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19 Jul 2011

ART IST KUKU NU UT Festival of Contemporary Art in Tartu, Estonia

*Call for connotations. Please send us your associations, connotations, and interpretations
that ART IST KUKU NU UT evokes inside your head! We will use them in our web-page!

ART IST KUKU NU UT Festival of Contemporary Art
Sept 15 – Nov 13, 2011


Sept 15 at 5 pm: Opening of the festival ART IST KUKU NU UT and the exhibition 'Art Must Be Beautiful. Selected Works by Marina Abramović' in Tartu Art Museum. Opening ceremony will be followed by the screening of 'Seven Easy Pieces' at Athena cinema.
Sept 16 at 5 pm: 'Acts of Refusal' curated by Ellen Blumenstein & Kathrin Meyer in Tartu Art House
Sept 16 at 7 pm: Collective project 'Leaving Tartu' by a group of local emerging artists in Y Gallery
Sept 15–17:Three discussions on the relations between artists and curators organized by Ytter

Kaisa Eiche

Festival of Contemporary Art
Küütri str 2
51007, Tartu

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Do you remember us announcing ART IST KUKU NU UT for the first time internationally last September? Still never heard about the festival and the city of Tartu, Estonia? Well, ART IST KUKU NU UT itself is an unforgettable name, exhibited artists and our team love your attention and we are going to make an effort to deserve it.

We are delighted to announce the opening dates of ART IST KUKU NU UT 2011 and reveal our intentions behind this year's edition. As the team of organizers, we have decided not to 'lock' the festival under one title or defined topic – instead, we are interested in keeping the program open for interpretations and in generating new associations between the shows, artists and artworks. The point of departure for the festival is the selection of works by a classical figure of contemporary art, according to that guest curators, collaborators, and artists are invited to cooperate and participate.

ART IST KUKU NU UT is a site- and context-specific festival, designed especially into the cultural space of Tartu, a historical university city of the 100 000 inhabitants on the Eastern border of EU. As organizers, we wish to introduce the cream of contemporary art to the local community as well as the national audiences, also to integrate local artists into international networks and to draw attention to local emerging artists. Wish us luck!


Art Must Be Beautiful. Selected Works by Marina Abramović

Dates: Sept 15–Nov 13, 2011
Venue: Tartu Art Museum, Raekoja 18, Tartu
Curator: Rael Artel 

Contemporary Art Festival ART IST KUKU NU UT has set as one of its aims the introduction of so called 'contemporary art classics', which is often daily accessible for art audiences in big metropolises, but rarely shown outside of mega-cities, and almost never in the former 'Second World', in Tartu, Estonia and in the Baltics in general.
In 2011, we are very happy to present carefully selected works by Marina Abramović in the ground floor of Tartu Art Museum. Her rich artistic practice – both in qualitative and quantitative terms – provides us a fantastic opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues like the function of art and the role of an artist in contemporary society; community's expectations for and preconception against art; specificities of practicing, documenting and presenting performance art; the body of a female artist and woman in general; student environment as a space for experimentation; Socialist past and post-Socialist present, among others.
The show is produced in collaboration with Tartu Art Museum and with the great support of Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.

Acts of Refusal. Fleeing, Dreaming, Repeating, Watching (among others)

Dates: Sept 16–Oct 16, 2011
Venue: Tartu Art House, Vanemuise 26, Tartu 
Curators: Ellen Blumenstein and Kathrin Meyer (The Office, Berlin)
The list of participating artists will be announced in September 2011.

The exhibition project 'Acts of Refusal' departs from Italian philosopher Paolo Virno's idea that the act of fleeing is an actual possibility for changing a condition that has become unbearable. What other forms of refusal exist which, instead of deciding on one alternative or another, undermine, mock, stretch realities to absurdity and thus produce – possibly – change? In a highly functional and affirmative society we want to search for such 'soft' acts of refusal in works of art that sidestep, or avoid partaking in a game that is not considered their own.

Especially in the countries of the Post Soviet Block and Socialist/Communist states, which were overtaken by the sudden (broadly and happily welcomed) invasion of Capitalism, but also elsewhere in the Western world, the end of state socialism in Europe in the late 80s and early 90s marked a fundamental shift in the orientation of the nation states and their social setup. How to adapt to the new values, the new order, or alternatively how to avoid adapting? The project 'Acts of Refusal' presents existing and partly commissioned new work by artists whose pieces aim to transversally cut through prevailing conditions, offering possibilities of evading and sidestepping instead of fighting directly.

Leaving Tartu
Dates: Sept 16–Oct 30, 2011
Venue: Y Gallery, Küütri 2, Tartu
Participating artists: Anna Hints, Eva Labotkin, Marja-Liisa Plats, Toomas Thetloff.
Leaving Tartu' is a show of production grant KUKU NUNNU.

The artists announce: 'We promise the audience will leave Tartu, but instead close them in a downtown cellar. It seems that leaving Tartu is not that simple after all. A small art world, a small country where reaching out is an act with its independent value that we have to practise. We are devoted to reach out, but in spite of our efforts we are closed in a cellar. We are longingly watching others through the window while standing in the queue and waiting for the permission to leave.'

Dates: Sept 15–17, 2011
Venue: Noorus Gallery, Riia 11, Tartu
Organizers: Ytter (Bergen) in collaboration with ART IST KUKU NU UT

The team of organizers wants to put a strong emphasis on communication and exchange among the young art scenes in the Baltic Sea region and to use the opportunity of the festival opening to discuss the issues crucial for us and our audiences. This year, conversations and a seminar will focus on relations between artists and curators, an evergreen situation that every art professional encounters. Events are organized by Ytter group (Bergen) in collaboration with ART IST KUKU NU UT team.
List of participating guests will be announced in September 2011.


Estonia is served by Tallinn Airport, flights are also operated to Riga, Latvia.
To Tartu, it is possible to come by train, by buses and of course, by cars.

See you in September!
Kaisa Eiche
Rael Artel
ART IST KUKU NU UT Festival of Contemporary Art