NADA Artist Marko Mäetamm on Estonian Violence in His Work: "I'm Hunting Values, Not Animals"

Marko Mäetamm's warped children's book, Our Daddy is a Hunter, and paintings of houses with blood spewing made him one of the breakouts of this year's NADA art fair. The Estonian multimedia artist has twice represented his country at the Venice Biennale, so he's not exactly coming out of nowhere but, well, he is coming out of Estonia.

His Hunter book (the paintings are also available as rolls of wallpaper) and his Bleeding Houses are highly personal works that address violence in Estonian society.

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"I started out with the perspective of a kid who doesn't question his parents, even if they're a couple of assholes and are terrible people," Mäetamm told Cultist.

In Our Daddy is a Hunter, a loving child romanticizes the violence and cruelty of his hunter father.

"It's based on my own life as a family man," he said. "I hope I'm not a nightmare but I'm put in a position of a hunter in my life. I have two kids, a wife, bank loans. You have to put your boots on and get your gun. Me, I'm hunting values, not animals."

Mäetamm's Bleeding House series explores violence from a different angle.

"Houses are where people live and where things happen. Not much happens on the street but it does in people's houses. When you go for a walk, there's a very thin wall separating you from the insides of someone's house. Inside, there is definitely something happening. It could be good or bad things. But when you do terrible things, you close doors. That's where it happens."

For Mäetamm, violence isn't just limited to the home but anywhere that people think they can get away with it.

"I have a feeling when I see a building that it could make a good Bleeding House," he explained. "It could be a shape or an angle or some specific characteristic. It's not like I see blood pouring out of the windows and hear choral music, but I can feel that a building will work.

"In Estonian society, there is a big problem in that there are no laws to protect against domestic violence. If the police don't see it, then you can't complain. But obviously, they can't see it. The police would need to be everywhere, but they're not, so I show it in my art."

For more from Marko Mäetamm, visit maetamm.net.

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