Exhibitions & events: Provocations and Confrontations

Born in 1936 in Tallinn, died in 2010 in Stockholm.

Rein Välme is an Estonian-Swedish photographer. He was born in Tallinn 1936 and left for Sweden with his family as an eight-year-old. He studied at the Bavarian State School of Photography in Munich. For a short time, Välme belonged to the Alpha Group and starting from 1965, he focused on publishing photo books. Välme regards photojournalism as a medium that provides the key to understanding people. Reportages by Välme have appeared in Swedish and foreign magazines.

During the first half of the 1970s, Välme visited Estonia repeatedly and the photo reportages of Tallinn that were completed in the course of the visits became his creative pinnacle. The photo series recording the 1973 October Revolution Parade is in the collection of Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art, and a copy of the series was recently acquired by the Art Museum of Estonia.

Välme’s series on the 1973 October Revolution Parade involves a recording and de-constructing of the rituals of a hostile regime. The series pays special attention to the military structures of the foreign power, whose appearance and national composition clearly shocked Välme. At the parade, Välme had the opportunity to establish a personal relationship with the occupation army, thereby abandoning the mythological awe shown toward the Red Army in the West. In Välme’s treatment, a deep, physically insurmountable rift exists between the East and West.

The descriptions of the parade in the heart of Tallinn are followed by photographs of Tallinn during the holiday – the pitiful assortment of goods in the display windows of the central city, which are almost an affront to human dignity, are framed by posters with slogans celebrating the October holiday.