2022 Birgit Pählapuu THE RIOT OF FLIES

The symbolism of fly is rather ominous, but despite this or precisely because of this, it is also a muse for many writers: as a symbol of feud and bloodlust or nuisance and disgust, as a sympathetic interlocutor or as an all-seeing eye on the wall. In the case of Pählapuu, the fly represents a riot against everything and everyone, but also a call for mutual understanding.

The flies come out if it’s warm enough. Do we like it? No! We start rebelling against them, we start fighting them because we don’t like them. They buzz! They land on our food! They defecate everywhere! They are parasites! They must be destroyed! But do you always have to rebel against everything? How would you feel if you had to live every day knowing that someone could just beat you with a whip? The series, dealing with the theme of provocation and rebellion, uses the image of a fly that has woken up from sleep, and raises the question, could we perhaps coexist peacefully instead of destroying someone?

Although Pählapuu is primarily a glass artist, her work is closely intertwined with photography and installation. The installative “Riot of the Flies” also consists of winged creatures in flameworking and neon techniques, which are placed on a photo background, white acrylic or metal frame. Located on various surfaces in the gallery, they undoubtedly create a brooding and harassing feeling: the flies have risen up against humanity’s spitefulness, so the rebellion has become two-way. At the same time, their milky or transparent color symbolizes peace, although the white color can always change. In this way, the viewer is left free to see other interpretations and meanings that are not strictly framed. In any case, the author urges us to look beyond our own nose, consider others and get out of our personal comfort zone.

The works of the series “Riot of the Flies” have previously been presented, among others, at a group exhibition in Georgia and at the ArtVilnius art fair, but the theme of rebellion has inspired Pählapuu before as well: in the series “My Silent Protest” she expressed the inner and nonviolent resistance of human nature in a combination of neon glass and photomontage, the power of thought, which can be more powerful than a protest march on the streets.

Birgit Pählapuu (1981) holds both a master’s degree (2016) and a bachelor’s degree (2010) from the Estonian Academy of Arts in glass art. In addition, she studied at the Prague Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design (2008) and obtained a bachelor’s degree (2002) in international business management from the Estonian Business School. She has participated in master classes of flameworking and courses in videography, etching and glass fusing in Estonia, Finland and Italy. Pählapuu has participated in domestic and foreign exhibitions since 2008 and has organized exhibitions since 2017. In 2007 she was awarded a creative scholarship named after Maks Roosma and since 2010 she has been a member of the Estonian Association of Glass Artists. In addition to her personal career as an artist, Pählapuu is one of the founders and leaders of Okapi Gallery, thus contributing to the promotion and development of the work of her colleagues.