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Eestikeelsed artiklid



Mehis Heinsaar


Vilen Künnapu

Mathura (Margus Lattik)

Harry Pye

Udo Kultermann

Rael Artel



Your Own Room and an Eternal Summer

What do you do if you want to organize exhibitions, present ideas of your own and other people to the world, but there’s no place for them? The solution is actually easier than you might think: get yourself a personal exhibition space and you can have as many exhibitions as you wish.

Which is exactly why in the summer of 2004 in Pärnu I opened my own gallery, the Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Space, so I could experiment with different exhibition formats, invite artists and curators, and brainstorm together and work. In the case of the activities of this so-called alternative exposition, there is also a small mission or ideology that always plays a role, which often carries such catchwords as community initiative, left-wing thought, activism, collectivism, a protest against inflexible structures of authority, and communality (the community aspect). Which also applies to this space.

Tanja Muravskaja’s exhibition view in Pärnu.

In the summer of 2004 a project that started out of simple enthusiasm has changed over time into a continual undertaking. The first season was followed by another (the Pärnu space was just open for the summer) and in cooperation with the Tartu City Library, the Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Project Space exhibition and production space opened in the spring of 2006 in the lower level of the City Library. In addition there were also one-time events, and the TAZ Tallinn operative exhibition activities.

Now, on the threshold of the third exhibition season, the Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Space is being shaped into its very own indepedent institution, which has a clear mission and operating principles: I’ve tried to focus on the process instead of the product, on experiments instead of an unchanging selection with a risk-free and finished character, on conceptions instead of objects. And the most important: to initiate and support art production in the biggest volume as possible. I try to look at the project space as an open structure, which integrates and gives meaning to things derived from idealogical presuppositions more than excluding them. At least one thing can always join an open structure, and there’s no danger that the gallery would break apart or expand too much. All acti­vities are linked together, and the conceptual roof of the Rael Artel: Non-Profit Space is wide enough, so that everything idealogically compatible fits under it.

We make every effort to keep the Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Project Space an ecological project: minimal use and maximum recycling (in the ideal and material sense) is the direction characteristic of the Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Profit Space activity. Second of all, all of the activities of the gallery operate under the copyleft label. Everything seen and heard, as well as all material in the Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Project Space internet environment can be kindly used, spread, copy-pasted, mixed and re-mixed. Information, both visual and verbal, is above all for spreading.

Rael Artel Gallery in Pärnu, Estonia

The Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Project Space is a project undergoing constant change: I leave myself the freedom to concentrate on the themes, artists and questions I feel are important at the given moment in the gallery, change the main ideas of my activities, the physical location and visual identity. The advantage of this space is the dynamicism, the possibility to start something each moment, to change, to finish. Whereas a museum has to last forever, the essential characteristic of the project space is to be flexible and dynamic.

What then has the Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Project Space been engaged with till now? During our first season in the summer of 2004, the activities of the Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Project Space were squeezed into a (too) narrow framework: first of all the focus was on the curator projects of the gallery, secondly the space worked with a medium base, exhibiting only photography and sound art projects. Both on actual practices of contemporary art, which just recently have intensively been set up and lost, leaked and shut. But the work of the curator forms art history more than ever before, changing the history of the works into a history of the exhibitions. The reason for the selection of these mediums was that an exhibition space focused especially on photos and sound was lacking on Estonia, and it is especially difficult for the younger generation of artists and curators to get into the more institutinalized spaces. The second season that finished at the beginning of September 2005 was very different from the first: the main emphasis of the activities was directed from spontaneous curator projects to solo events, while the specific mediums and their focus were left aside, and the whole summer all the activities focused on the recurring slogan „leaving art, creating relations”.

The Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Project Space desired to move away from the objects with artistic worth and examine what kind of relations are celebrated and arise from objects brought together to the galleries, what kind of relations arise between the object and the artist, the object and the visitor, and the artist and the visitor. While putting together the exhibition program for 2005 the gallery strived to keep this working aspect with relations and processes in mind (we must admit that at times the gallery tried to also reflect the texts of Nicolas Bourriaud).

The exhibition space in Tartu is just starting to find its true identity. The opening exhibition „The Library Project. An Artist’s Dialogue with Space” was a location-specific project and dealt exclusively with its own new gallery space. The opening exhibition is always a statement and from the standpoint of the further coexistence of the exhibition space and art, I as a curator consider it necessary to dedicate the first exhibition to the very environment of the exposition. In the long-term perspective the Tartu project space should concentrate on the relation of art and information and present contemporary art as an intellectual and informational-based phenomenon. Likewise the Tartu space wishes to generate cooperation projects between artists from Tartu and Tallinn. How all of this will succeed, I don’t know.

See you soon in Pärnu and Tartu and from time to time in Tallinn as well!

During 2004-2006 the Rael Artel Gallery: Non-profit Project Space has done work in Collaboration with the following Artists and Curators:

Anu Allas, Association Apsolutno, Tim Braden, Kaisa Eiche, Jaan Evart, Louise Garrett, G-lab, F.l.ü. (Ville-Karel Viirelaid & Remo Randver), Andrus Joonas & Mari Kartau, Raivo Hool, Toomas Kalve, Margot Kask & Virge Loo, Katz, Raul Keller & Hello Upan & Heikki Tikas, Kiwa, Radrig Kokla, August Künnapu, Daisy Lappard, Milena Maksimovic, David Maljkovic, Nikoleta Markovic & Zsolt Kovacs, Imre Malva, Maritatatsi, Tanja Muravskaja, Primoz Novak, Kaarel Nurk, Nika Oblak, Liisi Peets, Riho Peiker, Taavi Piibemann, Alan Proosa, Haide Rannakivi, Rataplan, Manuela Ribadeneira, Alan Ross, Paula Roush, Piret Räni, Tiit Sokk (Ulvi Tiit & Marili Sokk), Ivana Smiljanic, Teo Spiller, Liivi Tantaal, Katrin Tees, Rauno Teider, Aleksander Tsapov & Urmas Oja & Marion Tupits, Taavi Tulev, Egle Vesk, Anu Vahtra, Siim Vahur, Eveli Varik, Jelena Vesic Ja Andreas W.

Udo Kultermann

Rael Artel is the gallerist of Rael Artel Gallery in Pärnu and Tartu.
Currently she lives in Tallinn. See also: www.moskva80.com