Tallinn never seems to be very far away – be it from Riga, Helsinki or St. Petersburg – and it's a great place to take a detour off of your usual well-worn cultural path. We've selected five exhibitions on view in Tallinn this month, some of which will go on into the summer months.
By Marge Monko
Exhibition of Nominees for the Köler Prize 2012 Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn April 28 – June 10, 2012
For the second year in a row, the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia is recognizing local contemporary art by giving out the Köler Prize. Nominees for this year's prize are being exhibited in the museum through June 10: the artist duo of Johnson ja Johnson; video artist Flo Kasearu, who took part in the 2011 Cēsis Art Festival last year and had her video “Riga Runaway” shown in Latvia's kim? center last year; the photographic artist Marge Monko, who will participate in the Manifesta 9 biennial this summer; the multimedia artist Marko Mäetamm; and Margus Tamm, who works in the fields of both graphic design and art. Each artist will be presenting two works in the exhibition – the first is to have been created within the last three years and should effectively reflect the essence of the artist's creative persona, whereas the other is to have been created especially for the Köler Prize exhibition and must not have been publicly shown previously. A panel of judges will announce the winner of the prize on May 26; the viewing public can choose their favorite for the Public's Choice Award.
A scene from Norwegian artist Tone Kristin Bjordam's 2009 video work “Coral”
“Exotica” Kunstihoone, Tallinn April 22 – June 3, 2012
The Estonian contemporary sculptor and curator Kirke Kangro (1975) has organized an exhibition in Tallinn's Kunstihoone (Art Space) that analyzes the concept of “exotica” in the context of today. Be sure to not miss out on seeing the show, if only for the reason that it has been organized in cooperation with such outstanding galleries such as Tallinn's Temnikova&Kasela, Reykjavik’s i8 and London's Lissoni Gallery. Over twenty different artists are taking part in the exhibition, including Anssi Kasitonni from Finland, who received the prestigious Nordic Ars Fennica prize last year; Tone Kristin Bjordam from Norway; Egill Sæbjörnsson from Iceland; and Estonia's Jaan Toomik, Kiva and Marko Mäetamm, among others. The exhibition's works attempt to answer the curator's assigned question on the role of exotica in the current era of globalization, in which there are barely any boundaries left on the field of universal information. When looking at the Greek word exōtikόs, which designates “something foreign, on the outside”, one must ask – where can we find this “outside” in today's world?
In the autumn, Kirke Kangro will participate as an artist at Riga's Sculpture Quadrennial, which will present an exceptionally international cast this year.
Christiaan Kannemans. Shipwreck. 1849. Jef Rademaker's collection. Photo: Bruno Vandermeulen
“A Romantic View. 19th Century Dutch and Belgian Paintings from the Rademakers Collection” KUMU, Tallinn May 4 – August 26, 2012
The Dutch television producer Jef Rademakers (1949) compensated for his disillusionment in politics, art and love by creating an art collection: “Life is an illness that you just have to suffer through. Romantic art is one of my survival strategies.” Through August 26, the KUMU art museum is showing this unique private collection in an exhibition titled “Romantic View”. The works on view not only give an overview of 19th century German, Belgian and Dutch art and the popular genres of the time, but also provides an image of romanticism through the subjective prism of one person – the interesting personality, disposition and life perception of Jef Rademakers. This is a great opportunity to see, in person, works by such stars of art history as Basile de Loose, Bart van Hove, Jacob Abels, Petrus van Schendel, and many more. Come autumn, the exhibition will travel to the Sinebrychoffin art museum in Helsinki, where it will be on view from September 27 through January 13 of next year. The Rademakers collection has been previously shown in St. Petersburg's Hermitage.
Holger Loodus “2150. Portraits” Draakoni Galerii, Tallinn May 7-19, 2012
The Estonian painter Holgers Loduss (1970) occupies himself with a systematic study of the future, thereby opening up a comparatively untouched theme in the Estonian art scene. In his solo show “2150. Portraits”, which is on view at the Draakoni Galerii through May 19, he gives his prognosis on what Estonia might look like more than a century into the future – what Estonians will look like, what they will eat, what urban architecture and infrastructure will look like. In preparing his show, the architect interviewed six people representing various professions: the architects Veronika Valk and Vilen Künnapu, technology journalist and sports doctor Kristjan Port, witch Viktoria Betlem, politician and journalist Marek Strandberg, and philosopher Roomet Jakapi. Loduss has visualized in his realistic paintings the visions of the future (which were drastically different from one another) that emerged in his conversations with the above people. The idea of the exhibition, however, is not just a flirtation with the fruits of human fantasy. This viewpoint from the fun-house mirrors of the future does a good job of unmasking the society of today, and gives us an insight into what the future says about us today.
Kristiina Hansen & Johannes Säre “Little House in the Periphery” Hobusepea Galerija, Tallinn May 9–21, 2012
Hooligans of paradoxes and human perception tricks, the young Estonian contemporary artists Kristiina Hansen (1986) and Johannes Säre (1983) have put together the exhibition project “Little House in the Periphery” in Tallinn's Hobusepea Galerija. The artists analyze presence, absence, existence, non-existence, and a long list of other antonyms while they play with an art work's meaning – which may change depending on whether the viewer is focusing on the work itself or its title. Viewing the exhibition can turn out to be an exiting, maybe even a slightly irksome, trip through the labyrinths of perception and our thinking processes.