Janna Holmstedt

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E-mail: mail[at]jannaholmstedt.com
Cell phone: +46 (0)709 700 710

| works | projects | writing |stage | statement | resumé | recent and upcoming
| works | projects | writing |stage | statement | resumé | recent and upcoming
| works | projects | writing |stage | statement | resumé | recent and upcoming
| works | projects | writing |stage | statement | resumé | recent and upcoming
| works | projects | writing |stage | statement | resumé | recent and upcoming

Monument for the Masses

This 2-year project consists of a proposal for a counter-monument, a campaign to gain support for the proposal, an exhibition and a website. Collaboration with Po Hagström (Trial and Error), 2005-2006.

Read the proposal for a counter-monument (external website) >>


Being in Tallinn as a foreign artist during three months in 2005, it was impossible not to receive knowledge about "Kalevipoeg", the protagonist of the Estonian national epic. The epic was written by F. R. Kreutzwald in a romantic, nationalistic tradition in mid 1800s. In late1990s artist Tauno Kangro proposed a monument in the sea depicting Kalevipoeg – as a Tallinn counterpart to the Statue of Liberty. He has gained support among politicians and found businessmen willing to sponsor his 14 meter bronze sculpture, but he met strong opposition among a larger part of the cultural elite.
The Kalevipoeg-monument stirs up strong emotions and debates. It also points to the need of getting real when dealing with complex questions related to national identity, representaion and the use of public space – its democratic, symbolic and commercial aspects. To get real we sometimes need to make mistakes. We decided to get real.

A proposal, a campaign and a website
We listened to the arguments and presented a proposal for how to positively transform Kangro’s monument
into a ”Monument for the Masses”. At the same time we released a website with related research, which also functioned as a campaign platform. ("Positively transforming" refers to a slogan used in the Estonian nation branding campaign that accompanied the launch of a new logo for the country in 2002).
On the website you can read about nation branding; how national heroes are created; Stalin-statues in Hungary; the reactions among the Taino people against a monument to Columbus in Puerto Rico; how to build for the future; French identity-soup and much more. The website was released May 17, 2006. It is represented at Rhizome.org ArtBase, an archive of media art at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York.

The exhibition
In the exhibition ”Trial and Error – Monument for the Masses” at Tallinn City Gallery / Linnagalerii, Sep 14 – Oct 1, 2006, we took a closer look at the rituals surrounding art in public space, in an Estonian and Swedish context. Why are there so many naked women in Swedish cityscapes? Are they in any way related to the Soviet Bronze Soldier in Tallinn? Can public art be democratic? Should monuments exist forever? Who is the sender and who is the receiver in this very special kind of mass communication?
The exhibition included drawings, video, installation and a campaign to promote our own counter-monument. In the exhibition and on the website it was possible to post opinions and suggestions as well as to support our proposal for a Monument to the Masses.

See more images here >>

Go to website >>

Related articles:
"Welcome to ESTonia. En roadmovie i fem delar", Paletten #270-271, 2008 (SV) >>
”Some Day They’re Gonna Name A Street After Me”, Estonian Art #2:2006 (EN) >>

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