White Tank Top

Curator: Flo Kasearu

The starting point of the curator’s idea is the movie „Die Hard“ and its invincible hero played by Bruce Willis whose white tank top protects the hero better than a bullet proof vest. Even though the starting impulse came from a Hollywood movie, the exhibition focuses on the image of the white tank top in Estonian art.

Walking through the exhibition rooms the white tank top appears like a movie star who is pulled into different situations and eras. Due to the tank top the focus of the exhibition is the man: a garment wouldn’t exist without its wearer. However, at different times the tank top and its owner embodied the role and place in society differently. Initially used as an undershirt the garment found its specific place in the beginnig of the 20th century in athletes’ clothing. Then the white tank top appeares with black underpants in the middle of the last century in mass events captured in photos and movie scenes. In Soviet era the tank top beacame the clothing of a workman who enjoyed his cigarettes during a break. This changed the tank top for the local culture into something strange and unpleasant which associated with occupation.

In todays world a tank top has become a stylish piece of clothing worn both by men and women. This thight piece of clothing brings out the bodys  physical attractiveness  which is why it is associated with gay and proletariat culture. In art works the white tank top is sometimes shown as the only thing covering the hero’s body and yet sometimes just peaking  underneath a shirt or a sweater.

The exhibition has been made as part of the „Artists in Collections“ project.

White tank tops have been captured by Peeter Allik, Efraim Allsalu, Peet Aren, Henno Arrak, Mihhail Duhhomjonok, Herald Eelma, Liisi Eelmaa, Erika Haggi, August Jansen, Richard Kaljo, Toomas Kalve, Avo Keerend, Ando Keskküla, Kiwa, Nikolai Kormašov, Aleksander Krims, Toomas Kuusing, Laura Kuusk, August Künnapu, Heldur Laretei, Maikameikers, Ilmar Malin, Herkki Erich Merila, Hugo Mitt, Marge Monko, Maarit Murka, Marju Mutsu, Marianne Männi, Arseni Mölder, Roman Nyman, Erik Obermann, Valdur Ohakas, Jüri Palm, Rudolf Pangsepp, Priit Pärn, Mark Raidpere, Felix Randel, Kalju Reitel, Henn Roode, Johannes Saal, Elis Saareväli, Olev Subbi, Rein Tammik, Endel Taniloo, Krõõt Tarkmeel, Lembit Tolli, Vive Tolli, Anna-Stina Treumund, Peeter Ulas, Anu Vahtra, Renaldo Veeber, Sigrid Viir, Vello Vinn, Toomas Volkmann, Valdemar Väli, Margus Tamm and Sandra Jõgeva.

The works belong to Estonian Art Museum, Tartu Art Museum, Estonian Film Archives, Estonian Sports Museum, private collections and artists.