Šest topola (Six Poplars)

Berit Talpsepps installation Šest topola is a result of the research for the production of her work for the 53rd October Salon: Good Life in 2012. The starting point was three photographs she came across in a Belgrade flea market. These were photos of two men walking on a beach, posing for the camera, trying to look attractive and sporty. On the back of each photograph, there was an inscription containing the year 1936, and two words: “Šest topola”. By recreating the leisure atmosphere from the photographs, the artist decided to bring back the seen moment from the past – good life – and project it on the present.

Determined to explore what the words on the back of each photograph mean, Berit Talpsepp found out that “Šest topola” was the name of an old restaurant situated on the banks of the Sava River, close to a group of six poplar trees. The artist went there to look for the restaurant and found out that the scene captured in those photographs had changed entirely — the smiling, tanned, carefree people were gone from the sunny boulevard, and only one poplar tree still remained. The poplars may have been cut down, and the two men may have been dead for some time, but that moment on the beach in 1936 was captured and preserved in the photographs. She decided to bring these embalmed moments back to life, to re-create in the present the unusual sense of a good life seen in the photographs. “Like the old photographs found in the flea market, my work captures a good life, snatching it from the flow of time; to be discovered and re-created.”
Berit Talpsepp, text in the catalogue of the 53rd October Salon

© Cultural Centre of Belgrade, October Salon Collection and the artist
Gift Contract:
Inventory No. 209
Photo: still from the video work

Selected Bibliography:
53rd October Salon, Good Life: Physical Narratives and Spatial Imaginations. Cultural Centre of Belgrade, 2012


Berit Talpsepp (1982, Tartu, Estonia) is an artist who lives and works in Finland. She studied at the Estonian Academy of Arts and Glasgow School of Art. Berit’s research interests have been cultural and individual memory in conjunction with time, death and personal memories. Her practice is mostly in sculpture, video and photography. She has presented her works at solo and group exhibitions at many important institutions throughout Europe, including the Kunstguss Museum, Germany; Gallery Noorus, Tartu, Estonia; Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland; Monteaudio 13, International Sound Festival, Montevideo, Uruguay; etc. She participated in the 53rd October Salon Good Life, Physical Narratives and Spatial Imaginations in Belgrade in 2012. More information at http://www.jaanisoo.com/berit/