Exhibition: « Setomaa, a kingdom on the edge » by Jérémie Jung

Eesti Rahva Muuseumi Näitusemaja

Oct 30 2015 / Nov 6 2015

Kuperjanovi 9


“In 2013, I heard during a casual conversation, that, roughly 20 years after Estonia declared its independence, Russia has not ratified a treaty about their common border yet. But this “de facto” border is also a border for the European Union and Schengen area. How is such a gap in the international law possible? And how is life around the border organized?

I was soon to discover the existence of Setos and Setomaa, a young kingdom, as old as the conflict between the two countries, literally divided in two! A kingdom in between. In Estonia and in Russia at the same time… But where does this tale come from?

These questions are the starting point of this photographic work: meeting the Setos, seeing and exploring their strange territory balanced between two different countries and trying to understand their “ethnofuturistic” approach of preservation and affirmation of identity.

On the spot, I was invited to drink and eat with ancestors who were not mine. I was introduced to Peko, a king resting for eternity in a Russian monastery. In the same tent, I met an ancient Seto Vice-King, carrying his wooden sword, and Taavi Rõivas, the Estonian Prime Minister. “

And here we are today, at this bitter border, where Russia and Estonia still exchange “spies”!

In Setomaa, I can neither tell the real from the imaginary anymore, nor distinguish the past from the present. Whether they are temporal, geographic, politic, spiritual or religious, ever omnipresent here, borders seem to be blurring…. Maybe one needs to be Seto to be able to cross them. They never cease to transcend them. Some of them are even said to become binding.

My photographs are focused on those borders, those blurs, those ceaseless crossings from one shore of dream and reality to the other. As many   « Once upon a time… »” Jérémie Jung,  photographer.

French photographer, Jérémie Jung, visited Estonia several times in the last two years in order to study the Seto people. Before the departure of his stunning shots for the Seto festival in Paris, come and discover the one-month long exhibition here. In cooperation with the Estonian National Museum.

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Read this article in: Français, Eesti, Русский,

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