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Illustration by Elīna Brasliņa

Most memorable exhibition? 0

The Year 2012 in Review

Illustration by Elīna Brasliņa,

Since early December the staff of has been on a mission to contact the many creative intellectuals from the Baltic States, Scandinavia and Russia in order to discover which exhibition, film, book, disappointment and surprise has created the most memorable impression of the year 2012. Now we can finally reveal all of our findings. During the next five days they all will be presented to the readers of Happy holidays!

Sara Arrhenius, director of the Bonniers Konsthall, Sweden
Documenta, of course! With its overwhelming abundance of art works, performances, screenings and talks it created a complex, challenging multitude of experiences. It was impossible to grasp the show, with its accumulation of knowledge about everything from art and physics to ecology and philosophy, in its entirety. This made this strong, thoughtful Documenta an imaginative adventure.

Christian Andersson, artist, Sweden
Five Car Stud by Edward Kienholz at Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. I waited 17 years to see this. And my expectations didn't even come close to the real experience.

Riivo Anton, entrepreneur, advisor and investor, Estonia
Reality Bites, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki.

Mārtiņš Vanags, writer for Rīgas Laiks magazine, Latvia
In Riga, I usually go to exhibitions at the kim? contemporary art center in the Spīķeri district, but if I must choose one, then that would be Kaspars Groševs' solo show, H, at Kaņepes Kultūras Centrs. I specifically remember this show because it left no impression on me, whatsoever. But then later, I read a very good and explanatory-type of review of the show on, and then I began to like the exhibition. It makes one think about how, when looking at a piece of art, we can miss something that we would actually like, or be interested in.

August Künnapu, artist, Estonia
Lucian Freud Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London.

Maria Arusoo, curator and executive manager of Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia (based in New York)
Exhibition Shimmer on the Surface by Neeme Külm was amazing spatial experience. He managed to create such an inspirational space inside of the Hobusepea gallery. Also Sung Hwan Kim videos at Tate Tanks were provoking and playful. Most refreshing pieces what I have seen over a time.

Indriķis Ģelzis, artist, Latvia
Eksperiments un izcilība (Experiment and Excellence) at the Cēsis 2012 art festival. Krišs Salmanis – Uzticēšanās trauslums (The Fragility of Trust).

Vita Zaman, art director of VIENNAFAIR, Austria
Documenta (13), Kassel.

Olga Temnikova, owner of Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, Estonia
Aliina Astrova’s curated exhibition of Dean Blunt and Ed Lehan.

Helēna Demakova, art historian, Latvia
The year's best exhibition is a split between two mega-shows in London – David Hockney's A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy of Arts, and the Damien Hirst retrospective at Tate Modern. In terms of exhibitions in Latvia, that would definitely be Brigita Zelča's (now Brigita Zelča-Aispure's) show, Kustība. Migrācija (Movement. Migration), at the Riga Dom Garden Gallery at the beginning of summer. It was also her master's project for the Art Academy of Latvia's Department of Visual Communications. 

Marge Monko, artist, Estonia
Manifesta in Genk, a multi-layered and exciting exploring of connections between work and art, situated in a beautiful building; some parts of Documenta, works by Haris Epaminonda and Daniel Gustav Cramer, Susan Philipsz in Hauptbahnhof and Gerard Byrne in Grand City Hotel.

Karin Laansoo, director of Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center, Estonia
Doug Wheeler at David Zwirner gallery.

Zaiga Gaile, architect, Latvia
The shows of two of the candidates for the Purvītis Prize: Lielviela (Megamatter, by Miķelis Fišers, and Miera dzīve (A Peaceful Life), by Andris Breže. An interesting discovery and phenomenon – Visvaldis Ziediņš. Ulisa multimedijs in an urban environment: on Bastejkalns, in Riga High School No. 1, and in a television set showroom. The “outscapism” art invasion at the Rīgas Tabaka factory.

Darius Miksys, artist, Lithuania
Salon du Mercredi : Gold by Alex Cecchetti in Amsterdam.

Ieva Iltnere, artist, Latvia
I happened to see a lot of things this year; Documenta in Kassel, Manifesta, and then two months in Paris – there, FIAC and several good exhibitions. It has all settled down within me, like fertile ground; now I'm waiting to see what will grow... It's difficult to underscore just one. Cindy Sherman at the Gagosian Gallery in Paris, and Geoffrey Farmer's piece at Documenta – the long table with newspaper and magazine clippings.

Andra Neiburga, author and director of Neiburgs hotel, Latvia
Since I've seen and read so much in one year, it's hard to remember everything again; and it's even harder to compare art works from various genres. So, I've decided to shrink the pool of candidates, and I will focus only on events dealing with Latvia. Exhibition of the Year – Miķelis Fišers, Lielviela (Megamatter).

Kaido Ole, artist, Estonia 
My own show Handsome Hero and Plenty of Still Lifes in KUMU, Art Museum of Estonia. It made me really think, before and after. 

Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, art director of VIENNAFAIR, Austria
XTRAVAGANZA - Staging Leigh Bowery, Kunsthalle Wien. Soviet Design 1950 –1980, Manege, Moscow.

Krišs Salmanis, artist, Latvia
It was very moving to be able to see the exhibition Müde Helden: Ferdinand Hodler – Aleksandr Dejneka – Neo Rauch, at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, in Germany. A professional piece of work with a fresh outlook on painting, and in an enjoyable combination, at that! At the same time, I completely agree with Helēna Demakova that the year's best event was David Hockney's A Bigger Picture, in London. It was so powerful that there is no point in commenting on it. 

Jacob Fabricius, director of Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark
Gwangju Biennale, South Korea.