by Noor Mertens
Day one is more or less synonymous to traveling. The Belgian ‘delegation’ bore the brunt by waking up in the middle of the night to get their plane to Amsterdam at 06.25am. There they joined the Dutch and Swiss group (the latter who cheated a little and came already to the Dutch capital on Saturday). In Tallinn we were met by Laurie (coming from Berlin) and Caroline (who came from Zurich directly).
At the hotel, we were not only greeted by people, but by moos dumplings as well: we couldn’t imagine ourselves a better match between East and West (at the menu this dish had a special remark as coming with a ‘local flavor’).
This local flavor continued during our visit at Kumu Art Museum. Being the so to say headquarters of the Art Museum of Estonia (that owns the collection with which the Kumu and some other institutions in Estonia are working), it is housed in a rather new building designed by Pekka Vapaavuori (which opened only in 2006). Director Anu Liivak introduced us to the collection of Estonian art from the eighteenth century to the twentieth. Interesting is the sometimes turbulent history of Estonia that partly shaped the work that is on view: influences from abroad, artists that got their training in Russia and Germany, and in the twentieth century the influence of socialist realism followed by international styles like pop art and abstract modernism.
Two interesting temporary exhibitions caught our eyes. One of them is Out of Sync. Looking Back at the History of Sound Art, which has as starting point the work Sound on Paper (1985) of American artist Alvin Lucier (1931), that the museum received as a gift in 1993 but that was never displayed afterwards. The exhibition sets light on sound art made by Estonian and foreign artists, from the sixties up till now. Especially the works by Andres Loo, John Grzinich and Raul Meel are impressive. Kati Ilves, co-curator of the exhibition, shows us around. After her enthusiastic tour we have 5 minutes to catch a glimpse of Critique and Crises: Art in Europa Since 1945. It is a collaborative project initiated by several European museums and shows works of artists from the West and the East made during the period of the Cold War.
The day ends with a dinner at a local restaurant, where we are joined by the Danish delegation. As was true for the trip of last year is valid for this year too: the heterogeneity of the group suggests that not only the different cities and art venues we will visit the coming days will be worthwhile, but that inspirations will come from the inside as much as from the outside. Our hotel, that serves us with intriguing cobble stone carpet, gives us the right motto for the whole trip: no limits – just miles.
nightly view from the hotel