Research projects

Ongoing research projects:

(1) 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: 1999–2024

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.

See the project webpage.

(2) Personal research funding “Forecast and Fantasy in Late Soviet Architecture” (PUT3)

Start-up Grant no PSG530.
Principal investigator: Andres Kurg
Senior research staff: Mari LaanemetsEpp Lankots. Other research staff: Karin Nugis Vicente, Kristina Papstel, Ingrid Ruudi.

Duration of the project: 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 onwards several architects realigned their work according to new technological discourses – including cybernetics and scientific forecasting – producing design projects where the predicted future was subjected to the scrutiny of precise calculations. By the 1980s, fantasy had transformed in the plural scenarios of ‘paper architecture’ that often took a critical stance towards modernity, corresponding to how cybernetics recognised the future as open to alternative historical trajectories. This project will argue that rather than being determined by top-down ideological doctrines the spatial and artistic production of the period should be seen as negotiating technological changes and new scientific discourses, participating in the ways in which the experience of modernity unfolded in the Socialist block.

Financed by the Estonian Research Council.

See in the Estonian Research Information System.

(3) Personal research funding “Patterns of Development in Estonian Culture of the Transition Period (1986–1998)” (PUT)

Team Grant no PRG636.
Principal investigator: Virve Sarapik.
Senior research staff: Piret Viires (TLU), Luule Epner (TLU), Epp Annus (TLU), Jaak Tomberg (UT), Regina-Nino Mion.
Other research staff and PhD students: Neeme LoppMari LaanisteElise EimreAndrus LaansaluEva-Liisa Linder (TLU), Agnes Neier (UT), Indrek Ojam (UT), Taavi Remmel (TLU), Alo Paistik, Merily Salura.

Duration: 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, corresponding to the disintegration of socialist systems in Eastern Europe and subsequent meticulous political, economic, institutional and technological changes. The culture of this period has been studied sporadically in different cultural fields, but a comprehensive account of the competing developments of the eraʼs culture as a whole and its relation to social and political processes has been missing. This collaborative research project unites scholars from three institutions: the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn University and the University of Tartu, capitalising on their expertise in literature, visual culture, theatre and cinema. Our result aims for a synthesis of wide range of cultural phenomena from the transition period, set against their wider cultural and social background.

Financed by the Estonian Research Council.

See the project’s website.

See in the Estonian Research Information System.

(4) Postdoctoral grant “Image or Sign: A Phenomenological Study of Pictorial Representation” (MOBJD)

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

Duration: 2017–2021

The aim of my 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.

Financed by the Estonian Research Council

See in the Estonian Research Information System

(5) Postdoctoral grant “Remembering Difficult Knowledge in the Baltic Visual Culture” (MOBJD)

Mobilitas Pluss Postdoctoral Researcher Grant (MOBJD570)
Principal investigator: Margaret Tali
Supervisor: Virve Sarapik

Duration: 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 focuses on visual culture since the year 2000 and seeks to understand what happens with past violence and how it is transmitted through generations in the Baltic context. The PI of the research program, Margaret Tali will use case studies as her main method, ethnographic material will be gathered from the three Baltic States. Its results will be presented in 2 academic articles, 3 magazine articles and 3 conference presentations. Also a thematic doctoral seminar will be held at the Estonian Academy of Arts. The research program contributes to current debates in the fields of visual culture, museology and trauma studies.

Financed by the Estonian Research Council

See in the Estonian Research Information System

 

Completed research projects:

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.

“Style and Meaning: Disciplinary Conversions in Estonian Art History” (EKA Research Grant, 2021–2022)

The purpose of the project is to concentrate on the critical concepts in Estonian art history, their role in the vocabulary and meaning making within the field over the course of the two last centuries. Our focus is on the concept of style that ...

“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, ...

Publishing the ‘History of Estonian Art’ (1999–2024)

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

“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 ...

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 ...

“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 ...

“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 ...

“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 (2020) and during the Estonian Research Council-funded ...

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 ...

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 in Estonia. How it has been legitimized and determined by artistic and spatial practices (shift in focus, ...