The annual international Tallinn Treff Festival of performance arts, held in the end of May, will be launched this year with an unprecedented performance. The festival will begin at 17.30 on 28 May on Vabaduse Väljak (Freedom Square) where statues of some of the greatest players in Estonian culture, carved out of construction foam Penosil, are put to public display.
The slender, close to four-metre tall foam sculptures will parade from Vabaduse Väljak towards Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square) where they will join the opening festivities of the XXX Old Town Days and the Tallinn Treff Festival. Later on, the foam sculptures can be spotted on the streets of the Old Town.

The eight sculptures are made by such sculptors, renowned on the Estonian architectural field, as Edith Karlson, Terje Ojaver, the author of successful grotesque installation “Passage of Souls” Jass Kaselaan and students of the Estonian Academy of Arts who have worked under the guidance of professors of the department of sculpture and the head of the department Jüri Ojaver.

“The foam sculptures mostly depict the most radiant persons who have tremendously affected and contributed to the process of shaping the Estonian culture,” Jaan Puusaag, the chairman of the management board of the leading European producer of construction chemicals and materials, described the Penosil sculptures. Puusaag said that he is glad to see artistic creation through an unconventional approach which adds value to the construction foam and contributes to overall cultural development.

The Penosil sculpture exhibition features statues of singer Georg Ots, prima ballerina Kaie Kõrb, conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, wrestler Georg Lurich, actress Ita Ever, historian Jüri Kuuskemaa, poet Juhan Viiding and president Lennart Meri. 

Maigi Magnus, one of the authors of the Penosil sculpture exhibition, said she is inspired by Kaie Kõrb’s movement which is exceptionally slender and powerful at the same time. It is an exciting challenge to shape this movement in sculpture, she said. “I use movement in this sculpture. While capturing a moment in time, I pinpoint an instant that will linger endlessly,” Magnus described the soon-to-be-finished statue of the ballerina.

Almost a thousand containers of Penosil construction foam and close to 70 litres of special colour coating have been dedicated for the statues. 

This year’s first sculpture that has been carved out of Penosil foam can be seen already from 25 to 27 May during Viljandi Treff. The statue will be opened for public on 25 May and it is currently planned to remain as a decoration of the pond of Ugala until the end of the festival.

However, the first ever foam sculpture appeared in the cityscape during the previous Old Town Days when a statue of a nun named Elsabe was carved out based on a legend told by Jüri Kuuskemaa and a design drawn by artist Kalju Kivi and displayed on Nunne Street by the building of the Estonian State Puppet Theatre. The statue of Sister Elsabe was an exceptional sight for local people and it quickly became a popular tourist attraction.

Making and displaying of foam sculptures in the cityscape will become possible thanks to fruitful cooperation of Krimelte, a leading European producer of construction chemicals and materials, the Estonian State Puppet Theatre and the Tallinn City Centre Administration.

Pictures of the last year’s sculptural celebrity Sister Elsabe are available here: