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REVIEW | Tanel Veenre: The Will and The Name of the Rose

Tanel Veenre: The Will and The Name of the Rose

Tallinn Art Hall Gallery

“The rose of old remains only in its name; we possess naked names.”

I enter a stark, vast, white-washed room that is virtually glowing with sunlight and like a vacuum, the door closes behind me, compelling me to enter. There is suddenly no sense of time, or of any time, and I am standing alone in deafening silence in a room that seems to simultaneously expand and retract as I find myself deliberately inhaling. There are no words, no images; only hints and mysteries and invitations. The Will, I realize, is a chronicle of everything: external, intuitive, cosmic.

Undulating folds of obtrusive wood and bone quietly protrude from walls and corners to interject themselves into my space to graze my elbow, whisper in my ear, or catch my eye just as they are about to escape my glance. The forms, which Veenre refers to as flounces, obscure all references until they simply become wondrous things: magical objects that exist despite me, because of me, for me, beyond me. Brooches, shoulder-pieces, neck-pieces, and bracelets become rhythmic conduits of the universe, concealing and revealing the infinite memories they cannot forget as they envelope and obfuscate the very figure they wish to enlighten and remind. They physically overwhelm my body, a masterful exclamation of reality that I, too, will become a memory that is so easily forgotten.

I pause at the entrance of the mausoleum for The Name of the Rose; hesitating, preparing myself for the exhale in this grand story of things. The entities of The Will behind me allowed for expansive contemplation and dialogue with a force outside myself; however, this intimate anthology feels like an epic saga that will mandate I look inward. It is complicated and verbal and decidedly human . Far more formal, fifteen monumental works ceremonially rest the length of a long dark gray wall, hot brash spotlights create exaggerated shadows that emphasize the verticality and scope of this canonized recollection of annihilated perceptions.

Tails and strings of leather are tethered to elegantly carved, open blank pages of jet, each lingers as romantic invitations to replace forgotten ideas, to displace the bookmarks of the past with new interpretations of history. Small books of Natural History or Hockey Romance are obliterated to become bracelets, chapters of verse are strategically and surgically removed to create holes that can only be replaced by the human wrist – a presupposing statement that history only becomes something, for me, through my own intervention. By destroying the book and what it represents, Veenre nullified the established content and lays open the prospect of replacing its occidental and perhaps esoteric wisdom with my own truths. My most precious secrets, my most private fears, my most meaningful experiences replace the banal catalogs of existence that words and men cannot conjure or capture.

In The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (a causal link for these works), he writes: “books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told.” In some ways this may be true, exhausted and calculated meanings really have no meaning at all; and in the end, they all become nothing. Yet, I still long for them, or some remnant of them. I wait to discover my place, to understand my story, in the grand history of things; convinced I have a new narrative to share. Veenre’s collections present unique interpretations of this conflicting universal reality and personal desire: one is vast and simple and rhythmic, the other complex and cognizant of our collective insufficiencies. I am patient for the stories waiting to be told, for the first time or the hundredth, and I willfully proffer myself and my own to expand the conversation. And so it is here, at the intersection of jewelry, language, and cosmic dust that perhaps, a new story will be told.

The Will and The Name of the Rose is open now through October 9, 2016 at Tallin Art Hall Gallery, located at Vabaduse Väljak 6, Tallinn, Estonia. For more, visit: For more information about the artist, Tanel Veenre, visit:

Images (from top to bottom): The Will, Neckpiece / Wood and The Name of the Rose, Necklace / jet, leather, silver; The Will, Brooches / wood, silver, cosmic dust and The Will, Pendants / wood, leather, silver, cosmic dust; The Name of the Rose, Bracelet / Natural History Book; The Name of the Rose, Brooch / tribolite, ebony, silver

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