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Karel Koplimets

Case No. 13. Waiting for the Ship of Empties



On show in Kiasma’s exhibition is a homemade boat on which the artist Karel Koplimets sailed from Porkkala, Finland, to Tallinn, Estonia, in August 2016. The craft is made of a wooden frame, an outboard motor and some five thousand beer cans filled with polyurethane. The cans were collected in Helsinki with the help of social media. Almost all the cans are Estonian. Crossing the Gulf of Finland on the barge took eight hours. Videos documenting the construction of the craft and the journey form a part of the work.

Koplimets has described his beer-can barge journey as a symbolic story of the homecoming of one Estonian worker. The artist is interested in the monetary flows and trade between Finland and Estonia. Finns go to Tallinn for cheap alcohol, while Estonians come to Finland for jobs and better pay.

The artist points out that the funds obtained from alcohol taxation in Estonia are used, among other things, for promoting culture. In other words, Finnish booze cruisers help to support Estonian art.

Karel Koplimets

Born 1986 in Estonia. Lives in Tallinn.

Karel Koplimets has taken up the topic of ferry traffic between Finland and Estonia in several works. The photographs of the series Case No. 11 TALSINKI (2017) depict Finnish booze cruisers on one hand, and Estonian work commuters to Finland on the other. Koplimets’s artworks are investigative and analytical in nature, and he calls his works Cases.

Photo: Manuel Mägi.

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