TRACES Project

Traces project is an experimental collaboration between two sisters Helen Sirp & Sandra Sirp, touching upon the same topic, whilst interpreting it in their own characteristic medium. The end result is a conceptual dialogue between paintings and photographs, allowing the works to develop new meanings within a site-specific installation – a curated journey through the translucent layers of time.
Traces Exhibition Sandra & Helen Sirp

The first installation took place in Tallinn Portrait Gallery 1.11.2019 – a series of 3 consecutive rooms in a medieval townhouse were designed to flow from light to dark. Metaphorically a derelict ghost-house, the scattered furniture and objects were all covered and wrapped in white canvas. The rooms had suspended fabric walls in order to discover the work through translucent layers. A soundscape of sounds from afar from the last dark room echoed through to the spaces.

The still-life images are creative collaborations between Helen and various photographers in London and Tallinn. Concepts inspired by past situations were interpreted as different themes, resulting in a curated visual vocabulary of symbolic objects, layers and lines, shapes and shadows, composed in controlled studio settings as well as in relevant locations in Estonian nature.

Photographers: Holger Kilumets, Iris Kivisalu, Studio Prokopiou

Helen Sirp Art Direction Styling & Interior Design

The second installation – Totems of Time in Viinistu Art Museum Water Tanks gallery brought together perishability and persistence, contrasting lightness and weight, appreciating the past echoes as beautiful assets that form our presence. The roads we walk on are lined with stones, restoring energy and experiences- a visual dialogue of minimalist painted lines and shapes accompanied by still life photographs of totems (in collaboration with Nick Dunne Photography). The movement of time was emphasised by the changing shadows within the two circular water barrel spaces, the light reflecting and moving like a sundial. The duality and echoes resonate sonically in the metal walls, interpreted into a minimalist soundscape by Mart Männik.

Traces Totems of Time Exhibition Sandra & Helen Sirp

The paintings are artist’s subconscious streams of thoughts and cognitions, with the process playing an important role in the work- slow, monotonous, repetitive, meditative and disciplinary. Along these lines are the stones totems- surrealist shapes of reflections and no gravity, like magic milestones along the way.

Helen Sirp Spacial Design Traces
Inversions Exhibition

Traces Project was also chosen to be a part of a group exhibition in NYC Rivaa Gallery October 2019 Inversions- Contemporary Art Inspired by the Architecture of Louis Kahn. William J.R. Curtis wrote, “Kahn’s architecture is full of inversions: masses which suddenly seem weightless, materials which dissolve into immateriality; structures which reverse load and support; rays of light which reveal the realm of shadows; solids which turn out to be voids.” Known for combining Modernism with the weight and dignity of ancient monuments, Kahn used simple shapes and simple materials to design preternaturally beautiful structures that sought to create transcendent experiences.

Helen Sirp Creative Direction

The minimal-monumental ensemble of 2 paintings and 2 photographs formed a symmetrical altar completed by a mirror infinity sculpture of pillars and a stone totem of time.

Exhibition Photography: Tõnu Tunnel, Rasmus Jurkatam, Etienne Frossard