neljapäev, jaanuar 05, 2012


What was the year of European Capital of Culture Tallinn for the Estonian art scene?

Kiasma campaigns for the understanding of contemporary art

Most memorable? Wild? Meaningless? Excentric? Exhibition? Work of art? Event? Publication? Cultural policy or art political statement? Mindblowing year of art is summoned up by Rebeka Põldsam, Elnara Taidre, Gregor Taul, Margus Tamm, Markus Toompere, Indrek Grigor, Liisa Kaljula, Sandra Jõgeva and all those who wish to add to this post. Happy new year of art! Translated by Google Translate, proofread by Liisa Kaljula.

Rebeka Põldsam

There was an unprecedented number of good – in a very different way – exhibitions and art festivals this year. My favorites were definitely Adam Budak curated “Beyond” at Kumu Art Museum, Pavel Filonov at Kumu, Maria Arusoo curated “Continuum” at Tallinn Art Hall, Ene-Liis Semper at Kumu, Rael Artel curated Marina Abramović at Tartu Art Museum, and I can not deny I really liked “Untold Stories” at Tallinn Art Hall.

I was fascinated by the idea of Kumu Christmas show "Vinum et panis", although I am not sure whether a museum of modern art should engage with folk culture, but after all we do not have the new building of Estonian National Museum yet, so let it be.

In London Camden Arts Centre exhibition of Natalie Djurberg will be open till the end of first week of this year, characteristically to London it is well finished, although the content of the Djurberg exhibition is still more striking than the form.

The title of the cleverest curator also goes to London, Cornelia Parker who curated some kind of city hall art depository in Whitechapel on the basis of rainbow colors: yellow images on one wall, green, red, blue, etc. on the other. The visitor was given a booklet where reproductions and info of each work appear in alphabetical order. To make something so interactive and captivating of something so random is heroism that I haven`t really met elsewhere.

The craziest statement in the Estonian art scene was made by Karin Hallas-Murula who takes sex and gender minorities or the feminist movement for a marginal niche. The fact that these movements deal with the questions of the minorities by far off means that feminism or LGBTQ movement are marginal in essence. You could as well say that Marxism was a marginal theory because we still live in capitalist society.

Elnara Taidre

- The best / most interesting / meaningful exhibitions: “Darkness, Dark” (curator Anders Härm, Contemporary Museum of Art, Estonia) Jass Kaselaan “Migration of Souls” (Tartu Art House), “Bosch and Breughel. Four Paintings Magnified" (curated by Greta Koppel, Kadriorg Art Museum), Sophie Calle "Take Care of Yourself" (Tallinn Art Hall), "Art Must Be Beautiful. Marina Abramović Selected Works" (curated by Rael Artel, Tartu Art Museum)

- Events that baffle and worry: decisions concerning art policy, plans, ideas and proposals concerning the construction of the Estonian Academy of Arts, the uniting of Art Museum of Estonia and Tartu Art Museum, and reorganizing Tallinn Art Hall.

- The most exciting events: the project "Lift11" in the cultural capital framework; März project space activities; Tallinn Month of Photography as a whole event;

- The best work of art: the city installation "O" (Flo Kasearu, Andra Aaloe, Aet Ader, Grete Soosalu, Kaarel Künnap); James Turrell "Ganzfeld APANI" at the Venice Biennale

- Publication: Tõnis Saadoja "Urmas Ploomipuu`s White House"

Gregor Taul


Archizines, Architectural Association School of Architecture, London
Elias Redstone brought to London a total amount of 60 “alternative and indie” architectural magazines around the world and spread it generously on the table to read (you cannot usually touch books in book exhibitions). In addition to magazines, video interviews with the editors-in-chief were exposed in the exhibition. A dull story - I did not see the exhibition, but despite of that I enjoyed it more than anything else this year.

Reading the Object. Artist-Made Books from the Collection of Moderna Museet, Pontus Hulten Study Gallery, Stockholm
Moderna Museet has, since Pontus Hulten times, carefully collected artists` books. Some of them are created with great commitment and touch of soul and are rather meant for hanging on the wall (Henri Matisse “Jazz”, 1947), others are born using the most affordable means for spreading one`s oevre (Ed Ruscha “Crackers”, 1971), the third kind worship the art of writing (Bruno Munari “The Quadrat Print”, 1953) and the fourth kind were never artists` books during their “life time” (Vladimir Mayakovsky “Victory Over the Sun”, 1913). Be it how it was, now they are all hidden behind the glass and have become untouchable statues of their own kind.

Estonian Icon Painting, Kadriorg Art Museum
Luke, I'm Your Father. Homage to Nikolai Kormashov, who introduced the missing very old father to Estonian art. The topic of icons hooked up with the exhibition “New Sculpture: Structure and Chaos” in St. Petersburg New Museum, in the catalogue of which Anatoly Osmolovski wrote so well about the art of sculpture.

Fresh Estonian poster, Museum of Architecture
Lots of cleverness. By no means a disappearing art.

Gregori Maiofis. Artist and model: Ways of Reading, New Museum, St. Petersburg
Puanted photography.

Howquicklyjumpingdaftzebrasvex. Situation of Artistic Discussion, the hole of Academy of Arts
Installation by a Tallinn-Moscow collective author in the waistland of Acadmey of Arts. Thoroughly intelligent, and extremely sympathetic authors.

Jaan Klõsheiko. Freedom Square, Freedom Gallery


Discussed this and that way, the last comment I really enjoyed was by Andres Kurg who said Capital of Culture hijacked installation art, making it a popular sales article in the style of “now we brought art to the streets”. They did, but in a safely cut down mode. Soft, appealing, and timeless installations made their way to the city space but erection of critical works of art was avoided. It is another question whether the hijacker was Capital of Culture alone.

NU Performance Festival.
It is no piece of cake to live in a hotel. These are spaces without cremones, in which some can not handle themselves. Is the idea of jumping out of the window put into our heads just by the movies? Viru hotel taken over by the artists created a perfectly playful atmosphere.

Tallinn Architecture Biennial.
Incredibly and even strangely powerful debut.

Asterisk at Straw Theater.
For me one of the most inspiring days, which sweet fruits I will taste some time from now.

Garage Sale in Mähe.
Common sense will conquer the country in the coming years.

Work of art

Heine Avdal, Brynjar Bandlien and Fabrice Moniet “Field Works – Hotel” – performance for one viewer on the 11th floor of Viru hotel in the framework of NU Performance Festival.

130 citizens of Tallinn “Chimney” – in middle age Rome there was a sculpture of Ancient Rome that they called Pasquino. It was a fragment of the bodies of Ayax and Patroklos that looked like a clown or a joker. Romans had a habit of clueing satirical verses about hot topics on it (e.g. what a scoundrel one or another cardinal was). These verses were called pasquinades (pasquils?), just as if Pasquino had spoken in a creaking way.

Peter Zumthor and Luoise Bourgeois “Steilneset” – a memorial erected in the top of North-East Norway, VardØ on the White Sea shore, to the 91 witches burnt there in the 17th century. Insanely expensive installation at the end of the world.

Stirka - German girl was studying free arts in St. Petersburg and organized as her final work a bar with a loundry house. She was motivated by the fact that she did not have a place to do her laundry. Meant as a short-term project at first, the bar has now been working for seven years, providing laundry service from the morning till the evening, and being one of the most active alternative music venues.

Aet Ader, Andra Aaloe, Kaarel Künnap, Flo Kasearu and Grete Soosalu "O" - 00101010101010101001011100100101


Ingrid Ruudi`s articles stayed sharply in the memory this year.

San Rocco (# 2 Summer 2011) - Venice Architecture magazine published in English, which content perfection no other magazine that I came across this year could challenge. The second issue was dedicated to the islands, the recently published third issue takes as its focus the erring.

Tuvi – magazine printed by the sons of Guttenberg that “asks nice people to take up a challenge - to do something that is atypical to them at first glance”. The first issue was an inspiring reading and watching, it`s a pity that they plan to publish only few times a year. Nevertheless it feels that the new year will bring more and more self-made magazines, almanachs, artists` books, comic books and etc.

Rael Artel`s exhibition catalogs and a fanzine “Your Periphery Is My Center - continue to set an example to the curators.

(Compiled by) Mieke Gerritzen, Geert Lovink, Minke Kampman “I Read Where I am. Exploring New Information Cultures.” Graphic Design Museum, Breda, Valiz, Amsterdam, 2011 – 82 designers, graphic designers, artists, museum directors, writers, critics, publishers, etc. thought about what is going to happen with reading in the future. After the death of the death of the author comes the birth of booking!

Triin Tamm “A Stack of Books, as well as A Book of Stacks”. Rollo Press, 2011. A crazy book about the love of books. I encountered the book in Berlin, Barcelona and London bookstores.

Niklas Maak “Le Corbusier. The Architect of the Beach”. Hirmer, 2011 - modern architecture was actually born on the beach!

Kristina Hansen & Ånond Versto “So Long, Fat Chance”, 2011 - a very good exhibition at März and even prettier book accompanying the exhibition.

Paul Kuimet "In Vicinity" - more!

Karin Paulus “Tootedisain. Asjad minu elus”. EKA, 2011. - Review on the way.

Margus Tamm


Denes Farkas and Taavi Talve "Footnotes 2" Draakoni Gallery - sheer beauty

“Leaving Tartu” Y Gallery - decentralization eats itself

Jass Kaselaan "Light Is Our Strength" - that`s exactly the way it is


The Protester selected Person of the Year by the Time magazine

End of independence of Tartu Art Museum aka Leaving Tartu vol. II

Capital of Culture 2011 – evelinsepp dammit, there were things to see (Lift11, Tallinn Month of Photography etc.)

ILLUMInations at the Venice Biennale – bicecuriger dammit, there were things to see

Work of art

Timo Toots tuned Soodevahe campus


“Urmas Ploomipuu`s White House” by Tõnis Saadoja - history strikes back, dead man walks

Thriller sequence in the newspaper “Postimees” “Death Match. Estonian Academy of Arts vs. an Estonian in Exile auntie”

Markus Toompere


“Pavel Filonov and the Russian Avant-Garde” at Kumu

Jass Kaselaan “The Migration of Souls” at Tartu Art House

ART IST KUKU NUUT exhibitions


% Law - An important step forward, although difficult to say really before it has been applied, lots of possibilities for all sorts of problems.

Trends in Cultural Policy – concerning Tartu Art Museum, Department of Painting of University of Tartu, and Art Academy of Estonia (Estonian National Museum could also be added indirectly). In fact what connects them all is a) a total closure of information channels, so that facts would become gossip and gossip would become facts, so that adequate standing points would finally become impossible b) tendentious argumentation. The new building of Tartu Art Museum can not be built because of small amount of visitors (in comparison to what is thus not mentioned). The fact that more people would come with the new house is thus not counted in. c) call for cooperation and dialogue is just a chit chat, real decisions are still made by the small circle of deciders. All this has led to a somewhat schizophrenic situation. The main thing is that the atmosphere of fear is created. I do not exactly understand why this is necessary, but anyway it is effective. At times you get the feeling that maybe it would change something if these institutions were really closed down, better horrible end than endless horror, and at least an exciting era would begin, but there doesn`t seem to be that much of courage, a blunt scalpel is used for castrating. But the good thing is that more and more people are visiting exhibitions thanks to that. 2012 seems to be an exciting year, as we should quietly see where the current trends are taking us, as the elections will be in 2013 and by that time things are gonna have to be done.

Work of art

Timo Toots “Memopol”

Indrek Grigor

Amidst the year`s most-most ...

...striking artists were Marta Stratskas and Manfred Dubov. Inspite of the patronage of Kaido Ole to the artists I was very sceptical till the opening of the exhibition, but I have to admit that unreasonably. Painting is beautiful and good. From the old masters I was surprised primarily by Ago Teedema series “Earth - the Fighting Planet”. I do not know from where he got this strange strength and whether it lasts for longer...

The most meaningless show was obviously “Gateways. Networked Art and Culture”. (Timo Toots`s installtasiooni can be regarded as a separate exhibition.)

From the historical things the biggest discovery for me as an amateur art historian was James Ensor. At first, and rather briefly at the exhibition of Flemish symbolists in Kumu, but as the year grew older already in the museums in Flanders and then in a more powerful way. Jean Dubuffet left a powerful impression with his architectones that I saw in Brussels. This can be regarded as the greatest art high of the whole year. If the previous year I worshiped opera as gesamtkunstwerk, then this year`s slogan is architecture as the art of the arts.

The most bizarre exhibition was Darkness, Dark, or Blindness, Blind, whatever the name was, which was curated by Anders Härm at
Contemporary Museum of Art, Estonia. I asked Härm why he made such an exhibition, though the answer consisted of several levels, which were all equally vague and did not answer my question, unfortunately, I could remember only the last of them: “In order that you asked me why I was doing this show.” Well, I asked, but what came out of it?
The problem is that this was a pure museum exhibition, which by itself is not bad, but at the same time this is exactly what EKKM has been programmatically opposed to. So why was this exhibition made? I`m not quite sure what the origin, but the most cynical reason, which I happened to hear, was that Härm needed to prove that he is capable of doing a traditional show.
If we add to this “Collected Crises”, which was a show on new acquisitions of EKKM, we can conclude that the self-institutionalization of EKKM has reached to the point where, it is high time for a new alternative contemporary art institution.

The most important event in the field of art in 2011 was initiation of Köler Prize. Art prize with an international jury is unique in the Estonian art world and more than welcome, brings a fair amount of objectivity into our little pond (I can corroborate this by sitting in several other professional juries and by being a lifelong nominator). Köler Prize is a kind of contemporary art championship, which evaluates the results of the competition, while most of the local art awards are based, above all, on earlier performance and would probably not be imaginable otherwise than with a local jury.

I do not know why, but it seems that last year's most significant publication was Urmas Viik`s “August Tamme päevaraamat”. If I can figure out why, then I will make sure to write about this somewhere.

Liisa Kaljula


Raul Rajangu “Soviet Night II” at Tartu Art Museum

“Urmas Ploomipuu`s White House” at Kumu (curator Tõnis Saadoja)

Sophie Calle “Take Care of Yourself” - the best “niche exhibition” to quote the newly elected head of Tallinn Art Hall Karin Hallas-Murula

Liisa Kruusmägi “Overheard Stories” at Draakoni Gallery

Margus Tamm and Argo Peever “Let`s Face It” at Gallery Hop - best reception aesthetic 2011, an exhibition that literally works only with the viewer`s participation

Denes Farkas and Taavi Talve “Footnotes 2” Draakoni Gallery - best windowseeing 2011

Kirke Kangro “Rooms” at Tartu Art House

Raoul Kurvitz “VOOL tööd” at Kultuurikatel - best site specificity 2011

Tallinn architecture Biennale curator exhibition “11 Flirts” at Kadriorg Art Museum permanent exhibition (curated by Villem Tomiste) - best institutional critique 2011

Visible Solutions LLC “creative economy” implants around Kumu Art Museum – art group that most clearly and boldly comments Estonian cultural policy in 2011

Tallinn Photo Month curator exhibition “Beyond” at Kumu Art Museum (curated by Adam Budak) - best medium critique 2011

“Lady Warhol” at Fotografiska Museet in Stockholm

Richard Serra “Junction / Cycle” at Gagosian Gallery, New York

Nick Cave “For Now” at Mary Boone Gallery, New York

Matthew Barney “DJED” at Gladstone Gallery, New York - biggest surprise 2011


Tallinn Month of Photography - eventually created the feeling of Capital of Culture in the art field

Interviewing severe style generation with Kädi Talvoja and Heilika Pikkov - Nikolai Kormashov, Leili Muuga, Herald Eelma, Vive Tolli, Evi Tihemets, Enn Põldroos, Valli Lember-Bogatkina and Henno Arrack – the way they talk about art, we no longer are capable, dead seriously!

Unargumented plan of uniting Tartu Art Museum with Art Museum of Estonia - and all the outdated concepts of governing without involving

Work of art

Timo Toots “Soodevahe” in Soodevahe campus - the best urban space art 2011, observable from the airplane window as well as from Soodevahe with rubber boots

Kristina Norman “A Monument to Please Everyone” - the story of young engineers employed by the Republic of Estonia to build a national monument... And also employed are their youthfully patriotic feelings for their country...

Marit Illison “70 Cotton Gowns” at Design Night in Estonia - best perceptional hoax 2011

High Line in New York - best recycle 2009

Occupy Wall Street in New York – best public space art 2011


Michel Foucalt “Teadmine, võim, subjekt. Valik räägitust ja kirjutatust”

Mai Levin “Eesti modernism. Peateid ja kõrvalradu” – Mai Levin wandering the paths of the virtualities of Estonian art history, what would it be like if WWII had not destroyed most of the works of the wonderful Edmond Arnold Blumenfeldt…

“For Love Not Money” Tallinn XV Graphic Triennial catalogue (edited by Simon Rees, language editor Eva Näripea, designed by Jan Tomson and Indrek Sirkel) - best exhibition catalog 2011, which one could collect page by page from the exhibition itself (also nice to see that the simultaneity of art works and reviews has found its way from Artishok Biennale to the national art museum)

Kunstiteaduslikke Uurimusi 2011 / 1-2 (20) – postcolonial paradigm is given green light by Jaak Kangilaski, let`s see, what`s gonna happen next!

Vikerkaar 10/2011 - still the best curated magazine and the nr. 1 theory importer in Estonia, but I would particularly highlight the October number, because the copyright and internet freedom issues directly concern the art field, especially intriguing from this perspective is Indrek Ibrus`s take on remix culture

ART IST KUKU NU UT catalogues - Rael Artel still in forefront when it comes to self-publishing in Estonia, the big rich institutions are no longer needed to do either journalism or publishing, I bet such distribution of means of production into the crowd even Marx did not foresee…

Publishing House of Tallinn University - to name but a few books this year, Peter Burke “Mis on kultuuriajalugu” and Aet Annist “Otsides kogukonda sotsialismijärgses keskuskülas” (an alternative view of Andrus Ansip Estonia, also known as anti-Truth and Justice)

Tartu University published Heuremata series still captures waves - Peter Torop “Tõlge ja kultuur” and Jaak Tomberg “Kirjanduse lepitav otstarve”

Sandra Jõgeva

1. Sigrid Viir at Köler Prize
2. „Inimene poolsajandis“ at Tartu Art Museum (curated by Reeli Kõiv; still open!)
3. Laurel Nakadate at MoMA PS 1
4. Jass Kaselaan at Tartu Art House
5. Tiit Pääsuke at Vaal Gallery
6. Massive Ejaculation at Servataguse Muusika at Kultuurikatel
7. A piece of jewellery at Stockholm Moderna Museet design exhibition: I cannot recall the author at the moment but it was a minimalist orden with a script „But I tried so hard“
8. Gallery Metropol in the yard of Vana Kalamaja 46
9. Katrin Piile drawings in that same place
10. Artur Grabowski performance at Seanahk Festival in Haapsalu

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