Inga Meldere's solo exhibition "House By the Waterfall or Colouring Books for Adults” at Temnikova & Kasela Gallery in Tallinn.
Inga Meldere's solo exhibition at Temnikova & Kasela gallery “House By the Waterfall or Colouring Books for Adults” examines the activity of colouring books. A method advocated for children for several centuries, in the last decade colouring has once more become widely popular among adults (the surge in activity was first noted after the Second World War). Of particular interest to the artist in the context of an increased exposure to images online, is the apparent increase in popularity of the activity with people who are not directly involved in creative work on a daily basis.
The process of colouring is often described as a relaxing and therapeutic pastime with an added benefit of inspiring more innovative thinking at work and in daily life. However, Meldere also points out the fundamentally more restricted framework of the colouring process when compared to creating a painting from scratch. The participants are faced with a visual narrative from the outset. Immersing themselves in the themes and references of the books that vary greatly, from homoerotic imagery to philosophical topics and subject from art history, they enter an image as opposed to imagining one. For Meldere, this distinction seems to open up questions closely related to her own practice – how does one relate to images they encounter? Does a process such as colouring allow for a more involved re-contextualising of an image or does it facilitate a passive following of its outlines?
This inquiry follows Meldere’s ongoing engagement with art history and its relation to “personal archive”, the way familiar images can exist in parallel to private memories, experiences. In her works for the show, Meldere elaborates on the idea of a complex and layered image, proposing a series of detailed, sophisticated and topical works. Meldere creates collaged pieces from various layers that are interlocked and engaged with in various ways. In her compositions, Ancient Greek athletes, illustrations from a hygiene brochure or blown up images of food can act as either outlines or as layers of colour. Here, colouring as an activity provides a framework for what a contemporary way of engaging with everyday images could be and what it can reveal about painting.