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Andrey Bogush. Proposal for two hands, duplicated image and screen, ver. WEIOSWCD. 2016. UV print on vinyl

The Estonian Photographic Art Fair is on the air 0

Q&A with the Director of the Estonian Photographic Art Fair, Helen Melesk

Estonian Photographic Art Fair 2016
Telliskivi Creative City, Tallinn
September 30 – October 2, 2016 

The Estonian Photographic Art Fair is the first and only contemporary art fair in Estonia, and it is being held for the seventh time this year. The fair aims to introduce recent works of contemporary Estonian photographic artists, and to educate audiences on strategies of collecting contemporary art.

An international selection committee has selected the participating artists and galleries. In addition to local artists, the fair is also exhibiting works by seven foreign artists from Germany, Finland, France, Latvia, and Lithuania. Estonia’s strongest commercial galleries are also contributing to the fair for the second year in a row. In total, there are 36 artists and artist-duos being presented at this year’s fair.

The fair is accompanied by a programme of guided tours, artist talks, lectures, and workshops. The fair also includes a book exhibition that focuses on Swedish photographic art.

The Estonian Photographic Art Fair. Photo: Tõnu Tunnel asked two essential questions to the director of the fair, Helen Melesk.

What is considered contemporary photography” today? And of this presumption, what is being represented at the Estonian Photographic Art Fair?

Contemporary art always expresses processes and ideas relevant at this moment in society, as well as uses the technological means available. The younger generation of photographic artists sees photography as something more than a traditionally formatted black and white photograph. This year’s fair exhibits many examples of photography-based installation art, as well as experiments with the material on which a photograph is printed (e.g. textiles, carpets). Contemporary photographic art also expands from a surface into the exhibition space – it explores the relationship between different objects, the space, and the photograph.

Since photographic equipment and know-how is widely available, photographic artists search for new platforms and media for presenting their work, and new materials for the surface of the photograph.

The Estonian Photographic Art Fair. Photo: Tõnu Tunnel

Could you give us a few highlights of presentations that can be seen at the fair?

The tendencies present in today’s photographic art will be discussed in the artist talk “Contemporary photography – the limits and materiality of the medium”, which will be moderated by Estonian photographic artist Paul Kuimet, and also involves artists from Latvia and Russia. But just to give a few examples of the extension of the genre, Andrey Bogush’s large-scale work is a photograph printed on a 3x10m vinyl fabric curtain. Hertta Kiiski’s work includes a carpet placed next to the photograph, on which the audience – possibly even unaware of it – will stand and walk. Sigrid Viir uses different objects in addition to a printed and framed photograph, which adds a new dimension to the perception of the artwork. Liina Siib and Kai Kaljo use video as a medium for their lens-based art, and Marge Monko folds the photographs to fracture the surface of the artwork.

Sigrid Viir. Awful Pretty Pipe Neck, 2016. Pigment ink print on aluminium, glazed tile stand. Series of 17 photos

The 19 local artists selected directly from open-call applications: Alissa Nirgi, Annika Haas, Eve Kiiler, Heikki Leis, Johan Huimerind, Kai Kaljo, Karel Koplimets, Kirill Tulin, Krista Mölder, Liina Siib, Lilli-Krõõt Repnau, Marge Monko, Mari Volens, Mari-Leen Kiipli, Paco Ulman, Peeter Laurits, Sten Eltermaa, Tanja Muravskaja and Tarvo Hanno Varres.

Artists exhibited at the gallery section of the fair: Johanna Heikkilä, Hanna Piksarv, Art and Helena, Camille Laurelli, Anna Mari Liivrand, Johnson&Johnson, Rosa-Violetta Grötsch (gallery galerii), Herkki-Erich Merila (Haus gallery), Philip Solovjov and Vivian Ainsalu (gallery Positiiv) and Sigrid Viir (Temnikova & Kasela gallery).

The works of seven foreign artists will also be exhibited: Collaboration with Goethe Institute Tallinn and the French Institute of Estonia brings two artists to the Photographic Art Fair from the residency programme in Narva: Lousia Marie Summer (Germany) and Camille Laurelli (France). Kulla Laas and Kristina Õllek from artist-run space Rundum selected five artists to the fair: Hertta Kiiski (Finland), Andrey Bogush (Russia/Finland), Līga Spunde (Latvia) and Miks Mitrēvics & Kristīne Kursiša (Lithuania/Latvia).

Hertta Kiiski. Corner,2015. Pigment ink print, diasec, carpet

Read in the Archive: 5th Estonian Photographic Art Fair | Q&A with Kristel Raesaar, Artistic Leader of Tallinn Photomonth