Research Projects

Ongoing research projects:

(1) Institutional Research Funding (IUT32-1) “Readdressing practices and theories of experimentation in the 20th- and 21st-century Estonian visual and spatial culture”

Principal investigator: Mart Kalm
Senior research staff: Andres Kurg, Mari Laanemets, Eva Näripea, Epp Lankots, Katrin Kivimaa
Other research staff: Ingrid Ruudi, Karin Vicente (PhD students)
Duration: 2015–2020

The main aim of this project is to analyze experiment in Estonian visual and spatial culture, and to investigate its role in official economic and political programs as well as in alternative and critical practices. By concentrating on its relation to “the paradigm of normality” in different periods, the project entails both a historical investigation of the 20th-century culture and an analysis of experiment as a working principle of contemporary art, architecture and film. Differing from the widely naturalised deployment of the term in contemporary cultural and historical discourses where it largely designates formal experimentation, our aim is to open up, and readdress, transformative and critical potential of this concept. Our interest include not only developments in content or form but also the processes of knowledge transfer from one discipline into another – migration of terminology, theories and instruments of creative work, and their effects on the development of discourse.

See in the Estonian Research Information System.

Financed by the Ministry of Education and Research.

(2) Compiling the multi-volume History of Estonian Art

Editor-in-chief: Krista Kodres
Research staff: Mart Kalm, Virve Sarapik, Andres Kurg, Katrin Kivimaa, Karin Vicente, Tiina Abel, Jaak Kangilaski, Juhan Maiste, Kersti Markus, Juta Keevallik, Sirje Helme et al.
Duration: 1999–2021

Publishing the multi-volume History of Estonian Art was initiated in 1999. It is the longest-running research project of the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture. The Estonian-language volumes are accompanied by lengthy English summaries.

(3) Postdoctoral Grant “Image or Sign: A Phenomenological Study of Pictorial Representation”

Mobilitas Pluss Postdoctoral Researcher Grant (MOBJD203)
Principal investigator: Regina-Nino Mion
Supervisor: Virve Sarapik
Duration: 2017–2021

The aim of the project is to defend the originality of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological account of pictorial representation and to undermine the semiotic reading of it. Contrary to the widely held view that Husserl’s concept of “image” is an insufficiently developed concept of “sign”, I will defend the thesis that Husserl provides a clear distinction between the two concepts and that the concept of “image” has, in fact, priority over the concept of “sign” in his theory of pictorial representation. I will show that, in Husserl’s philosophy, there is a clear distinction between the image consciousness and symbol consciousness, and between the imaging and symbolic function of pictures. The results of my project will be published in international peer-reviewed journals and disseminated through teaching and conference presentations.

See in the Estonian Research Information System.

Financed by the Estonian Research Council.

“Remembering Difficult Knowledge in the Baltic Visual Culture” (MOBJD, 2019–2021)

This research program focuses on how difficult knowledge has been transmitted in the visual culture of the Baltic States, in works of visual art, documentary films and exhibitions about the Second World War and its aftermath. The analysis ...

“Forecast and Fantasy in Late Soviet Architecture” (PUT, 2020–2023)

The research project “Forecast and Fantasy in Late Soviet Architecture” proposes to write a history of fantasy in Late-Soviet architecture, focusing on its mediating role in the transformative effects of postwar modernisation. From the 1960s ...

“Patterns of Development in Estonian Culture of the Transition Period (1986–1998)” (PUT 2020–2024)

The research project “Patterns of Development in Estonian Culture of the Transition Period (1986–1998)” sets out to investigate the cultural processes at work in Estonia between 1986 and 1998, a time-frame known as the transition period, ...

“Baltic German Identity and Heritage in Estonian Art Historiography” (EKA Personal Grant, 2019–2020)

This personal research grant allows Kristina Jõekalda to go deeper into the interdisciplinary topics with which she has been dealing with in her previous articles, MA (2010) and PhD thesis (to be defended in 2020) and during the Estonian ...

“Historicizing Art: Knowledge Production in Art History in Estonia amidst Changing Ideologies and Disciplinary Developments” (PUT, 2015–2018)

The main objective of the research project Historicizing Art: Knowledge Production in Art History in Estonia amidst Changing Ideologies and Disciplinary Developments is to examine the processes in art historiography and ...

Publishing the ‘History of Estonian Art’ (1999–2021)

Publishing the multi-volume History of Estonian Art was initiated in 1999. It ...

Readdressing Practices and Theories of Experimentation in the 20th- and 21st-Century Estonian Visual and Spatial Culture

The main aim of this project is to analyze experiment in Estonian visual and spatial culture, and to investigate its role in official economic and ...

“Image or Sign: A Phenomenological Study of Pictorial Representation” (MOBJD, 2017–2020)

The aim of my project is to defend the originality of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological account of pictorial representation and to ...

Patterns of Development in Contemporary Estonian Culture

The aims of the program are: (1) to prepare and present a grant application to European Research ...

Visualising the Nation: Institutional Critique of the Twentieth-Century Art and Architecture in Estonia

The general objective of the project is to study the dynamics of national identity in 20th century visual culture and built environment ...

Spatial Environment in Estonia as an Object of Art Historical Research

The aim of this research project is to analyse the spatial environment in the context of transformed methods of art history after the cultural turn, to focus on new interpretative possibilities of architecture and the built environment as well ...