(Fragment) Eve Kiiler. Fantastic Realism, 2014. Photoseries

Kumu Hits. Contemporary Art from the Collection of the Art Museum of Estonia 0

Q&A with exhibition’s curator Kati Ilves

Kumu Hits. Contemporary Art from the Collection of the Art Museum of Estonia
Kumu, 5th floor, the Gallery of Contemporary Art
April 8 – August 28, 2016

Being the largest art museum in the Baltics, and one of the largest in Northern Europe, the KUMU Art Museum is seen as the region's most notable buyer of contemporary art, as well as the owner of the largest collection of such art. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, KUMU is presenting its visitors a hit-parade of its collection, through the middle of August.

What should everybody know about Kumu's contemporary art collection?

The collection that is owned by the Art Museum of Estonia, and kept in underground storage facilities in Kumu, is the world’s largest collection of Estonian (contemporary) art. We are the number-one buyer as well as commissioner of contemporary art in the local art scene. The contemporary art collection consist of 410 works and is growing. Also, it should be pointed out that a large number of contemporary art works are kept in the painting or sculpture collection, so the total number is higher. We have concentrated on collecting Estonian art, and getting the works that are significant across our local scene, i.e. works by Ene-Liis Semper and Jaan Toomik from the 1990s, and Marge Monko’s and Katja Novitsokva’s latest works, but we do have a number of works by foreign artists, such as Alvin Lucier, Krišs Salmanis, Tellervo Kalleinen, and some others.

Tellervo Kalleinen. In the Middle of the Movie, 2001-2003. Videoinstallation

What would be three key reasons why visitors should attend this exhibition?

First, there’s no permanent display on contemporary Estonian art anywhere in Estonia or in the world, and there probably never will be. This exhibition is as close to it as one gets, therefore it certainly is a viable alternative. Secondly, with this show it’s possible to follow the (self-)reflections, ideologies, and trends in Estonian art from the early 1990s until today. And finally, as it’s a kind of a “best of”-based exhibition, it should be easy for the viewer to relate to the topic and select his/her own favourites and shape their own idea of contemporary art in Estonia.

Jass Kaselaan. Square of Dolls, 2014. Exhibition view at EKKM Köler Prize 2014

Could you give us a few highlights of the oeuvre that can be seen in this exhibition?

- Jass Kaselaan's “Square of Dolls” (2014) – it’s an installation which combines the bust format of traditional sculpture with contemporary practices of installation art. The work consists of 16 different doll-head sculptures, and at its first presentation it combined sculpture with sound as well as photography.

Read in Archive:  An express interview with Estonian sculptor Jass Kaselaan

- Eve Kiiler's “Fantastic Realism“ (2004) – the work documents a beer advertising campaign which took place in the Tallinn Art Hall at the same time as the Estonian-Finnish-British photo exhibition “Fantastic Realism”, curated by the author, Eve Kiiler. Kiiler recorded the beer company’s presentation from two different points of view: as the market economy’s brutal intrusion on the identity of the art hall, raising issues of the marketability and independence of art, and as an instance of witnessing the magic process of spatial transformation.

Tellervo Kalleinen. In the Middle of the Movie, 2001-2003. Videoinstallation

-Tellervo Kalleinen's “In the Middle of the Movie” (2001−2003) – the six-monitor video installation is the result of an art project that was carried out in five cities over three years. It involved local people who were asked (through advertisements by Kalleinen) to write short scenarios for scenes that would take place at their homes. The only requirement was that the artist herself had to be cast, too. As a result, approximately 65 short films were made, in which the artist translates people’s fantasies and mental pictures into the language of film.