The Winner of the Köler Prize: Sculptor Jass Kaselaan 0

Sandra Kosorotova from Tallinn

The winner of the Estonian contemporary art award, the Köler Prize, was announced on May 30 at a gala held in the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM). This year's victor is the sculptor Jass Kaselaan (b. 1981).

The Köler Prize was founded by EKKM in 2011. Each year, five artists who reside in Estonia are nominated; the selection process is based on the artists' work from the previous three years. The nominees then submit two works for the exhibition: one already exhibited in recent years, and one made especially for the occasion.

Last year the prize went to Jaanus Samma; his project, “NSFW”, (done together with the Italian curator Eugenio Viola), will be representing Estonia at the 2015 Venice Biennale, and is directly linked to the work that he submitted for his Köler Prize nominees' show in 2014. This year Jaanus is part of the jury – along with the legendary German curator and gallerist Rene Block, and Taru Elvfing, curator for the Finnish Pavilion at Venice next year. The selection of the winner can also be influenced by exhibition visitors – via voting.


The nominees for the 2014 Köler Prize were: the multi-media artist Kiwa; the textile artist Kärt Ojavee; the neo-conceptualist Johannes Säre; the artist group that pretends to be a fictional company named “Visible Solutions LLC”; and Jass Kaselaan.

Sound-, text- and machine-manipulator Kiwa selected to show works from the 2010 series “WILDLIFE DOCUMENTARIES”, as well as a looped video from 2014 titled “NOTHING SELECTED”.

Kärt Ojavee, whose main artistic focus is smart textiles, exhibited her touch-receptive “LIGHTNING PILLOW” (2007-2012) and the installation “THINGS” (2014) – which was inspired by nature and covers the currently hot topic known as “the internet of things”.

The trickster Johannes Sääre again showed his work titled “UNTITLED SMOKE RING CANNON” (from 2013), and the new piece, “ASCENT TO THE ABYSS OF LOST IDEAS”.

Johannes Säre, ASCENT TO THE ABYSS OF LOST IDEAS, installation, 2014. Photo: Sandra Kosorotova

Visible Solutions LCC, who have a practice of dealing with matters such as the financial crisis of 2008 and the creative economy, showed their 2013 installation, “Ligudik, Valuemeter and Artwork Consisting Only of its Value”, and a canvas titled “А Work Commissioned from the Painter Tõnis Saadoja, by Visible Solutions OÜ” (2014).

The prize winner, Jass Kaselaan, chose to showcase his work from 2012 titled “GARDEN”, and  a new piece called “THE SQUARE OF DOLLS”. The artist is known for his large-scale installations that use humble materials and that experiment with sound and light. Jass often chooses themes such as religion and industrial progress for his works.

Videoinstallation “GARDEN”

“GARDEN” consists of a wooden church built inside a room. The room is lit only by the scarce rays of light coming from inside the church through gaps in its wooden construction. The space – the walls of which are covered in framed images of extinct animal skeletons – is filled with industrial sounds.

Jass's project for the Köler Prize exhibition was a spatial installation made up of monumental concrete busts of broken dolls, found by Jass near the trash bins of a block of suburban high-rise buildings – the photos of which were placed on the walls surrounding the installation.

Jass Kaselan, THE SQUARE OF DOLLS, installation, 2014. Photo: Sandra Kosorotova

The exhibition will be open until the 15th of June.