Top picks in Estonia:
Kumu Art Museum takes a new look at history
Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn
This autumn Kumu art museum offers new insights into history. Art or Science focuses on the interconnections between art and the natural sciences, mainly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The broader goal of the project is to acknowledge the significant role of visual culture not only in conveying scientific ideas but also in creating, shaping, and controlling knowledge. Kristina Norman’s creative research project Comparative Anatomy offers a contemporary commentary on the historical collections. Project Space I: Art or Science: Geological Landscapes examines the mutual influences of geology and landscape painting. Opening on 18 November, the exhibition Archaeologists of Memory: Vitols Contemporary Art Collection explores one of the most intriguing art collections in the Baltics, focusing on the contemporary art of Central and Eastern Europe. It is the first exhibition to offer in-depth theme-based insights into the collection.
Tallinn Art Hall moves to Lasnamäe
Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn
Lasnamäe Pavilion (Jaan Koorti 22)
Until 5 February 2023
On 19 November Tallinn Art Hall opens a new temporary pavilion in the Lasnamäe district with a group exhibition Is There Hope for Lovely Creatures? Curated by Tamara Luuk, the exhibition is about women against a background of men and men against a background of women in our present time, when there is still some way to go until the blissful time where ”all women will be brothers, and all men will be sisters.” Tallinn Art Hall's main building on Freedom square will undergo renovation and reopen in a couple of years.
Estonian classics meet contemporary artists in Tartu
To Sense the Light, You Must Close Your Eyes (Kristi Kongi and Mare Vint)
Tartu Art House, Tartu
11 November – 11 December 2022
Common Threads, Polar Bear and Elephant. Laura Põld with Andres Tolts
Kogo gallery, Tartu
25 November 2022 – 28 January 2023
Two of Tartu's main exhibition venues, Tartu Art House and Kogo Gallery, are presenting duo shows pairing Estonian art classics with contemporary artists. The exhibition To Sense the Light, You Must Close Your Eyes presents the works of painter Kristi Kongi and printmaker Mare Vint (1942 – 2020). Mare Vint’s metaphysical, near black-and-white landscapes demand that their discreet tension be quietly contemplated. Kristi Kongi, however, yanks the viewer into her endlessly colourful world, where deep dark tonal gradients are interspersed with pastel variations. The exhibition is curated by Peeter Talvistu.
Kogo gallery presents Past is the Present by Laura Põld, who has incorporated works by the Estonian contemporary art classic Andres Tolts (1949 – 2014) in her newest project. Although the artists represent two very different generations and the histories attached to them, both seem to share similar visual codes and interests.
Jaanus Samma explores the relationship between national motifs and power
Estonian Museum of Applied Arts and Design
Until 2 April 2023
Artist Jaanus Samma has long been interested in how the idea of nationalism is constructed. In this exhibition, he draws on materials from his personal collection and the vaults of Estonian museums to create compositions in which he examines the use of national patterns and motifs in Estonian applied art and prints from the 1930s to the 1950s. For the exhibition Still Lifes on National Motifs, Samma created three new works, which explore the national-conservative art canon and offer possibilities of reappraising it from a present-day viewpoint. He also invited three contemporary artists to join him in pondering these subjects. The new works by Edith Karlson, Anna-Mari Liivrand and Urmas Lüüs all interpret nationalism from their own perspective, giving their commentary on respective thematic compositions and using historical and modern decorative practices to deliver a critique of nationalism, whether as an illusory romantic dream or an officially prescribed mentality of past eras.
Young Estonian performers at Kanuti Gildi SAAL
Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn
In November and December, young Estonian performers will have premieres at the main contemporary performance theatre in Tallinn. When coming to the end of the sentence we've forgotten where it began is a performance by Nele Tiidelepp and a collective of performers, artists, musicians and art professionals, mainly with a background from the Estonian Academy of Arts. The prevailing action of the performance is an attempt to forget the past and the prevailing mood is anxiety, chaos, alienation and sincerity caused by the impossibility of doing so. The performance premiered on 14 November at Kanuti Gildi SAAL and two performances will be in English. COWBODY is a dance performance by Berlin-based artists Hanna Kritten Tangsoo and Sigrid Savi that will premiere on 5 December at Kanuti Gildi SAAL. The performance invites the audience to witness a hotpot of dance, sculpture, music and fitness trampolines where, in a form of self-defense, two bodies enjoy finding the struggle, or struggle to find joy. Set design is created by sculptor and installation artist Edith Karlson.
Eva Mustonen and Elīna Vītola searching for freedom
Kanal gallery, Võru
Until 21 January 2023
The collaborative project Let's Find A Way: Off-Season by Eva Mustonen and Elīna Vītola began with a caravan trip that the artists took together on the roads of southern Latvia. The goal of the trip was to find a way out of the emotional and financial dead end in which the artists had found themselves. The low profitability of art and uncertain prospects had eroded their fortitude over time and both felt that making art on the side, while raising families and making money, had reached absolute absurdity. The precarious lifestyle and low expectations of finding a place to live fed more frustration than inspiration. These bitter thoughts and outlooks sent the artists on a romanticized search for freedom – a tired out old caravan symbolizing their confusing life.
Video games meet the contemporary art museum
Until 18 December 2022
Crawl out Through the Fallout is a collaborative exhibition between artists Marco Laimre, Reimo Võsa-Tangsoo, Martin Buschmann, Camille Laurelli, and Keiu Maasik, who present their experience of playing dystopian digital games through art and in the context of the contemporary art museum. The artists use different technological mediums such as video installations, photography, and sound to analyse phenomena inherent in virtual/digital gaming, offering abstract and discursive communication between the two worlds of the ‘game’ and ‘real life’. Uniquely, the exhibition is presented in a manner where the viewer cannot only observe but also play. Three different difficulty levels are available: easy, master and nightmare.
Wooden architecture of Tartu in art
Tartu Art Museum, Tartu
Until 26 February 2023
From 5 November, Tartu Art Museum will explore Abundant Places. Wooden Architecture of Tartu in Art. The exhibition highlights vibrant artworks depicting the wooden areas of Tartu, including both masterpieces from the 20th century and the newest works by contemporary artists. Tartu is characterized by wooden neighborhoods that surround the classicist Old Town in a tight circle. Although the wooden districts, with their lengthy and dramatic histories, have been somewhat glossed over by the history of architecture, their atmosphere has offered inspiration to artists for many decades. The curators are Brita Karin Arnover and Joanna Hoffmann.
On the Other Side of the Great Oblivion
Narva Art Residency
10 December 2022 - 5 February 2023
The group exhibition focuses on the feeling of emptiness: when you are removed or lifted out of your environment by powerful transformations or transitioning from one phase of your life to another. Eike Eplik and Urmas Lüüs are known for their installational staging of the space, while Manfred Dubov and Angela Maasalu translate charged emotional states onto canvas. The show is curated by Maria Helen Känd.
Riga Art Space, Riga
Until 15 January 2023
The exhibition Decolonial Ecologies. Understanding Postcolonial after Socialism aims to explore the complex entanglements of postcolonial and postsocialist imprints in contemporary society and culture in the Baltics and neighboring regions through the prism of environmental history and environmental changes, and the current ecological crisis. The show is curated by Ieva Astahovska.
Navigating North, Kiasma
Until 2 April 2023
The exhibition Navigating North presents the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation’s contemporary art collection, with a focus on works by artists from or working in northern Finland. The exhibition looks north, featuring numerous artists who either come from northern Finland or reside there, highlighting themes related to the natural environment and local communities. One of its primary thematic concerns is the relationship between humans and nature. The exhibition has been curated by Kiasma curators Saara Hacklin, Kati Kivinen and Satu Oksanen.
Sun & Sea returns to Vilnius
Vilniaus Taksi Parkas
Sun & Sea, the opera-performance that received the Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, returns to its native Lithuania on 8–11 December. Created by the three Lithuanian artists Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė, the work will be held in Lithuanian and, exclusively on the 8th of December, in English. These particular shows will be sung by an international troupe of performers, with whom Sun & Sea has toured over 25 cities in 18 countries in the past three years.