Almost every movement and action today is a subject to surveillance. What do we need in order for public and private life to thrive? Spaces that are absolutely free from the prying eyes of officialdom and others? In her recent works Mare Tralla explores these and other notions of privacy, security and surveillance. In her work she skillfully employs various media and styles, ranging from painting and video, live performance and photography to sculpture
In Aarhus Tralla combines two of her public interventions ‘Self-surveillance’ and ‘Protected’. In a tradition of feminist performace art in “Self-surveillance” Tralla ironically takes the act of surveillance and protection of her own body into her own hands. The artist equips herself with portable self-surveillance system, embedded into her clothing which is made visible by warning sign in her T-shirt and ironic large flowers housing the cameras. The system observes both the outside environment and her body, tracking and recording the movement and changes of space and body as the artist simply walks through different environments. The resulting ‘video evidence’ is a poetic animation of space and body but totally useless as surveillance evidence. In “Protected” Tralla continues the almost invisible actions as a series of live easel painting performances, ‘tracking the movements’ of CCTV cameras throughout city spaces. The artist will evoke this 16th century tradition, which set easel painters free from the constraints of painting on walls or fixed, architectural schemes and increased the social and intellectual status of the individual artist. By painting the motives of CCTV cameras she draws attention to the hidden, invisible or un-noticeable, in contemporary urban environment. The actions often take place in public locations, where photographing CCTV systems is not officially allowed thus also testing the rules and regulations which ‘protect’ the ‘protectors’. The simple action of painting in public is very visible and often provokes reactions from passers-by, who engage with the artist to discuss the issues around surveillance in their lives.
Mare Tralla (b 1967 Tallinn) lives and works in London. Her latest solo exhibitions were presented at Tallinn Art Hall Gallery and City Gallery, Tallinn, and Kunsthaus, Graz. Biennale participations include Singapore ISEA2008; Shiryaevo 2007; Berwick upon Tweed 2005 and Szczecin 2001. In 2008, she exhibited as part of Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh; Natural Relations, Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana; HacK.Fem.EAST, Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin; Borderstate, Art Museum of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, Guangzhou, China; Innovation, National Center for Contemporary Arts, Moscow; Multiplicities, ARC Projects, Sofia; Continuous Past, KunstiMUseum Art Museum, Tallinn. url: http://www.tralla.net