Projekt for Paldiski/Calling the Master
Paldiski is a small town with population of 3.000 on the northern coast of Estonia, about 40 kms from Estonian capital Tallinn. Until beginning of 90s it was closed territory of Soviet military submarine base. Historically the population of Paldiski has been divided into two, estonians and russian-speaking people who live side by side quite separately. From the point of view of the artists both suffered from the estrangement of its inhabitants from local politics and the rest of Estonia. The city government was dominated by the interests of oil transit companies; the town space, on the other hand, was nothing more than a decrepit Soviet-era military town and doesnt benefit much of that business. Both, the local Russian and Estonian community, however, are sharply aware of the fact that the fatherfigure of Estonian sculpture, Amandus Adamson (1855-1929), was born here, and that his work belongs to the opening chapters of national art history. He was educated in St. Petersburg Academy of Art and he is the author of several monuments that were erected in Russia as well as in Estonia. Briefly, Amandus Adamson is accepted by all in Paldiski.
In 2006 J and J decided to bring this cultural consensus to life in order to rouse the local population to take part in shaping the life of the town. In 2006 they conducted a poll among the locals, asking which Adamson's sculpture they would prefer to brighten the town space. Participation was massive; people discussed the future of their hometown with great enthusiasm, carrying out support and awareness events. In 2008, J and J carried out the final selection " the local inhabitants are asked to choose between three sculptures that have gained the most votes. The winner is The Ship's Last Sigh finished in 1899 " a lyrical composition of a female figure drowning in storm waves. The entire town became involved, even the towns government started to cautiously support the initiative and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia allocated a substantial grant to produce a enlarged copy of that sculpture to be erected in Paldiski.
The social change that had sprung up from the artists' initiative was well within reach. However, until autumn 2013 the initiative remained idle, with Paldiski still drifting in the backwash of oil transit business. Suddenly, in the wake of local elections events took sharp turn and sculpture found quickly its place in the public space. However, a month later the statue was removed by new elected authorities
The author of the project is artist group Johnson and Johnson / Tallinn, Estonia.