On the 20th November Tartmus opens an exhibition about Estonian contemporary photography in the period 1991—2015. The exhibition From Explosion to Expanse is the first such large-scale exhibition focusing on contemporary camera-based art, and follows the evolution of photography into one of the most prominent and versatile mediums in Estonian art since the beginning of the nineties. Exhibition will be open until 28.02.2016.
Most global success stories of contemporary art are nowadays linked to photography and photographic education; camera-based work has advantage because of its contemporary, potent visual language. When making an overview of the last 25 years the aim, therefore, is to sketch a picture of camera-based art as a contemporary medium and its most important themes, while using the works of 45 artists as examples. The most significant themes are memory and the creation of memories, the creation and study of social and sexual roles, photography as a medium which carries political charge, and photography as a construer and presenter of the visual and aesthetic world.
In all the works the artist and the camera are active participants and self-conscious meddlers. „Contemporary photographic art is primarily related to people’s identities and self-presentation in social and political context. When creating an image, the artist ought to be bold and precise, because the photographic image has an ability to influence our perception of reality which seems ordinary, or how we imagine our ideals,“ explains curator Anneli Porri.
The period of 20-odd years covered by the exhibition has seen huge changes take place in both art and society. The beginning of the 1990s can be compared to an explosion: a sharp transition in public life brought with it rapid developments in unexpected directions also in art, including changes in the way exhibitions were organised and curated. Exiled from the art halls and galleries until then, photography was quickest to react to these changes and became the herald of a new aesthetic, restorer of discarded memories, mirror to the new society. Expanse, by contrast, is primarily a metaphor for the broadened horizons of our contemporary art scene, equal opportunities, and contemporary art’s global reach, which is now open to any artist.
„As a museum of art and an institution of memory we have a task to draw attention to significant shifts in the art scene, and the 1995 Saaremaa biennal Fabrique d’Histoire was something which undoubtedly caused one such shift. We decided to celebrate that spectacular event which in mid-nineties’ Estonia had an incredible scope, and which powerfully brought contemporary art in its modern sense to Estonia’s art scene, using predominantly the medium of photography. We would now like to offer the public an overview of what has been happening in photographic art in the last 20 years,“ Rael Artel clarifies.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an exhibition publication containing interviews and essays; it is edited by Anneli Porri and designed by Jaan Evart. Annika Toots writes about photography as a medium of memory; an interview with Eve Kiiler provides emotional and factual background for the artists and the context of the works in the last 30 years. Marge Monko and Hanno Soans talk about photography and the author’s position in contemporary photography.
Various lectures and study programmes for different age groups will be taking place at Tartu Art Museum during the exhibition.
Artists: Avangard (Sandra Jõgeva & Margus Tamm), DeStudio (Herkki-Erich Merila & Peeter Laurits), Dénes Farkas, F.F.F.F. (Kristi Paap, Kaire Rannik, Berit Teeäär, Ketli Tiitsar, Maria Valdma), JIM (Johannes Säre, Iti Connor, Maido Juss), Toomas Kalve, Eve Kiiler, Mari-Leen Kiipli, Paul Kuimet, Laura Kuusk, Mari Laanemets, Marco Laimre, Peeter Laurits, Ly Lestberg, Peeter Linnap & Jaanus Nõgisto, Arne Maasik, Herkki-Erich Merila & Arbo Tammiksaar, Marge Monko, Tanja Muravskaja, Krista Mölder, Katja Novitskova, Taavi Piibemann & Toomas Thetloff, Birgit Püve, Mark Raidpere, Piia Ruber, Piret Räni, Jaanus Samma & Alo Paistik, Liina Siib, Tiit Sokk, Andres Tali, Peeter Tooming & Carl Sarap, Laura Toots, Mare Tralla, Anna-Stina Treumund, Anu Vahtra & Na Kim, Tarvo Hanno Varres, Sigrid Viir, Mart Viljus, Toomas Volkmann, Reimo Võsa-Tangsoo.
Curator: Anneli Porri.
The exhibition was designed by Neeme Külm, the exhibition publication by Jaan Evart. The exhibition publication was produced in co-operation with Liilia Buschmann, Indrek Grigor, Eve Kiiler, Katrin Kivimaa, Andrus Laansalu, Marge Monko, Sten Ojavee, Erik Prozes, Vahur Puik, Rebeka Põldsam, Hanno Soans, Jaak Tomberg, Annika Toots, Marie Vellevoog, and edited by Anneli Porri.
Exhibition team: Marika Agu, Nele Ambos, Karl Feigenbaum, Urmo Teekivi, Kristel Sibul, Sten Ojavee, Julia Polujanenkova.
The exhibition is part of the main programme of Tallinn Photomonth 2015.
We are grateful for the support of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Outset Estonia, Art Museum of Estonia, Contemporary Art Museum Estonia, Photo Museum of the Tallinn City Museum, TV 3, Karin Karindi, Margus Punab, Tiina Põllu, Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, the Council of Gambling Tax, and all the supporters of the Hooandja campaign for Tallinn Photomonth 2015.
Repro: Mari-Leen Kiipli. The School of Dreams. Colour transparent in light box, 80 x 90 cm, 2015. Courtesy of the Artist
Further information:
Sten Ojavee
Coordinator of Exhibition´s Department




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