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Edith KARLSON – Family

Edith KARLSON – Family © Hedi-Jaansoo-and-KUMU-Art-Museum

Estonia, 2019

Concrete, metal, mixed media, Dimensions variable, height approximately 120 cm

Purchased from the artist in 2023


Taking a closer look

Family (2019) is an installation composed of three monstrous animal figures that are arranged together to depict an unusual family portrait. The protagonists of this fictional scene are a child and its parents who are given human characteristics and behaviours. They appear to look over towards the same direction and are staged with eerily similar crooked smiles smeared across their lizard-like face. Their bandaged and cracked bodies, a result of raw concrete casting, are strikingly tactile when staged in an over-lit clinical environment. The materials, forms and space all become an important part of a performative, almost carnivalesque, world. This installation follows a series of works by the Estonian artist where animals are used as allegories to discuss the connection between people and the environment, such as the unique family environment here displayed.


Taking a closer look to Karlson’s large-scale work, a miniature box rests on the lap of one of the parents. This framed assemblage depicts a “traditional model (nuclear) family”, with mother, father and their two children happily playing in a colourful living room. This contrasting scene is typical of her art practice characterized as narrative art; taking the form of allegorical or mythological narratives, her fictitious landscape provides an alternative form of existence, creating different worlds and realities for the viewer, as well as the ability to create fantastic narratives that are closer to reality than one might initially perceive. Commenting on contemporary society, Family serves as a powerful reminder of equality, self-determination, and individual freedom, as “family” is ultimately a community of love and harmony among people.

Edith Karlson, Family, Estonia, 2019
Concrete, metal, mixed media.
Detail

Art in Democracy

Edith Karlson's Family is currently on display at the European Parliament as part of the exhibition Art in Democracy (23 October - 30 June 2024). The exhibition displays the critical and personal visions of the featured artists who, through their artistic production, have taken a clear position in favour of defending democracy. They contribute to reinforcing awareness of the need to stand up for democratic freedoms, pointing towards the duty to remain alert and participatory in processes as decisive as the European elections. In this connection, they remind us that European citizens have a crucial role to play in defending democracy by voting in the upcoming European elections in June 2024.

More artists from the following country:
Estonia

TIMELINE
Edith KARLSON : Family, 2019 - On display in Parlamentarium, Brussels

Edith KARLSON – Family

Edith KARLSON

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