Sandra Jõgeva

Sandra Jogeva was born in 1976. They are an installation and performance artist, writer and documentary filmmaker living and working in Tallinn. Their debut film titled Love… (2017) has won several movie awards in Estonia. They are currently working on a new documentary about the Soviet informal art scene and its connections to the West, titled Art and the Cold War. Esthetic resistance. As an artist, their preferred mediums are currently sculptural installations and, as they call it, stand up tragedy.

Location: Prelude, Riga

Sandra Jõgeva is a celebrated, undaunted, scandalous, revered and feared documentary filmmaker, writer and columnist, curator and interdisciplinary artist whose practice ranges from performance to sculpture and installation. The array of their activities come with all kinds of controversy, testing the vulnerability of human limits, and displaying emotional sincerity that gets mixed up with manipulation. They are perceived as an angry woman, who decimates those in positions of unearned power and expresses admiration for those who embody social marginality to the extent of absurdity.

Throughout their career, Jõgeva has questioned how to break free from controversial perceptions or how to avoid becoming a mascot for a particular identity? Although they are not gay they have found a place for themselves in the Estonian gay Christians community and have simultaneously sold sexual services and incorporated male BDSM submissives into their daily life as cleaners. Jõgeva is known to be a loud drinker, picking fights when bored at parties, while advocating on the other hand for the fight against alcoholism and drug abuse that ruins so many lives around us.

A decade ago, before feminism became fashionable, there was a tendency for some online commentators, curators and artists to call Sandra Jõgeva a feminist as an insult, despite the fact that many self-acclaimed feminists did not accept her practice to be feminist. Therefore, it was quite obvious that they fell into the feminist crisis of identity and asked themselves which particular type of feminist they could be? What would they gain and lose by aligning with the label? How would it impact their sexual life? Would committing to feminism somehow be a defeatist act of giving up one’s heteronormative femininity? What’s the value of heteronormativity when summing up its pros and cons?

For the Baltic Triennial 13, Jõgeva presents a pair of framed silicone breasts the first version of which was shown at their solo-show Pentinence at the Draakoni Galerii, Tallinn in 2010. Society has numerous ideas about women’s breasts – their function, size, rules of presentation in public and they are used as metaphors in discussions determining a woman’s social role, age, body shape and sex appeal. Sandra has depicted the breasts of overweight women in ephemeral soft materials a number of times, and each time the works have been violated by the audience, just like the female sex robots that have been destroyed at robot fairs all over the world. How does a person relate to bare breasts in public space? Will this set also be mauled or is it possible for the audience to just look at them with their eyes and stay cool?

– Rebeka Põldsam