31 Jul 2020

Jaanika Peerna: 'ReRouted Flight' at Tallinn Art Hall

Zoë Foster

Jaanika Peerna: 'ReRouted Flight' at Tallinn Art Hall

Environmental artist Jaanika Peerna exhibits her first self-performing artwork at Tallinn Art Hall this summer.

Jaanika Peerna’s artwork ‘​ReRouted Flight’ is the first self-performing piece by the artist. Jaanika Peerna exhibits the artwork for the first time at the Tallinn Art Hall / Tallinna Kunstihoone , Estonia.

ReRouted Flight
ReRouted Flight, 2020. Jaanika Peerna

The original form of the piece is a signature wall installation by the artist. This consists of a hand cut drawing on mylar. The work is installed on a wall in the museum. Instructions for how to activate the artwork sit alongside it . Once installed, visitors are then encouraged to interact with it throughout the course of the exhibition. This process is then repeated for the next installation and activation. The work is constantly evolving.

ReRouted Flight
ReRouted Flight, 2020. Jaanika Peerna

The artwork comes complete with a starting position, magnets and instructions. Next to the piece is a shelf with a pencil, as well as hand sanitiser, due to the current pandemic. The audience are actively encouraged to engage with the piece. After that, they activate with it both through moving the artwork with the magnets provided. They can also draw around it.

ReRouted Flight
ReRouted Flight, 2020. Jaanika Peerna
ReRouted Flight
ReRouted Flight, 2020. Jaanika Peerna

Instructions for activation

Instructions on the wall state:

  1. This work is attached to the wall by three tiny magnets on fixed nails. Feel free to rearrange it by moving the magnets, and moving the corners of the work to different nails.
  2. Once you have rearranged the work, you may trace around the whole shape with the pencil provided.
  3. After drawing your outline, feel free to take a picture of this always-changing work and share it using #PeernaLend
Peerna ReRouted Flight
ReRouted Flight, 2020. Jaanika Peerna

As each person interacts with the piece, they leave traces of their presence behind. To start with, the pencil marks on the wall become the layers of the time and experience of the piece. They mark how the work is constantly evolving. Similarly, the audience moves the work and traces it. In other words, the contour lines of graphite on the wall show every position through the period of installation. Therefore, they chart the history and story of the work. Equally, the piece is in constant flux with the movement of the mylar.

Reusing elements

Jaanika Peerna has used the original elements of the work in Tallinn, the mylar pieces, in previous installations. This installation therefore directly references an element of the installation from her recent solo show at Real Art Ways, ‘Cold Love’, in autumn 2019. As such, there is a sense of the artist’s personal history and experience on display. Similarly, in her recent practice, Jaanika consciously reuses elements of her sculptural installations. Therefore she connects elements and performances across her practice.

Glacier Elegy Performance

Jaanika Peerna

Glacier Elegy Performance

Performance, 2019

35 mins

Activation – Jaanika Peerna’s self-performing artwork

The activation of the piece is crucial for Jaanika. She calls the work ‘her first self-performing piece’. Therefore for her, the sense that the elements of the work live their lives in many locations and contexts is key. As a self-performing piece, the artist gives her audience the responsibility to activate the work. By giving her audience instructions for the artwork, Jannika Peerna passes over a sense of trust to them. She entrusts the work into the collective care of the people who interact with it. Therefore, she forces her audience to not only become part of its growth, but also stewards of the work.

View the work being activated here

The importance of audience participation

Audience participation is a key feature of much of Jaanika’s work. Spanning performance, drawing, sculpture and installation, she increasingly draws in her audience to join her. Similarly, this work relates to the performance piece Glacier Elegy​’, performed at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea and Art Depoo, Tallinn. In other words, in this performance, the audience become witness, participants and partners within the process of making and eroding the drawings.

Above all, environmental concerns are a key for the artist, as she highlights the climate emergency that surrounds us.

This exhibition runs between 20 June and 11 July 2020.

Jaanika Peerna portrait
Jaanika Peerna in her studio

About the artist

Jaanika Peerna is an Estonia-born artist who, since 1998, lives and works primarily in New York.

Peerna’s work encompasses drawing, video, installation and performance. Above all, she often deals with the theme of transitions in light, air, water and other natural phenomena. Similarly, she also often collaborates with designers, dancers and musicians within her performances.

The artist’s work has always been fueled by the forces of nature. However, since 2017 she has taken on a more specific approach. Above all, she is now deeply concerned with addressing the climate breakdown we are all surrounded by. This is seen, for instance, specifically in her Glacier Elegy Projects. 

Jaanika’s solo exhibitions include: Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT; Artdepoo Gallery and Vana-Wõromaa Cultural Center, Estonia; Salon b, Montreal; Espronceda Center for Art and Culture, Barcelona; Kentler International Drawing Space, New York. Her group exhibitions include Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Viinistu Art Museum Chapel, Estonia; International Paper Art Biennial, curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos, City Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Her performances include: The Bronx Museum, New York; Hudson Valley Centre of Contemporary Art: Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT.

Finally, her work is in important international collections including The Bennetton Collection, Italy; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales; Garrison Art Center, New York; Novosibirsk Art Museum, Russia and Imago Mundi.

VIew more works by Jaanika Peerna

(Photographs courtesy of Annika Tonts and Karina Niinepuu)