Marge Monko at Hobusepea Gallery


Artist: Marge Monko

Exhibition title: Hips Don’t Lie

Venue: Hobusepea Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia

Date:  April 27 – May 16, 2016

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist

At the current exhibition which borrows its title from the well-known pop song by Shakira, Marge Monko presents new works that study choreography of desire and its representation through images.

The exposition is introduced by the installation Dear Jane where a screenshot image of a workout video with Jane Fonda recorded in 1982 is turned into a wallpaper. Its title Jane Fonda’s Workout refers to exercising as labor which cycle, similarly to maintenance and homework, is never ending. The gym with Palladian windows and Fonda’s colourful lycra training outfit are one of the most vivid elements symbolizing Western lifestyle that Monko remembers from her childhood.

Next to it, there’s an installation titled New Romance which consists of automatic air refresheners, fashion magazines and fastening straps. The refresheners are spraying the fragrances in 10 minute intervals. The names of the scents – in this case Lush Hideaway, Mom’s Baking and Forest Waters – are echoing the titles found in fashion magazines.

In the downstairs space of the gallery the artist presents her new photographic series Ten Past Ten where she has cropped, enlarged and folded images of wrist watch advertisements that she’s bought from eBay. The photos depict male and female hands in carefully composed mise–en–scènes. The elements displayed in the photos – sleeves of garments, accessories like gloves or fake nails, and the time 10:10 shown on the watch faces – indicate various scenarios of romance and desire, as well as lend themselves to several narrative interpretations. Is it morning or evening? Is it a marriage or an affair?

The video Dear D focuses on contemporary ways of declaring one’s love. It has been recorded entirely on the computer screen, depicting a process of writing a love letter interrupted by browsing the internet, switching between tabs, and opening and closing the files. The voice over of the first-person narrator is guiding the viewer through the references that come up during the writing – texts by Siri Hustvedt, Eva Illouze, Chris Kraus, and others.

Marge Monko has studied photography at the Estonian Academy of Arts and at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, and works with photography, video and installation. Her works are often inspired by historical images and influenced by the theories of psychoanalysis, feminism and visual culture.

Monko has had solo exhibitions a.o. in Finnish Museum of Photography and in mumok, Vienna. Group exhibitions include Manifesta 9, Genk, Belgium; CCA Glasgow; Bétonsalon, Paris; Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, Ireland. In 2013-2015 she participated in studio program in HISK (Higher Institute for Contemporary Art, Ghent, Belgium); in 2015 she was in the artist residence in ISCP (International Studio & Curatorial Program) in New York.

Marge Monko is represented by Ani Molnár gallery (Budapest).


Marge Monko, Dear Jane, 2016


Marge Monko, Dear Jane, 2016


Marge Monko, Dear Jane, 2016


Marge Monko, Dear Jane, 2016



Marge Monko, New Romance I-III, 2016


Marge Monko, New Romance I-III, 2016 (detail)


Marge Monko, New Romance I-III, 2016 (detail)


Marge Monko, New Romance I-III, 2016 (detail)


Marge Monko, Ten Past Ten, 2015


Marge Monko, Ten Past Ten, 2015


Marge Monko, Ten Past Ten, 2015


Marge Monko, Ten Past Ten, 2015


Marge Monko, Dear D, 2015

Marge Monko, Dear D, 2015 (video excerpt)

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