Top picks in Estonia:
Goodbye East, Goodbye Narcissus! Unlearning Eastern Europe
15.04 – 04.06
Curator Tanel Rander has invited seven artists from Estonia, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to reflect on the topic of unlearning the idea of Eastern Europe. Rander finds that Eastern European identity is not only misleading but also dangerous and serves the interests of Russian imperialism. The curator is interested in the patterns by which trauma transforms itself and inhibits healing, paving the way to its rebirth.
Female artists of the Soviet era highlighted
Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn
Through the Black Gorge of Your Eyes. Ten Women Printmakers (6 June - 5 November)
Unframed: Leis, Tabaka and Rožanskaitė (29 September 2023 – 25 February 2024)
This year, Kumu Art Museum focuses on bringing new interpretations of the works of Soviet era women artists. The exhibition on female printmakers, opening in June, offers a contemporary perspective on the work of Estonian women printmakers in the 1960s and 1980s. The curators of the exhibition are Maria Arusoo, Eha Komissarov and Eda Tuulberg. The second exhibition focuses on the work of Baltic artists Malle Leis, Maija Tabaka and Marija Teresė Rožanskaitė in the late Soviet context of the 1970s and 1980s. All three artists challenged their contemporary art discourse through non-conventional approaches to self-representation, novel ways of creating space and through reflections on being artists. Curators are Anu Allas and Laima Kreivytė.
10 October – 26 November
Tallinn Art Hall and various locations, Tallinn
Tallinn Photomonth is an international biennial of contemporary art. This edition's main exhibition Trance (curated by Ilari Laamanen) explores how artworks can complicate and aid in examining the sensory experience in a technologically mediated world. The programme of Photomonth also includes various events, check the webpage for updates.
Landscape Passes Through the House
Tartu Art Museum, Tartu
18 March – 27 August
The exhibition by two well-known Estonian artists, Paul Kuimet and Tõnis Saadoja, combines various media, time periods and approaches to pose the question of whether it is possible to talk about experiencing landscapes through art and in what ways. The curator is Eero Epner.
Timo Toots. Accept All Cookies: a Selection of Works from 2008 – 2023
Tartu Art House, Tartu
6 April – 14 May
Timo Toots is an artist who creates interactive installations dealing with social behavioral patterns. His work problematises the impact of technological advancements on society.
Naturally it is not
Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design
14 April – 11 June
The international group exhibition looks at the notion of nature in relation to the body and adornment. Challenging the ideologically constructed idea of what is natural, the artists explore possibilities for bodily transformation and enhancement through a variety of materials. Curators: Darja Popolitova and Keiu Krikmann.
Biotoopia. Conference and art programme
Botanical Garden and Maarjamäe limestone bank, Tallinn
11 – 13 May
Connecting art, natural sciences, and the environment, this year’s hybrid art event Biotoopia invites visitors on a guided journey on 13 May through the Maarjamäe Limestone Bank. Highlights of the art programme include Young Boy Dancing Group, and a trio of folk singers composed of Janika Oras, Leanne Barbo, and Minni Oras.
New gallery opens in Tallinn
From 13 May 2023
In mid May the new gallery Tütar opens in the Tallinn Noblessner area, focusing on the younger generation of Estonian art. The first two artists who will have shows this year are Katrin Piile and Anna Mari Liivrand.
Art in the Age of the Anthropocene
Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn
5 May – 8 October
The exhibition focuses on three themes: the redefinition of Estonian art history from an eco-critical perspective, collaboration between artists, researchers and museums, and the green transformation of museums and exhibitions. The multi-year research project is curated by Linda Kaljundi, Eha Komissarov, Ulrike Plath, Bart Pushaw and Tiiu Saadoja.
Shoplifter/Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir Hyperworld
27 May – 26 November
Kai Art Center, Tallinn
The solo show of the Icelandic artist is a multicoulored installation made using synthetic hair extensions that create a suspended labyrinth of colour, a web of intertwined swirls as it floats in chaotic formations surrounding the viewer. The installation inspires an inner journey with a multi sensory language of texture and vibrant chromatic 3D air formation.
Hold Me Tender
Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn
8 July – 24 September
The international group exhibition Hold Me Tender deals with close relationships, health and social roles, driven by the realization that in order to be good, you must first feel good yourself. The show is curated by Siim Preiman.
Jaanus Samma's solo show
24 August - 15 October
Jaanus Samma will be focusing on the relationship between national narratives and myths and power. There will be irony towards national myths, queering the image of the hero and undermining the conservative morale. The curator is Krist Gruijthuijsen.
New perspectives on art and history
Escape the Kitchen, Vabamu museum, 9 March 2023 – 10 March 2024 @vabamu
Newly opened reconstruction, Niguliste museum @nigulistemuuseum
History museum Vabamu presents and celebrates the history of Estonian women’s movements over the past 150 years. The exhibition is curated by the museum’s head of exhibitions Piret Karro, artist Flo Kasearu, decorator Kaisa Sööt and graphic designer Sandra Kosorotova. Nearby, the Niguliste church museum opened its reconstructed exhibition with a new glass lift that takes visitors to the top of the church tower and allows them to see the medieval architecture up close.
Solo show of melanie bonajo
Kumu Art Museum
3 November 2023 – 28 April 2024
melanie bonajo is a Dutch artist, film-maker, sexological bodyworker, somatic sex coach and educator, cuddle workshop facilitator and activist who creates immersive queer spaces. bonajo’s exhibition is research into the current status of intimacy in our increasingly alienating, commodity-driven world. For bonajo, touch can be a powerful remedy for the modern epidemic of loneliness. The exhibition is curated by Maria Arusoo.
Kiasma / URB, Annantalo, Viirus Theatre and Mad House Helsinki, Helsinki
7 – 11 June, 2023
The Baltic Take Over is a festival that takes over the city of Helsinki, curated by the New Theatre Institute of Latvia, Kanuti Gildi Saal (Estonia) and Lithuanian Dance Information Centre. The urgency of this project has emerged from decades of the foreign gaze grouping three distinct countries, culture and histories, together. This takeover will offer an honest presentation of Baltic voices, individual, complicated and not always in harmony, with various artists and performers from the three countries.
Helsinki Biennial 2023: New Directions May Emerge
Various locations on Vallisaari and in Helsinki
12 June – 17 September
The biennial brings together around 30 artists and collectives from Finland and across the world. Curated by Joasia Krysa, the biennial reflects on some of the major issues of our time that appear irresolvable, such as environmental damage, political conflict and the effects of technology.
Kling & Bang, The Living Art Museum, Nordic House and various locations, Reykjavik
13 – 22 October, 2023
Sequences is an artist-run biennial of contemporary art in Reykjavik. This time curated by the curatorial collective of CCA Estonia – Marika Agu, Maria Arusoo, Kaarin Kivirähk and Sten Ojavee – the festival centres around the notions of ecologies, imagined mutations and transformations within a liquid understanding of time. The 10-day festival period will feature performances and a public programme, the exhibitions will be up for between 6 weeks and 2 months.
Queer perspectives and Ars Fennica in Helsinki
Dreamy (28 April – 26 November)
Ars Fennica 2023 (8 September 2023 – 29 January 2024)
The Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma showcases queer artworks by Nan Goldin, Jacolby Satterwhite, Lynda Benglis and Artor Jesus Inkerö from their collection, curated by Max Hannus. In Autumn, the exhibition presenting the works of the nominees of the most prestigious Finnish art prize opens with works by Henni Alftan, Tuomas A. Laitinen, Lap-See Lam, Camille Norment and Emilija Škarnulytė.
Vilnius Biennial of Performance Art
23 July – 6 August 2023
Various locations, Vilnius
The first edition of the Vilnius Biennial of Performance Art will invite Vilnius residents and visitors to witness performances by both established and emerging artists from Lithuania and abroad. The main focus of this Biennial is the city as a human-made and human-dominated environment that we share with other life forms, where different histories, myths, activities, interests, desires and visions collide, coexist and overlap.
Festival of Spooky Action at a Distance 2023
11 – 13 May
Urban festival UIT
16 – 19 August, Tartu
Performance art festival SAAL Biennial