The fine lines of constructiveness

Constructiveness is something clear, straightforward and optimal. All things superfluous have been cut. It can be found in ideas and acts that are contributing to development and creative progress, to reconstruction when all has been lost. Constructiveness emerges when means are scarce, energy low or when we need to be gentle with one another. It can also appear in natural clear-mindedness. Reconstruction perhaps refers to something that needs to be done after the war is over, at the same time, it is a process we go through constantly, every day, on a smaller or larger scale. We address chaos and traumas and try to find solutions.
Constructiveness does not mean merely “pointing to the sore points in society” but then just stopping there.

Applied art and making by hand is something people often turn to in order to find a release. Solace can be found in thinking without articulating, in the surrounding atmosphere or the people who have gathered to make something together – by making an object, another world is unconsciously created in the process. A better world can also be created intentionally, by consciously seeking and making practical choices along the way. Constructiveness in art means a willingness to experiment, innovate and make something new, to look for unexpected collaborations, to approach issues in a practical manner.

What are the ways and possibilities to construct something, to take things forwards and to be creative? How to invigorate our mind, body and soul? How is constructiveness reflected in love? How is resilience expressed between ruins?

We are seeking works that showcase individual or collective methods to move towards solutions. These can include resilient and empowering preservation craft skills inherited from ancestors. Or developing a series of artworks – thinking and finding resolve in the process. Settling on what is the most important.

We invite encounters with objects that provide us with ideas and stamina to live a better life. We seek strategies and models. We know that not all questions have definitive answers and there is no one single path suitable for everyone, but still, there are ways that lead to functioning, effective and constructive results.

Rise up! But not to the barricades.

Photo: Terje Ugandi


Maret Sarapu (1978) is an artist and curator based in Tallinn. She has graduated from the Department of Glass Art at the Estonian Academy of Arts (BA 2002, MA 2005). She has taken additional professional courses and been in artist residencies both in Estonia and abroad, including at the Creative Glass Center of America (USA), the Glass Centre of Sunderland University (UK) and GlazenHuis (Belgium).

She has curated and organised numerous glass art exhibitions in Estonia. Since 2017 she is one of the core team members of the Tallinn Applied Art Triennial. Sarapu is also the curator of the triennial’s main exhibition in 2024.

In addition to exhibitions in Estonia, Sarapu has also participated in group exhibitions in Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Germany, Turkey, USA. Sarapu’s artworks belong to a number of public collections: Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design (Tallinn, Estonia), Museum of American Glass (Millville, NJ, USA), Museum of Modern Glass Art (Eskisehir, Turkey) etc.

Her works have won prizes in national art competitions and are on display in several public buildings. These achievements have given Sarapu the experience of creating conceptually rich, aesthetically pleasing and thought provoking compositions as well as equipped her with valuable insights and skills related to large-scale projects and collaborations.

In her work, Sarapu is mostly inspired by everyday life. Often, her aim is to achieve mental well-being and find harmony between intelligence and emotions. In her process, Sarapu alternates between thinking, writing, working in the studio and collaborating with material, which leads to results that give both the artist and the viewer a possibility to make conclusions and generalisations.

As a curator she is interested in constructiveness and the questions of how a constructive and progressive approach can be expressed in applied arts, how art and contemporary craft can serve as a powerful source of perseverance, both in the act of creation and in the messages and symbolism they convey. And how by tapping into the resilience and strength of the human spirit, these creative forms can inspire individuals to push through challenges and find meaning in their struggles.