We have seen it and we wish we could have seen it – Tallinn Biennial 2020

A. what we have seen:

1. Edward von Lõngus’ apocalyptic church ‘Doomsday Cathedral’

  • – 800 m2 of space to experience
  • – A guided tour of a mirror reflecting the soul of humanity
  • – Street art on steel plates – frightening 25m2 large-scale works
  • – 300,000 banknotes

“Doomsday Cathedral” is not a conventional exhibition, but a unique spatial experience – on entering the cathedral, you are faced with a capital-fixated world, where death and destruction are seen as entertainment. The large-scale works at the exhibition extend to staggering dimensions – the works weighing almost half a ton are created on frightening 25 square-metre steel plates and hung with cables from the ceiling beams. The main work at the exhibition is Lõngus’ remix of Michelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel, which depicts The Last Judgment. The effect is both grand as well as sacred, although instead of saints entering heaven, the work is more reminiscent of the work “Hell” by legendary Estonian printmaker Eduard Wiiralt.

“Death reaps with a wider reach than ever before, but instead of a scythe he uses more modern tools. Modern death is industrialised, mechanised, calculated, transformed into factories, machines, numbers and efficiency coefficients,” says Lõngus commenting on how people have become great partners with death. “It’s no longer a reluctant dance, but a wild orgy.”

The large-scale exhibition will be held in a factory built in 1899 where chemical-technological apparatuses were manufactured for nuclear power plants, which means that they were feeding the phenomena, which places humanity’s growing demand for energy and consumption on one side of the scales and life and safety on the other. The timing is also fitting – the world has gone through a lot this spring and Lõngus’ description of the apocalypse has arrived in a new situation, grievous in every way. Are the seconds till the end of the world ticking even faster now?

Artist: Edward von Lõngus

Title: Doomsday Cathedral

Venue: Tallinn Biennial, Sepapaja 10, Tallinn

Opening of Tallinn Biennial 2020 by Tanel Murd
Opening of Tallinn Biennial 2020 by Tanel Murd
Opening of Tallinn Biennial 2020 by Tanel Murd
Opening of Tallinn Biennial 2020 by Tanel Murd
Opening of Tallinn Biennial 2020 by Tanel Murd
Opening of Tallinn Biennial 2020 by Tanel Murd
Opening of Tallinn Biennial 2020 by Tanel Murd
Opening of Tallinn Biennial 2020 by Tanel Murd

2. Under the water on the Moon 2 – Maarja Mäemets, Rait Lõhmus and Toomas Kivikas

u n d e r t h e w a t e r o n t h e m o o n is an image, a concept of ​​a similar vibration frequency that one would encounter either at the bottom of water or in deep space. Loneliness, silence, blurring of the concept of time, strange light – this is how artists and freedivers Maarja Mäemets and Rait Lõhmus would explain their descent into the depths of water. Added to this is a special all-encompassing experience that seems as impossible to describe as a trip to the Moon. Installation fragments, photo recordings and video clips exhibited at OKAPI Gallery are artists’ inner reflections of their experiences underwater.

u n d e r t h e w a t e r o n t h e m o o n is a multimedia project that started in spring 2017 when the first series of underwater photos of glass objects by Maarja Mäemets were taken in the Rummu Quarry (authors: freedivers Toomas Kivikas and Rait Lõhmus). The inspiration and recognition that followed that one experience has led the artists to new creative experiments and challenges in the depths to this day. In spring 2020, their first major underwater exhibition will take place in the waters of the Rummu Quarry where the artists will exhibit mixed media pieces combining glass art, concrete and ready-made objects. The artists believe that water will create a new context for their creation, challenge their installing and visualizing skills as well as expand immensely the whole art experience.

The current exhibition (under the water on the moon II) at Okapi Gallery brings this experimental and special project from the depths of water onto the ground, inviting the viewer on a strange journey.

Artists: Maarja Mäemets, Rait Lõhmus and Toomas Kivikas

Title: u n d e r t h e w a t e r o n t h e m o o n

Venue: Okapi Gallery, Tallinn

Maarja Mäemets, Rait Lõhmus, Under the water on the moon 2, OKAPI Gallery. Photo: OKAPI Gallery

3. Waterproof heart – Ignas Pavliukevičius

Ignas Pavliukevičius is a young Lithuanian new media artist who combines his fascination with technology with interactive media and contemporary art. Technological innovation is leading artificial intelligence into a more accurate representation of the human mind, emotions and physical appearance. Automatisation and digitalisation shape the meaning of what it takes for someone or something to be human. As a result, one begins to question if digital beings elicit empathy, and when are humans going to decide how they feel about digital creatures? Pavliukevičius’ Waterproof Heart aims to answer these questions.

The centric piece of the exhibition is a projection of a 3D avatar that has been programmed to display a variety of emotions in reaction to registered facial expressions of the audience.
As the 3D avatar keeps learning the emotions of the visitors, the outcome of the exhibition is always unique. The visitors are taken out of their familiar surroundings into a new and unknown space.

“My exhibition Waterproof Heart explores the interaction between humans and AI through my own personal experiences as well as those of my post-socialist generation,” explained Pavliukevičius the roots of his exhibition. “I created an avatar of myself that represents me as a man who grew up repressing his feelings and not expressing emotions. So, I compare myself to a robot by asking how am I different from it if I cannot tell others what I feel,” continued Pavliukevičius.

The exhibition in Fotografiska Tallinn is a special award that Ignas Pavliukevičius won at the Nordic & Baltic Young Artist Award 2019. The regional competition for young artists took place for the fourth time, Fotografiska Tallinn’s special award was given out for the first time. “More than ever, the borders between different art disciplines have blurred. Ignas Pavliukevičius’ work caught our eye as he shows a fresh approach to connecting the static with motion. It’s an honour to host his Waterproof Heart in Fotografiska Tallinn, especially because we aim to be a platform not only to globally renowned but also to talented regional artists that the world should hear about,” told Maarja Loorents, Fotografiska Tallinn’s co-founder and Exhibition Lead.

Born and raised in Lithuania, Pavliukevičius has studied Interactive/ Media/ Design (BA) in the Netherlands and Photography and Media Art (MA) in Vilnius, Lithuania and his work has been displayed in Lithuania, Italy, Estonia and The Netherlands. Ignas Pavliukevičius’ Waterproof Heart is open in Fotografiska Tallinn from July 24th till September 6th in cooperation with NOBA (Nordic & Baltic Art Centre).

Waterproof heart – Ignas Pavliukevičius
Waterproof heart – Ignas Pavliukevičius, photo: Ivar Hütt
Waterproof heart – Ignas Pavliukevičius, photo: Ivar Hütt
Waterproof heart – Ignas Pavliukevičius, photo: Ivar Hütt

4.Solaris Gallery

Focusing on the medium of painting, the newly opened gallery is to be found in an impressive architectural setting, the soviet-style, controversial old Sakala part of the Solaris Center. Also willing to embrace photography, design and architecture, the emerging profile of Solaris Gallery can offer new content to the local art scene.


B. wish we could have seen:

1. Artist Crisis Centre – Ieva Kraule-Kūna, Elīna Vītola (and Darja Melnikova)

A crisis centre for suffering artists and their works: a tragi-comic project by two young Latvian artists, Ieva Kraule-Kūna and Elīna Vītola, titled “Artist Crisis Center”. It offers a refuge for neglected, unsuccessful artworks that need care and attention.

The artist’s crisis centre will provide all creative souls afflicted by the cruel hand of fate or those not blessed with talent. The centre has a shelter for artists and a soup kitchen, and sufferers will be immersed in a calm atmosphere, which will bring solace to their anxious senses and fatigued souls.

“Soft voices direct visitors through the gentle interior of the crisis centre and guide them on how to use the healing equipment, as well as how to cope through difficult times,” explain the artists about the experience awaiting you at the project space. “The difficulty that accompanies placing your uncomfortable body into the midst of a grand art event is avoided via comfortable seating and dim lighting that conceals the shamed artists and shortfalls in their artworks, as well as the defects in the faces of the viewers.”

Ieva Kraule-Kūna (1987) studied at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and mostly makes sculptural objects, adding short stories to the various materials, where the absurd adventures of fictional characters become mixed up with distorted interpretations of historical events. Her most important group and solo exhibitions include “The person you are trying to reach is not available” at J. Hester Gallery in New York, “What can I do?” at Shanaynay Gallery in Paris, “Nobody dances like that anymore” at Gallery 427 in Riga, “… if all you told was turned to gold” Vita Kuben Gallery in Umeå, and “11 out of 10” at kim? Contemporary Art Center in Riga.

Elīna Vītola (1986) studied painting at the Latvian Art Academy and the Janis Rozentals Art High School in Riga. She is interested in art and preserved fruit, and this is a key phrase for unlocking her work. Group exhibitions in Estonia that she has taken part in include “Children of the New East” at Tallinn Art Hall, and “Time to Dream or Fear” and “Viewing and Reading Room” at Kogo Gallery in Tartu. Her latest solo exhibition “Common Issues in Painting and Everyday Life: Crappstraction” has been shown at Kogo Gallery and various locations in Riga. In 2018, she was awarded the Grand Prix at the Nordic and Baltic Young Artist Award.




Artist Crisis Centre, photo: Ivar Hütt
Artist Crisis Centre, photo: Ivar Hütt
Artist Crisis Centre, photo: Ivar Hütt


2. Art by Sveta Market

What could be a better use of a Sunday than to take your dearest with you and go discover an art market in Telliskivi! An international selection of artists and designers will temporarily join forces with the coolest producers at the Baltic Station Market – and all this in the wonderfully vibrant Sveta bar!”


3. NUART BUARNE- open studio

NUART BUARNE is a new creative collective in the heart of Kopli! Their activities and the exciting things that can be found there will be presented at their open studio day.”


4. LvLUp! Treasure map for finding artworks at the exhibition

“As part of Tallinn Biennial, LvLUp! will present an exhibition “Kodukootud/Home made” compiled of work from the private collection of Laura Kuusk and Camille Laurelli. Visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to use a playful map to find artworks from amongst the museum pieces. The exhibition introduces the permanent exhibition of LvLUp! and the works of people participating in the residency programme.

“LvLup!” interactive museum is a space crammed with entertainment, where you can play whatever you want every day – staring with pearls from the beginning of gaming history to contemporary masterpieces. At approximately 250m2, the museum is divided thematically into more than 40 electronic game system rooms. In addition to this we have created a board game room and retro shop.

Our museum also fulfills the role of an experimental art space and residency programme, inviting artists to work in our workshops and exhibitions.”


5. Silvia Pärmann “Countries that Do Not Exist”

The Countries That Do Not Exist is a documentary project that follows everyday life in the countries and regions that have all the trappings of a real country – they have governments and an independent spirit, quite often their own currency and military, sometimes they even issue visas and stamp passports on the border – but they don’t officially exist. For various reasons they are not allowed representatives in the United Nations and are ignored by most governments.

The exhibition features works from 11 places, of which some – like Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Chechnya – have once had the same fate as Estonia; and some others sound more exotic – like Somaliland, Western Sahara and Northern Cyprus.

Silvia Pärmann (1979) uses photography as a means to document the world around her. She is interested in conflicts and interactions between people and their environment. Her works call attention to issues and conflict zones that people might want to overlook but really cannot anymore.

She has graduated from Tartu University Law School and has studied documentary photography in many courses and workshops. She has travelled widely all over the world and has exhibited her work on several solo and group exhibition. She won the Delfi Travel Photo 2018 award in the professional category with her series photographed in Kalmykia and Pentax Portrait Photo of the Year 2018 III prize with her work Brothers. South Ossetia, 2018.

WHERE: Juhan Kuus Documentary Photography Centre, Telliskivi 60a/5 (1st floor), Tallinn

Photo: Silvia Pärmann
Photo: Silvia Pärmann

6. Private exhibition experience at HAUS Gallery 


Marko Mäetamm “Seosed/Connections”

Some paintings, numerous drawings and well-known prints from the beginning of the artist’s career. Connections between colours, rhythms and of course, Mäetamm-esque figures.




Marko Mäetamm Haus Gallery, Photo: Priit Mürk/ERR
Marko Mäetamm Haus Gallery, Photo: Priit Mürk/ERR


Marko Mäetamm Haus Gallery, Photo: Priit Mürk/ERR



7. LvLUp! Talks

LvLUp! Talks is a conference series with top specialists speaking on the subject of preserving digital culture and video games. Paul Galloway (Museum of Modern Art NY) and Andreas Lange (European Federation of Game Archives Museums and Preservation Projects) among others have participated in LvLUp! Talks.

WHERE: ARS Art Factory courtyard, Pärnu mnt 154, Tallinn

Alexandra Nagy, Fruzsina Kigyós, Róna Kopeczky

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