Suislepa Motif

Elmar Kits Suislepa Motif 1943 oil, plywood 37 × 50 cm

Quick brushstrokes. Exposing the plywood base so that it forms brownish clouds. Scant colouring, yet within it nevertheless the discovery of new nuances. A somewhat dull reflection on the water surface. This painting is also apparently born from an immediate impulse from nature, speaking of the artist’s wish to perceive harmony with the world. Painting is not a means for displaying something or expressing feeling about something for Kits in this work, rather is it a kind of tool with which to try to draw himself closer to the world. This is a paradoxical attempt since painting something always creates a filter and distance, yet since Kits does not even try to depict reality in its tiresome details, but rather tries to capture something essential, then he can even be successful. The painting’s composition is very interesting: the artist has divided the surface of the work horizontally into two parts, doubling the motif with its reflection visible on the water surface. Thus a distinctive double world emerges where the upper half is a copy of the world and the lower half is a copy of a copy, making the entire painting dreamy and metaphysical.

Suislepa motifs form a separate series. At the same time, it is known that Kits painted together with Endel Kõks as a guest of Eduard Rüga at Viira in Tori, Pärnu County in the summer of 1943. Kits lived with his family in Uus-Suislepa in Viljandi County during the German occupation. There several landscape views were completed. “E. Kits paints against the light, typical of the landscape paintings he completed in Suislepa, thus creating a harmonious pictorial whole with the forest looking like a silhouette and brightly lit sky and more colourful strips of field in the alternating rhythm of groups of trees,” wrote art historian Mare Joonsalu and added that this series stands alone as a particular episode in Kits’s body of creative work. Art historian Voldemar Erm added in 1959 that while summertime landscapes are usually considered boring, Kits achieved a new effect by painting against the light.