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The Contemporary Art Field in Estonia


The course provides an overview of how the contemporary art scene in Estonia functions – the most important organisations, the movers and shakers, the currently important and active artists from different disciplines, and the types of events being held. The causal factors behind the art scene are also explored, starting from the restoration of independence, Estonian art in the context of the regional and broader international art scene, and much more.
The participants will receive an overview of the art field of Estonia through lectures, discussions, studio/institutional visits and art.
Lectures cover: central institutions and platforms, main exhibition venues, support structures, artists’ residencies, formats of different events and locations, the art scene in Tallinn and Tartu, financing arts in Estonia/self-organised art practices, de-centralising art field, indie-publishing, exhibiting, experimental platforms/introducing artists working in contemporary painting, installation, lens-based practices and in queer art/art in public spaces.

Besides lectures, we will visit different art institutions and self-organised art practices as well as artist’s studios, and we will have lots of discussions based on the participants’ own experiences and our daily programme.

LEARNING OUTCOMES. The participant:

KNOWS how the contemporary art scene in Estonia functions (main exhibition venues, support structures, budgeting, organisations, artists, events, the conditions for artists, art workers and institutions);
HAS EXPERIENCE and personal contact with Estonian contemporary art through studio visits, meetings with curators and visiting exhibitions;
• IS ABLE to discuss Estonian contemporary art, knows about recent problematics, current trends and influences that are affecting future developments.


The course ends with a pass-fail evaluation (attendance and participation in discussion, preparing questions for visits).


Maarin Ektermann is an art critic and a teaching staff member at the Academy of Arts, who is currently working as Head of the Centre for General Theory Subjects at EKA. She was one of the initiators and leaders of the Artishok (Artichoke) art blog project and headed the MÄRZ project space in Tallinn Old Town. In addition, she has been involved in organising a number of festivals, discussions, conferences and projects focusing on advancing art criticism, art politics, self-initiated practices and experimental education.

Jan Christoffer Rutström, of Swedish descent, is currently doing his MA in Contemporary Art, and things he purports to be art, at the Estonian Academy of Art.


Conduct research on your country’s national pavilion at the Venice Biennale on the last three occasions (2013, 2015, 2017) and answer the following questions:
• Introduce the participating artists to others. What position does VB hold in your country? What is the procedure for choosing projects?
• Have you been to VB yourself and what were your impressions? Which works/artists/pavilions impressed you the most and why?
• How would you define successful participation in VB?
• What do you think the position of VB is in the age of booming biennales? Name other biennales and explain why you consider them important.


EKA Summer Academy of Art, Design and Architecture – Possible Futures” is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Apply now! Summer semester 2019/20
Application period has ended
Studies commence
Jul 29, 2019

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States