APPRECIATED AND ABANDONED BOOKS I
5.07.-10.09.2017 Kondas Centre, Viljandi
The exhibition curated by sculptor Anne Rudanovski APPRECIATED
AND ABANDONED BOOKS I is the opening exhibition of a series
attempting to study, and raise questions about, the meaning of the book
as a format. The opening exhibition is focused on reference books.
In the spotlight are encyclopaedias, dictionaries, atlases and their fate in
Estonia’s brief encyclopaedic history (the first one in this field, “Eesti
Üleüldise teaduse raamat ehk encyklopädia konversationi-lexikon” was
published in 1900).
Due to ideological and social changes and technological development,
the situation has arisen where books that contained a concise overview
of the knowledge of mankind or the knowledge in a certain field of
expertise have suddenly fallen out of traditional use, have lost their
former role, and are now deposited in homes and institutions (e.g. the
first Soviet Estonian Encyclopaedia was printed in 220,000 copies).
What will become of this deposit layer around us?
This conceptual art exhibition invites you to think along about the
changing role of books in our lives.
The second part of the exhibition deals with the notion ‘repository’.
Repository, Latin repositorium, is simply a data storage or bank. The
Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives further definitions, which claim the
repository may also mean a place, room, or container; a side altar in a
Roman Catholic church; something that contains or stores something
nonmaterial; a place or region richly supplied with a natural resource,
and a person to whom something is confided or entrusted.
Entering the exhibition hall, the visitor feels as if stepping into a library.
This matches the concept one hundred percent, because the building of
the Kondas Centre was the home of the Viljandi library for a long time
(1948-2002). For years, most rooms of the Kondas Centre were filled
with books, so it was a real repository. Books collected for the exhibition
are like ‘ghost’ books, with no backs to identify them. Sunlight gets into
the room through small openings between the books stacked on
windowsills, as if through small windows. Assemblages on stands
introduce us the changed meanings: the cubes folded of Soviet-era
encyclopaedia pages form a Sierpinski carpet-like maze of cubes. Texts
on the cubes are readable; copied and enlarged explanatory texts of
selected articles hang on walls. On the librarian’s abandoned desk are
encyclopaedic characters, peoples, animals, and birds of the world.
Estonian Cultural Endowment, Estonian Print & Paper Museum,
Repository Library of Estonia, Fahrenheit 451 bookstore, Tartu Art
School, Viljandi City Library, Raamikoda, Viljandi antikvariaat, Edith
Hermann, Kalju Tammaru, Evelyn Reemann, Elisabeth Rudanovski.
Written by Anne Rudanovski and Mari Vallikivi.