everyday consumption and desires.

Dusk and Shoreham Beach II are both a continuation of May Hands’ series Horizons that take on an introspective and meditative approach to making on returning to living by the coast. Seasonal changes in a coastal environment provide a contrasting backdrop to her previous urban location and reference place, material and light, with observations of nature’s transitions from land, sea and sky. This use of layering has many meanings, but most pertinently references atmospheric conditions, such as mist or the changing of light. In addition, these works invite the viewer to consider commercially based technological filters in contemporary society, including media advertising and, at a more autobiographical level, their own selection and manipulation of imagery on social media pages.

Spider and My Sister Lives in New York, were made whilst in residence at Bosse & Baum in August 2018, where Hands used the gallery as a studio space to create intimate and sensual installations as well as paintings. Exploring materials in terms of their texture, surface, form and colour. These works look at a textile approach to making painting, layering materials as though applying layers of paint. The works all consider handmade culture and have been laboriously knitted, woven, crocheted or dismantled by the artist.

May Hands , (b.1990, Brighton) is currently studying for a MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths and graduated with a BA in Fine Art Painting from Camberwell College of Art (UAL) in 2013. Recent solo exhibitions include:  Best before end, White Crypt, London (2019), May Hands: Artist-in-Residence, Bosse & Baum, London (2018), I’ve Loved You For a Long Time, Supplement, London (2018), Horizons, Coachwerks Gallery, Brighton (2017), and Freschissimi, T293, Rome (2015). Selected group shows include: The romance of flowers, Kingsgate Project Space, London (2018), SURPLUS (w Sean Roy Parker), Peak Art, London (2018), Counter Quality, 650mAh, Brighton (2018), On Cold Spring Lane, Assembly Point, London (2017), Sell Yourself, East Street Arts, Leeds (2017), Maybe your lens is scratched? The Averard Hotel, London (2016), Not Every Thread Ties Down/ Your Split Ends Are Showing?, DKUK, London (2016), Artificial Arcadia, Bosse and Baum, London (2016), Women’s Art Society II, MOSTYN, Llandudno (2015).

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