Marko Mäetamm’s art practice is very autobiographical, focusing on family life and society, exploring the grey area between what is private and public through a variety of media such as photography, sculpture, animations, painting, and text. His work is humorous despite its sometimes dark content, with stories, very personal and intimate at first sight, that are in fact relevant to each of us as they touch on some very basic human instincts. Often what they depict is so close to our experience that we don’t recognise it, or sometimes not so comfortable to talk about.
Internationally renowned for his observations on domesticity - the politics of family life (especially his own) – more recently in his work he has been making explicit reference to current affairs in the world at large. His recent projects embody the angst we all feel as we swing wildly between everyday “little local difficulties” and the urgency of major international problems.
Mäetamm brings his dry sense of humour to bear on both global awfulness and seeming triviality, encouraging us to consider more closely what it is that motivates our behaviour. Why are we so self-destructive? Can the religious fanaticism of the suicide bomber – “more in love with death than life” – be too easily read as a symptom of the kind of low self-esteem and feelings of powerlessness that hang out in countless teenagers’ bedrooms? Are we any more than mammals with an especially selfish gene? Mäetamm's combinations of paintings, drawings, videos and sculptures places emphasis on such questions.
Marko Mäetamm (b. 1965, Estonia) lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia. He studied printmaking art at the Estonian Academy of Arts, where he received his B.A. in 1993 and his M.A. In 1995. His work has been exhibited at such international venues as Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA) (2019); Pera Museum (2017); Gallery Iragui, Moscow, Russia (2014 and 2019); the IKON Gallery, UK (2014); NADA Art Fair, Miami, Florida (2012); Wäinö Aalto Museum, Turku, Finland (2009); Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, New York City (2009); la Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2003 and 2007); Gallery Platan, Budapest, Hungary (2001); and many other places. Mäetamm has received numerous awards such as the Kristjan Raud Annual Award, Estonia (2000), the Baltic Assembly Prize for the Arts (2009), and the Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (2011). He was given the Estonian State Decoration, Order of the White Star, V Class in 2008, and in 2003 and 2007 represented Estonia at the Venice Biennial.