Andrus Joonas – Exhibition “Message to the Future”

From May 6 to June 25, the “Message to the Future” exhibition of paintings by Andrus Joonas (Estonia) can be viewed in the Pedvāle Art Park exhibition hall.

During his lifetime, Estonian artist Andrus Joonas (1970-2021) was connected to the Pedvāle Art Park by friendship and creative cooperation. Joonas’s large-format open-air paintings “Wonderbird and Many People” (2001) and “Wonderbird and the Lost Land” (2004), as well as several cycles of paintings were created in Pedvāle. With his performances, the artist participated in Pedvāle’s artistic events and was the curator of the performance art festival “Ritual” (2005).

For Andrus Joonas, Pedvāle was a source of inspiration. The landscape of Pedvāle with its open space entailing the sky, meadows, ravines, slopes, manor buildings and the valleys of the River Abava strongly appealed to the artist. His studio was set up in the former distillery building of the Briņķpedvāle Manor for several summers. In a building with only walls but no roof, Joonas worked in the early summer mornings before the heat of the day. The finished paintings lived under the open sky in the landscape of Pedvāle for several years.

In 2002, when the creative season of Pedvāle was dedicated to the theme of water, Joonas painted waterproof works, and in a performance, he went swimming in the River Rambulīte in the Pedvāle park taking his paintings along. With this performance, Joonas completely merged the boundaries between himself, the natural landscape and the works of art.

Performances, as well as installations and paintings were created by Joonas as ritualistic tools that he put in use to survive and overcome the challenges of life. He was constantly striving for the ideal – for the lost Golden City, which he had seen in his dreams. The Golden City was defined by absolute perfection; it was surrounded and permeated by love. However, Joonas was also haunted by the images of darkness, as he had experienced the suffering caused by confronting the destructive forces inherent in human nature. The clash of opposing forces is also revealed in his works.

Andrus Joonas had a special name for his art – ALEDOIA. It is the answer to all questions, it is the path and also the result of each subsequent work. ALEDOIA is repeated in every title of Joonas’s work, with a serial number added. The word has no translation, it is a concept created by the artist himself to characterize all his creative oeuvre.

The exhibition features the works of art from the collection of the Pedvāle Art Park. With the support of Andrus Joonas’s family, several paintings from the private collection of the artist’s relatives have also been included in the exhibition.

In cooperation with the Latvian Centre for Performance Art, a video with fragments from Andrus Joonas’s performances, as well as photos and video materials illuminating his activities in Pedvāle has been created. The video also includes an address to the audience in which Andrus Joonas reads the text of ALEDOIA message. In the introduction of the speech, he says that this is a message to the future. Since the artist’s death, these words have acquired a different sound and meaning. All his creative oeuvre can be seen as a message to the future and a testimony of his life, art and belief that we are part of a big, supernatural, loving universe.