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  • Group of Estonian Artists (Eesti Kunstnikkude Rühma), a cubist-constructivists group, was established in 1923 in two nuclei: in Tartu-Võru, whose merit lies in the foundation of the group (Jaan Vahtra - the first chairman of the group [1] [2] [3], Eduard Ole, Friedrich Hist, Felix Johannsen-Randel and the sculptor Juhan Raudsepp [4], who moved in 1925 to Tallinn and served as a connecting link between these two nuclei), and in Tallinn, which made of it an organisation of a more or less certain artistic tendency (Juhan Raudsepp, Märt Laarman, Arnold Akberg, Henrik Olvi). Many artists from Estonia and Latvia had already met earlier in the art schools in Pensa and St. Petersburg. In 1928, the group leaves the UUE Kunsti Raamat (The New Art) from, which is strongly influenced by L'Esprit Nouveau and purism. The last exhibition of the group was held in 1932. In 1940 disbanded by the Germans.
  • Rudolf Paris, studied at Bauhaus
  • Cloud magazine.
  • 'the first Baltic international art exhibition', the joint exhibition of Estonian and Latvian cubists, held in Tartu and Tallinn in 1924.

Geometrical abstractionism[edit]

  • members of Group of Estonian Artists: Märt Laarmann (1896–1979), Arnold Akberg (1894–1984), Henrik Olvi (1894–1972), Jaan Vahtra (1882–1974), Eduard Ole (1898–1995).
  • 1960s and onwards: Tõnis Vint, Raul Meel, Leonhard Lapin, Sirje Runge (1950), Avo keerend (1920), Jüri Kask (1949), Siim-Tanel Annus (1960), Vilen Künnapu (1948).
  • ANK'64 group. The artists educated at the Estonian State Art Institute in Tallinn founded a group called ANK’64, including Tõnis Vint (1942), Malle Leis (1940), Jüri Arrak (1936), Kristiina Kaasik (1943), Tiiu Pallo-Vaik (1941), Enno Ootsing (1940), Tõnis Laanemaa (1937), Aili Vint (1941). Their pursuits in art were connected with youth culture, liberal jazz and partly with op art, a small part of which reached Estonia. Looking back now, this work seems extremely romantic, but at the time it must have looked insufferably radical and have been seen as breaking all restrictions — or why else were they so constantly watched by the KGB people. [6]
  • SOUP'69 group. The group realised the decisive turn from ‘warm’ and ‘spiritual’ art towards a ‘cold’ and ‘technical’ mentality. SOUP’69 brought along, if somewhat late, the fascination with pop art. Leonhard Lapin (1947), Andres Tolts (1949), Ando Keskküla (1950), Ülevi Eljand, trained as architects-designers, plus architects Vilen Künnapu and Jüri Okas (1950) and painter and graphic artist Sirje Runge who studied glass art — they all felt that it was impossible to realise themselves in their acquired specialities. There were no state commissions, nor was there the necessary technical basis. The powerful creative energy was channelled into paintings, graphic art, happenings, collages, poetry, cartoons, multimedia performances, etc. The most interesting period of pop art in art history has not been properly researched. The biggest outlet can be considered the publishing of the Estonian- and Russian-language magazine ‘Art and Home’ in the 1970s, headed by Andres Tolts (the number of copies was enormous: about 10,000 in Estonian, and 40,000 in Russian). When American pop artists took mass culture to high art, then Estonian pop artists turned the Soviet ‘low’ mass culture into an elitist and witty ‘union pop’ (Soviet pop), trying simultaneously to inject the all-Soviet mass culture with a dose of elitist culture. [7]
  • 1973 exhibition at the Agricultural Research Centre in Saku, near Tallinn.
  • "Harku '75. Objects, Concepts" exhibition (1975), at The Institute of Experimental Biology in Harku, near Tallinn. Initiators and organisers: artists Leonhard Lapin, Sirje Runge (at that time Sirje Lapin), Raul Meel and physicist Tõnu Karu. Participants: Leonhard Lapin, Sirje Runge, Raul Meel, Jüri Okas, Jaan Ollik, Villu Järmut, Illimar Paul, Silver Vahtre, Toomas Kall, Kaarel Kurismaa, Silvi Allik-Virkepuu. The exhibition itself, like unofficial shows in general, was eclectic and presented such diverse trends as pop art – among the most influential developments in Estonian alternative art since the late 1960s, kinetic objects, concrete poetry and geometric abstraction. [8]

Electroacoustic and experimental music[edit]

  • Jaan Soolvald, composer, musicologist and teacher. The first to introduce the term 'musical tonality'. He showed the inevability of the appearance of polytonality and paved the way to computer music.
  • Udo Kasemets. Estonian-born Canadian composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, piano, and electroacoustic works that have been successfully performed across the world; he was one of the first to adopt the methods of John Cage. He received his music training at the Tallinn Conservatory and the Akademie der Musik in Stuttgart. In 1950, he attended the Kranichstein Institut für neue Musik in Darmstadt and was exposed to teachings by Ernst Krenek, Hermann Scherchen and Edgard Varèse. A year later, he immigrated to Canada and in 1957, became a Canadian citizen. [9]
  • Lepo Sumera
  • Mark Rais
  • Peeter Vähi
  • Alo Mattisen
  • Sven Grünberg, ambient and progressive rock composer and musician most known for his meditative organ and electronic works involving the concepts of Tibetan Buddhism. [10]
  • Erkki Sven Tüur. He took private lessons from Prof. Lepo Sumera in Tallinn and trained his skills in the field of electronic music in Karlsruhe. [11] [12]
  • Sven Grünberg – Hingus. Мелодия – C90-16301-2, 1981. [13]
  • Sven Grünberg – OM. Мелодия, C60-27019-2, 1988. [14]
  • Peeter Vähi – Music For Synthesizers. Мелодия, C60 28297 004, 1989. [15]
  • Various – Looking East - Electronic East - Synthesizer Music From Estonia And Russia. Erdenklang, 29612, 1992. [16]
  • Sven Grünberg – Prana Symphony. Erdenklang, 50862, 1995. [17]
  • Sven Grünberg – Hukkunud Alpinisti Hotell. hyper.records, 474-0447-80026-4, 2001. [18]
  • Jaan Soonvald, "Modes and Accords of the Harmonious Musical System in the Light of Grapho-Mathematical Analysis" (Звукоряды и созвучия благозвучной музыкальной системы в освещении графо-математического анализа), Master thesis, Tartu: Tartusky Gosudarstvenny Universitet, 1964. (Russian)
  • Jaan Soonvald, "Musical-Harmonical Phenomena in the Graphical Mathematical Matrixes" (Музыкально-гармонические явления в графо-математических колонках), Doctoral thesis, remained undefended. Tartu, 1973. (Russian)
  • Mark Rais, "Some Notes about Soviet Computer Music", Leonardo Vol. 24, No. 5 (1991), pp. 535-539. [19]
  • Mark Rais, "Jaan Soonvald and His Musical System", Leonardo Music Journal Vol. 2, No. 1 (1992), pp. 45-47. [20]
  • Kristjan Piir, "Elektrooniline muusika ja helisüntees: magistritöö infotehnoloogias" (juhendaja M. Fischer); TÜ eksperimentaalfüüsika ja tehnoloogia instituut. Tartu: Tartu Ülikool, 2005. Master thesis. [21]

Computer art[edit]

Experimental film[edit]

  • 8mm film documentations of Jüri Okas's happenings and land-art objects in the early 1970s
  • Mark Soosaar's feature films A Woman of Kihnu, Earthly Desires, Time (1980s) included experimental techniques
  • Eva Näripea, "New Waves, New Spaces: Estonian Experimental Cinema of the 1970s", KinoKultura, 2010. [22]

Performance art[edit]

  • Group T (Rühm T), *1986. Members: Raoul Kurvitz, Urmas Muru, Peeter Pere (architect), Hasso Krull (essayist and philosopher), Tarvo Hanno Varres (photographer), Raul Saaremets (musician), Ene-Liis Semper (stage designer).
  • The Kursi School, *1988, Tartu. Members: Ilmar Kruusamäe, Peeter Allik, Albert Gulk, Priit Pangsepp, Marko Mäetamm. At various times, group members worked in the Tartu University Art Cabinet. Periodically, the group prints and distributes its own magazine, a melding of collage and text that mixes all forms of the absurd and provides notices about upcoming Tartu art events. Claims Fluxus as its inspiration. Kruusamäe is actively engaged in mail art.
  • The opening of the 1971 exhibition of independent student works at the State Art Institute in Tallinn culminated in a happening Colouring the Elephant in a nineteenth-century suburb of Tallinn. During the happening, a large group of art and architecture students repainted a rundown children’s playground with a wooden elephant-slide that stood in the middle of it. The event was initiated by artist and design student Andres Tolts, who had a studio in the neighbourhood. It was officially sanctioned as a renewal project and paint was provided by the local municipal housing committee. The happening is documented in the film ‘Elephant’ (8mm, bw/colour, 15 min) by Jüri Okas. [23]

Multimedia environments[edit]

  • A Multiple Man (1980s), multi-media theatre production, based on the work of Johannes Vares-Barbarus, the first Soviet Estonian statesman, a doctor by profession and a futurist poet. Designed by Leonhard Lapinö the production was set among television screens, radio antennae and other equipment.

Video art[edit]

  • AIDA (1986), video happening in the framework of Tartu's University art studio happenings. Recorded by equipment which was falling apart. The description, which has survived, gives a clue to the title, a play on words in Estonian: AIDA as a title of an opera by Verdi and as a commonplace utility building in the countryside - a storehouse.
  • video documentation of performance art by Group T (second half of 80s)
  • Ando Keskküla, Opus Petra (1993). Video installation. Consisted of video screens, natural limestone and a number of constructions intended to explore the mythological potential of the layers of limestone on which people walk or build every day. * Tiina Tiitus, a fashion designer, displayed a stylish and nostalgic video (1993) in the Art Hall Gallery.
  • In Jüri Okas' retrospective show at the Luum Gallery called 'Untitled' (1993), an installation was set up consisting of four screens placed on different levels and a rusty iron plate in front of them, the slots in the iron plate cut the picture imaginarily into pieces.
  • Jaanus Nôgisto, Fotovision I and II (1993), based on the work of the photographers of the Destudio group, including Peeter Laurits and Herkki-Erich Merila.
  • YESNO (1994), a television broadcast by the four students (Marko Laimre, Mari Sobolev, Mare Tralla) who were studying at the College of Arts and Communications in Tampere in collaboration with the Estonian Television.
  • Raoul Kurvitz, Lifestyles, project series in collaboration with the Estonian Television.
  • Jaan Toomik, A Road Leading to Sao Paulo (1994). Presented at Sao Paulo biennale in 1994. A meditative video installation showing an imaginary itinerary drawn in a straight line from Tartu via Prague to Sao Paulo.
  • Ando Keskküla (1996). Interactive video installation, presented at Sao Paulo biennale in 1996. The work depicts a typical interior of the Saaremaa (island) house with a man whose movements were dictated by the viewer placed in the interior
  • Jaan Toomik, Father and Son (1998), video.
  • 'I Have Never Been to New York' exhibition featured video art by a Finnish group MUUry, 1989.
  • Group T's performances in February and March 1991 culminated at the Tallinn Art Hall, where performances were put on almost daily for two weeks alongside installations and video art.
  • French-Baltic Video Festival in Tallinn/Riga/Vilnius, 1992-2000.
  • Pärnu International Film and Video Festival, Pärnu, *1994.
  • In May 1995 Margus Tônnov and Raivo Kelomees participated in a media art festival in Wroclaw. Tônnov presented a video titled On Earth As It Is in Heaven made in collaboration with a Commercial Television channel.
  • Manipulations exhibition, by Ando Keskküla, Rotermann Salt Storage, Tallinn, 1997.
  • In 1994, video art became an approved subject at the state-run academic Art University. The students could take an optional course in video art history illustrated by videos shown at the above-mentioned French-Baltic video art festivals. However it was too early to discuss the possibility of independent work within the course.
  • Raivo Kelomees, text on video art in Estonian, Kunst, 1988.
  • Raivo Kelomees, "Estonian Video Art", June 1995, [25]
  • Raivo Kelomees, "L'art vidéo vieillissant. L'académie de l'art électronique", [26]
  • Raivo Kelomees, "Jaan Toomik - Beyond Classification", 1997, [27]

New media art, Media culture[edit]


Tallinn, Mooste, Tartu, Pärnu.

  • Substance-Unsubstance, the First Annual Exhibition of the Soros Tallinn Center for Contemporary Arts, 1993. Curator: Ando Keskküla. Demonstration of the 'long-awaited' new media. The event which provoked discussions and shook the artistic scene created a situation in which it was impossible to continue in an old way and too expensive to take up anything new. Jaak Saks, Rainer Kurm and Martin Vällik set up an impressive meditative installation Early Spring.
  • Unexistent Art, the Second Annual Exhibition of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, 1994. Curator: Urmas Muru.
  • Interstanding conferences (1995-2001)
  • Raivo Kelomees, "Kunstiserverid ja võrgukunstniku argileib" [Art Servers and Daily Bread of Net.Artist], 1998, [28]
  • Estonica encyclopedia, "Contemporary technologies and art". [29]
  • Face the Unexpected: Media Art from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, catalogue, 2006, [30]
  • Estonica encyclopedia, "Time of re-independence — the 1990s in art". [31]
  • Raivo Kelomees, "The State of Estonian Media Art AD 1998", in: Estonian Art, nr 1, 1998. [32]
  • Katrin Kivimaa, "Eine Identität or Keine Identität: Zeitgenössische Kunst und Neue Medien in Estland", Springerin 1999 (German), 5 pages.
  • Katrin Kivimaa, "Changing spaces: new media/art in Estonian Culture", Mare Articum 2 (7), 2000. 30 pages. [33]
  • Hanno Soans and Anders Härm, "We Are Glad it's All Over", 2002. [34] [35]
  • Katrin Kivimaa (ed.), Avalöök: uus meedia ja kunst Eestis [Opening acts: new media and art in Estonia], Estonian Academy of Arts, 2004. (Estonian), 108 pages, ISBN 998594657X
  • Raivo Kelomees, Meediakunsti ajalugu ja elektroonilise kunsti probleemid [History and Problems of Media Art]. Media art history teaching tool, 1996/99. [36] [37]

Art theory, Art history[edit]

Tõnis Vint, Sirje Helme, Raivo Kelomees