Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn
The Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM/CAME) started as a squat in an abandoned building in an industrial wasteland on the border of downtown Tallinn, close to the seafront. This area is dominated by the now detoriation Soviet-time massive sports and culture center of Linnahall, and the majestic chimney of the city's former heating plant. Since then the area is changing from being a forgotten area into becoming the fresh new centre of Tallinn. A walkway along the now accessible coastline links the city to the sea, and this is where the new townhall will be situated. EKKM/CAME has gained legal rights to the building, and is part of the plans for the transformation of the area. This is where the future of Tallinn is, and EKKM/CAME is already there.
EKKM - Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia - entrance
As an artist-run art museum EKKM/CAME has no funds for aquiring artwork. Still, they have been able to build up an impressive collection from donations, symbolic and conceptual transactions, and without having storing facilities. This exhibition shows their collection for the first time. In addition to the artworks per se, the background of how the artwork is aquired to the collection has become an important part of the art. Thus this exhibition is not only about showing great artwork, it is also an exhibition about innovative and creative ways to keep a contemporary art museum alive and important.
I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation of EKKM and an introduction to the exhibition by curator Anders Härm. And here are some of the works, and how they were achieved:
OÜ Visible Solutions: Clarity - an exterior area of an interior space
Donated to EKKM
I first time saw this piece at the "Take Care" exhibition in Cesis last summer. It seems like a tranquil space for meditation or a greenhouse, the grass even grow there inside. But if you try to enter the lights go out and loud, noisy rock plays, scaring you away. What looks nice from the outside might be scary if you are inside.
Jim: Triple Portrait
Donated to EKKM
Three portraits on glass plates are placed in front of each other. You can distinguish each face, but you can never see one face without interference of the others. They are always more or less connected.
Donated to EKKM
A list of all the Marco Laimre works that belong to EKKM. In fact, he has declared that all his works that do not belong to any other collection belong to EKKM.
Superflex: A bottle of SUPERFLEX alchohol-free vodka
A great impossible piece by Superflex (DK), maybe proposing a new product for the Estonian breweries? It was donated to EKKM on the condition that are difficult to understand, something about not paying the bill for a bottle of non-alchoholic beer at the NOKU club.
Kai Kaljo: The More I Work the Poorer I Am
Bought for 246€
A week's picture diary, stating the transactions of every action. It turns out that the more she work, the poorer she gets. As an artist working means expenses, not income. A week's work ended in 246€ in minus. The work was bought for that exact sum to balance her week into zero.
Hanno Soans: Nato Nafta III
50mg of blood bought for 100€ and a chocolate bar
Delivered in five portions, the artist donate his blood to art. The text "Rahva hääl" (The People's Voice - a newspaper name) is written with 10mg of his blood.
Elin Kard: Tip of the Day
Donated to the museum in exchange for life-long free access to the EKKM (which does not have entrance fee, and as a member of the board she would have free access anyway)
Canvases with the text:
Yesterday I heard tip of the day
How can I be welcome in Gitmo
Somewhere in the middle of the land without Geneva Convention
where access means no access and
Where I can study new rules of war
I only need
a simple Casio watch
and Olive Green
This first makes sense discovering that Gitmo is another term for the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. If really I had to go there, I would definitely prefer wearing olive green rather than orange.
Anders Härm: Be Drunk, Be Very, Very Drunk
In exchange for a bottle of Napoleon brandy (the same as consumed in the video documentation)
Shown in the coal-trunk tunnel of the heating plant
Drinking a bottle of brandy during each lecture-performance, and editing the video material makes this not anymore a documentation about the lecture, but about the drinking. How little or how much distraction does it take for the audience to forget the topic and focus on other actions. And how much does it take for the lector?
Kiwa: The "Motor Girls" Performs For You
Bought for 2EEK stolen from the KUMU cafe tip cup
Two ordinary watering cans just standing there. But there is a constant water flushing sound without any water to be seen. The cans are self-sufficient.
NOTE: see the comment from KIWA below, the sound is not from flushing water, but white noise. A sound, or rather noise, equally covering all the audible frequencies. An artificial noise that should have no significance or meaning sounds to me like the meditative sound of running water. Now that is interesting.
Johannes Säre: NEONazi
Deposited by the owner
Poking fun of and softening the neo nazis. If this quasi-political movement is only about getting attention and rebelling, would they be even more visual and rebelling wearing neon colors? Or is it just the lack of colors that makes them repulsive? Is it only the colors, or are they just as repulsive wearing neon?
EKKM is a very interesting and important institution. It is an independent, artist run contemporary art museum that is a crucial part of the art scene in Tallinn.