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26.03.2020

Right now, most of us are all stuck at home as a result of the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic. For just how long…? No one knows. As you know, 2020 is the Year of Digital Culture in Estonia. But now, we might as well say that goes for the rest of the world too. So let us make the best of it and enjoy all the culture we can — virtually!

The Estonian art scene is actually quite international especially when talking about contemporary art. The country is represented in many important art events and Estonian artist exhibitions tend to travel far and wide.

The first example must surely be Katja Novitskova, whose works have been all over the world from New York to Venice. In fact, her installation ‘If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen With Your Eyes’ (a sweet homage to the cult film “Blade runner”) was part of the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.

Freelance art critic Karim Crippa summarized her exhibition very accurately in the online art editorial AQNB:

“Katja Novitskova’s installation ‘If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen With Your Eyes’ almost reads like a proposal for a post-human science fair. Her large cutouts of animals in various stages of predatory or parasitic feeding are placed densely next to each other. This cleverly amplifies their fatalistic aura. In one of the rooms, a group of mechanical baby-rockers, adorned with organically shaped, semi-transparent sheets of resin, move to a regular rhythm, like the zombified larvae of a giant insect. All in all spooky, terrific and frankly unforgettable.”

Link to Karim Crippa’s article: https://www.aqnb.com/tag/katja-novitskova/

Check out Katja Novitskovas’s exhibition in full 360 degrees online: https://www.ifonlyyoucouldseewhativeseenwithyoureyes.com/360/

Another Estonian contemporary art pearl to know about is definitely Konstanet art space. Konstanet is a research platform run by Keiu Krikmann. It was founded as a project space in July 2013 by Epp Õlekõrs and until 2017 Konstanet consisted of two spaces, the online space at konstanet.com and a scaled (1:5) physical space located in the centre of Tallinn, Estonia.

Lithuanian artist Neringa Černiauskaitė wrote about it in Estonian Art magazine:

“In July 2013 the non-profit gallery Konstanet was founded in Estonia. In the same year and same month, the American art critic Michael Sanzhez published his article “Art in Transmission” in Artforum magazine. In it, he accurately described the shifting paradigm which was provoked by the rapid proliferation of smartphones. The ubiquitous screens and accessible 24/7 internet altered the way we experience exhibitions. “An image of an exhibition can be posted the moment it opens, or even before. An artist, curator, or dealer receives an update containing images of the show on her phone, which she then forwards to colleagues, in a chain of events perhaps leading to another exhibition. <…> What had been a process of legitimation, attributable to particular institutions or critical bodies, now becomes a process of simple visibility, attributable to the media apparatus itself, largely outside the channels of print media and cumbersome zeitgeist-encapsulating exhibitions.

Link to article: http://www.estonianart.ee/art/konstanet/

Enter the online platform of Konstanet: http://konstanet.com/

If you might be in the mood for something less contemporary in the field of art, there are numerous virtual tours of a couple of Estonian art spaces that we recommend you take a look at:

Tallinn Art Hall’s digital guide is an art experience to have: https://digigiid.ee/en/exhibitions

KUMU (Art Museum of Estonia) virtual tour: http://www.foto360.ee/kumu/index_eng.html

And if you are interested in more Estonian art then one place to acquire some much-needed knowledge is the biannual Estonian Art Magazine, which is solely in English http://www.estonianart.ee/ and also the bilingual magazine kunst.ee. http://ajakirikunst.ee/?c=magazine&l=en

And if you still haven’t gotten enough about Estonian art, then visit the Lugemik Art Book Shop at https://www.facebook.com/lugemik/