[artinfo] Fwd: "Let's Talk About Nationalism! Between Ideology and Identity" at Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia

Sári Stenczer stenczer at gmail.com
Tue Feb 2 10:29:16 CET 2010

Let's Talk About Nationalism! Between Ideology and Identity

February 4th -- April 25th, 2010

Participating artists: Nanna Debois Buhl (Copenhagen / New York), Jens
Haaning (Copenhagen), Raul Keller (Tallinn), Eva Labotkin (Tallinn/Tartu),
Tanja Muravskaja (Tallinn), John Phillip Mäkinen (Helsinki), Csaba Nemes
(Budapest), Audrius Novickas (Vilnius), Danilo Prnjat (Belgrade), Johannes
Paul Raether (Berlin), Joanna Rajkowska (Warsaw), R.E.P. Group (Kiev),
Twozywo (Warsaw), Shlomi Yaffe (Prague), Katarina Zdjelar (Rotterdam)
and Artur Zmijewski (Warsaw)

Curator: Rael Artel

Download exhibition catalogue:

"Let's Talk About Nationalism! Between Ideology and Identity" is an
international exhibition of contemporary art, and its goal is to pose
critical questions about contemporary nationalism, to acknowledge the
problematic nature of the currently prevalent national discourse, and to
create a counterweight in the public sphere. This exhibition project
reviews and analyses the complex cultural and political process through
which a nationalist ideology becomes a national identity, and also looks
at its mutual relationships and negative aspects.

It is difficult to overrate the topical nature of national issues. In the
local Estonian cultural space, some of the events that have caused the
greatest confrontations, anger and violence in recent years have been
conflicts over monuments that perpetuate different treatments of history.
>From Europe and the world come constant stories of illegal immigrants and
the Schengen visa space, as well as news of right-wing extremists and
racially-motivated crimes committed by neo-Nazis. Who can live in Estonia
and Europe and under what conditions? Who has the right to have a say in
local matters? Who can demand political rights and who must simply be
content with the opportunity to earn and to consume? The nationalist way
of thinking has been welded into the collective mentality to such an
extent that casting any doubts on it is seen as inappropriate. The
exhibition project "Let's Talk About Nationalism! Between Identity and
Ideology" dares to raise doubts and invites us to once again review the
mechanisms of collective self-awareness in the context of the contemporary

A number of internationally active artists working primarily from a
critical approach have been invited to participate in this exhibition and
to display both earlier works and pieces that have been adapted to the
Estonian cultural context or made specifically for the Kumu Art Museum
exhibition. The works displayed in the project are conditionally divided
into three groups: ideological habits, reproduction of a nation and
conflicts. This exhibition will cast doubt on the dominant national
agenda's, which are spared (self-)criticism, and will approach the topic
of contemporary nationalism from many different sides. Considering the
specifics of an art museum geared to a wider audience, we have avoided
focusing on a narrow aspect of the issue and have instead decided to
create a more panoramic picture.  There are no complete answers or
standard solutions at this exhibition -- just questions. The choice
of works might be characterized as a selection that is as open as possible
and maps the area to the widest possible extent. Each work here is a
potential premise for wider discussion.

The project "Let's Talk About Nationalism! Between Identity and Ideology"
was prepared by a series of events called "Public Preparation", which on
one hand is the format of collective work to map and understand
contemporary nationalism and the issues of critical art practices and, on
the other hand, it functions as a curatorial strategy to gather and
systematize positions and concepts. All the meetings of "Public
Preparation", during which this exhibition was prepared and its conceptual
framework produced, studied the links between contemporary art and the
daily social reality that has been shaped by nationalist ideology. More
detailed information on "Public Preparation" project is available in

The exhibition has been fully translated into Estonian, Russian and English.

Press photos are available in  http://digikogu.ekm.ee/lisa/press

Media partner of the exhibition is artishok.blogspot.com

An extensive education programme, supported by the Open Estonia
Foundation, will accompany the exhibition.

February 4th at 12 p.m.
Artist talks with Joanna Rajkowska (at 12 p.m.), Jens Haaning (at 2 p.m.)
and Csaba Nemes (at 4 p.m.) will take place at the Education Centre in

February 9th at 6 p.m.
A screening of 'The State of Exception Proved to Be the Rule'. Dir. Eduard
Freudmann and Jelena Radic, Serbia, 2008, 84 min. In Serbian, with
English subtitles.

9 March at 6 p.m.
A screening of 'Rocking The Nation'. Dir. Borbala Kriza, Hungary, 2007, 70
min. In Hungarian, with English subtitles

30 March at 6 p.m.
A screening of 'Letter from Moldova'. Dir. Joanne Richardson, Romania,
2009, 28 min. In Romanian, with English subtitles;
and 'Red Tours'. Dir. Joanne Richardson and David Rych, Romania/Germany,
2010, 50 min. Different languages, with English subtitles

A series of discussions, meetings and artist talks will take place during
the exhibition in the Public Preparation Social Club (in the education
room, on the 5th floor of Kumu). Additional information in media and

The exhibition is accompanied with a trilingual catalogue, which is edited
by Rael Artel, designed by Jaan Evart, and published by the Art Museum of
Estonia. The catalogue is free and also downloadable here (1.7Mb):

The reader 'Public Preparation -- Contemporary Nationalism and
Critical Art Practices' which will document the "Public Preparation"
project and contextualize the show will be published during the

The exhibition would not be possible without kind support by Danish Arts
Council, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Tallinn, Estonian Academy of
Arts, Estonian Cultural Endowment, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Finnish
Institute, Goethe Institute, Hungarian Institute, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, Mondriaan Foundation, and Open
Estonia Foundation.

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