Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia's year in summary
In 2019 Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) Estonia spearheaded several large-scale projects: the Estonian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, development of our archive and web, and the “Artists in Schools” project, which concluded the Estonia 100 art programme. All of our activities support CCA's primary agenda: creating international opportunities for Estonian artists, developing and internationalising Estonian art scene, and managing and updating our archive of contemporary art.
This year, the CCA’s main focus was on the Estonian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, exhibiting Kris Lemsalu's project „Birth V – Hi and Bye“, visited by a large number of art tourists, curators, critics, art students and teachers, and collectors, both individually and in groups. Additionally, CCA hosted around 60 international guests (curators, artists, writers) in Estonia and were introduced to the local art scene – they visited numerous exhibitions Estonia and were put in contact with at least 44 local artists and curators by the CCA. They also got a chance to research CCA´ s archive.
Alongside media coverage of the Estonian Pavilion at Venice Biennale, a thorough analysis of Mare Vint's work was published by the Los Angeles art critic Andrew Berardini in Mousse Magazine, Kate Brown wrote a profile about Kris Lemsalu for Artnet News, and Steph Krwtowicz covered the exhibition "A-tishoo, A-tishoo, We All Fall Down" at the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia and the institution's sudden closing for the international web magazine AQNB. All the writers were invited by the CCA.
ESTONIAN PAVILION AT THE VENICE BIENNALE
Estonia was represented at the 58th Venice Biennale by Kris Lemsalu with the project "Birth V – Hi and Bye” (10.05 – 24.11). The Estonian exposition on the Giudecca island was visited by 30 000 people and was included in the 2019 top ten of the Venice Biennale lists of Artnet News and Artnewspaper. Kris Lemsalu received an invitation for a solo exhibition in February 2010 in Berlin's leading art institutionKW Institute for Contemporary Art. The Venice exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue featuring texts by Tamara Luuk and Andrew Berardini, published in collaboration with Mousse Publishing. Estonian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is the most extensive and significant international art project for Estonia, produced by the CCA since 1999.
DEVELOPING THE DISCOURSE OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN ESTONIA
In 2019 one of the CCA's main goals was updating and publicising its art historically valuable archive. The CCA received funding from Enterprise Estonia for web development to make archive more accessible to the public. The new web will be launched in January 2020. The CCA also continued publishing its newsletterwith the aim of adding to the discourse on contemporary art by commissioning articles and translations and offering a platform for artists. In 2020 the newsletterwill take the format of a web magazine, available on the new website. Additionally, throughout the year, the CCA's project manager Kaarin Kivirähk wrote an art column titled "Raamist väljas" for the Estonian newspaper Postimees. In spring the CCA initiated three video art screenings, curated by Monika Lipšic, Vanina Saracino and Sepake Angiama, featuring work of both Estonian and international artists. The lecture series “International Inspiration” organised in collaboration with the Estonian Academy of Arts also continued.
Exhibitions are a significant part of the CCA's activities. We value working together with exhibition spaces in Estonia and in 2019 we had the pleasure of collaborating with the wonderful teams of Tartu Art Museum and EKKM (Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia). For the first time ever, the CCA's team curated collaboratively, resulting in the exhibition "A-tishoo, A-tishoo, We All Fall Down" at EKKM (01.11 – 30.11 (closed early)). The exhibition received very positive feedback with reviews published in Postimees, Sirp and AQNB. In the beginning of the year Marika Agucurated “vomiting and crying vomiting and crying: you are my sister you are my sister” by artists Kadi Estland and Netti Nüganen at Tartu Art Museum (18.01 – 28.04). Kumu celebrated the centennial of the Art Museum of Estonia with the exhibition "Open Collections: The Artist Takes the Floor" (05.07 – 10.11) that included the curatorial project "Mutant" by Maria Arusoo, the director of the CCA, featuring the works of Aili Vint. The aim of curated exhibitions is to introduce international collaborations to Estonian contemporary art.
INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL COLLABORATION
The CCA continued inviting international curators and writers to Estonia (exact figures can be found above). In recent years the CCA has expanded its focus to include regional art scenes in Nordic and Eastern European countries alongside those in the international Western art world. Facilitated by the NBC programme, internship opportunities were provided to Aleksandra Kiskonen, Ellen Vene and Keiu Krikmann, and curatorial research trips were organised to Estonia and Finland. Members of the CCA's team visited Italy, France, the UK, Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, the Netherlands, Latvia, Finland, Slovenia, Switzerland and Norway, where they met with representatives from various art institutions, introduced Estonian art and established partnerships for future projects. The CCA invited Estonian curators and critics Ann-Mirjam Vaikla, Rael Artel, Marian Kivila, Indrek Grigor andEvelyn Raudsepp to take part in research trips to Finland and Russia. The aim of international visits is to make Estonian art visible in the international art world and establish a continuous dialogue with international and regional art scenes.
FINISSAGE OF THE ESTONIA 100 ART PROGRAMME AND THE PROJECT “ARTISTS IN SCHOOLS”
This year concluded the Estonia 100 art programme, in which the CCA had been the coordinating partner to the Government Office of Estonia since 2015. As a continuation of the arts programme, the project “Artists in Schools” was carried out from spring to autumn with over 1800 students participating. The project, bringing together young people and artists, was implemented in 28 schools all over Estonia with 23 artists and art workers presenting their work: Marge Monko, Liina Siib, Annika Haas, Art Allmägi, Kaido Ole, Kristi Kongi, Flo Kasearu, Varvara Guljajeva, Mar Canet, Tanel Veenre, Tiit Pääsuke, Mihkel Ilus, Maarja Tõnisson, Taaniel Raudsepp, Anneli Porri, Joanna Hoffmann, Henri Hütt, Brit Pavelson, Tamara Sergijenko, Darja Andrejeva, Rael Artel, Brigita Reinert and Peeter Talvistu. The programme was part of the CCA's wider agenda of developing contemporary art related activities outside Tallinn.
OPEN CALLS AND JOB OPPORTUNITIES
The CCA aims to create internships, job opportunities and establish stipends for art workers in Estonia. In 2019 artists Anna Shkodenko and Tõnis Saadoja received the opportunity to work in the WIELS Residency Programme and for next year Tanja Muravskaja and Anu Vahtra have been selected for the programme. Over the course of six months Estonian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale employed 13 students as guides, supported by Estonian Cultural Endowment and Erasmus+. The CCA also commissions articles on current developments in the art field for its newsletter and by doing so, provides paid work for art writers.
Follow CCA’s programme at cca.ee, on Facebook or Instagram @ccaestonia or subscribe to our newsletter. The CCA will present its 2020 programme in mid-January.