Andres Tolts: Tunne Kelam – observer and intermediary
Kelam’s photographs show that he is not a pantheistic nature worshipper
but rather a grateful Christian observer and participant in
revelational communion. He shows us what he himself has seen. Kelam
does not rework or crop his photographs.
They are framed at the moment
they are taken, ensuring authenticity and immediacy. This approach
requires a very good sense of composition. Yet this is not a
documentary but an esthetic approach to the subject. He does not change
anything. He merely selects part of what actually exists. To be sure,
the selection is subjective, but for an artist this is understandable.
An artist is not a botanist or a geographer.
In a sense, Kelam’s photographs can be
considered hyperrealism because he shows what he sees. He does not
comment or add his own opinions or attitudes. His assessment reflects
only in his selection and the selection is the assessment.
The skies in his photographs can be
apocalyptical evening skies, optimistic dawns or the background
elements of peaceful midday landscapes. They are reminiscent of the
work of Caspar David Friedrich, but there is always something typically
Nordic as well. The meditative and revelational mood that we sense
depends not only on the subject but even more on the author. He is the
one who has made the selection. The part he has selected always
includes a generalization. This can be achieved only by an artist who
himself is clear on the relationship between the universal and the
particular. In Kelam’s case, we can feel this.
Just as we judge people by the choices
they make (there is, after all, freedom of choice), so we also evaluate
art. Kelam knows how to choose. His ability to see wonders and to
convey them to us is remarkable.