History

  • 6th Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2012 / The Art of Collecting
  • 5th Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2009 / KNOW HOW
  • 4th Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2006 / Two Close Ones
  • 3rd Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2003 / Bare Boundaries
  • 2nd Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2000 / Possession
  • 1st Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 1997 / Useless Things
6th Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2012 / The Art of Collecting

The theme of the 6th Tallinn Applied Art Triennial “The Art of Collecting” was developed by Love Jönsson (Sweden), whose dedication to modern applied art and design, as well as his work as a curator, critic, lecturer and historian on the international scene is remarkable. The decision to invite a curator from outside of Estonia was inspired by the wish to add an international dimension to the event and to broaden the local and general understandings of the possibilities of interpreting applied art and design.

Love Jönsson: “Collecting is a human activity that does not cease to fascinate. Anything can be an object for collecting, from worn-out everyday utensils to the most desirable works of art. We collect things as a pastime, as a mission in life, or just because we can’t help it. Any kind of collection establishes links between the collected items and constructs borders between what is in the collection and what isn’t. Thus collecting shines a search light – directly or indirectly – on the relationship between objects. Needless to say, it also turns our attention towards the relationship between mankind and its objects.”

Geographically unrestricted open competition attracted 515 artists from 43 countries. A jury of five selected 70 artists from among them and later invited five more to participate. In addition to the main exhibition three satellite exhibitions took place “70 Cotton Smocks”, “The Art of Collecting. The Art of Sharing” and “Corpus Container”, international seminar and artists’ presentations day were held. The catalogue covering the Triennal’s main exhibition and all the other events of the Triennial was published.

Curator: Love Jönsson (SWE)
Organisers: Ketli Tiitsar, Kristi Paap, Tiina Sarapu, Eeva Käsper, Kai Lobjakas (EST)


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5th Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2009 / KNOW HOW

In 2009, the Tallinn Applied Art Triennial took place as an international event for the fifth time. To find a theme and curator for the triennial, the society’s management held an invitational competition; the young designer and artist Kärt Maran was selected as the winner with a project called “Know How”. The exhibition poses provocative questions: What is the essence and objective of applied art? Are works born of jealously guarded know-how and artistic egocentrism the only creative path? “Know How” is an experiment that sets out to prove that good design and applied art are founded on ideas, not on keeping secret the method and skill for executing the design – in its own way, it is thus a reaffirmation of the social nature of applied art.

This year’s triennial followed the competition exhibition format of years past. Applications were received from 142 artists – a total of 176 works from 28 countries. A five-member jury selected the works of 38 artists to be displayed at the triennial exhibition. In addition to the main exhibition two satellite exhibitions took place “Estonian Academy of Arts Know How. Isn’t it so simple?” and “Practical Kunst ja kodu”, international seminar and artists’ presentations day were held. The catalogue covering the Triennal’s main exhibition and all the other events of the Triennial was published.

Curator: Kärt Maran (EST)
Curatorial team: Ketli Tiitsar, Kai Lobjakas, Ele Praks, Tiina Sarapu, Kristi Paap (EST)


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4th Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2006 / Two Close Ones

2006 was the fourth time that the Tallinn Applied Art Triennial is an international event. Having developed from the applied art triennials of the Baltic states taking place in Tallinn since 1979, this art event today remains the only art forum in Europe that includes all fields of applied art and design without any geographical limitations. Notable interest in the triennial among the artists even in the three interim years has strengthened the organisers’ confidence in the need for such a series of art events. In 2003, the exhibition bucked the customary format by means of an exhibition based on the selections made by the award-winning artists from the 2000 triennial and a seminar that offered a retrospective and discussed the relationship of applied art and design during the previous triennials in Estonia. This time, the triennial allows a broad-based meditation on the roots of applied art and design, i.e., on the earlier traditions. Displaying a photo of the item that served as the source of inspiration next to the exhibited work will make viewing the exhibitions and leafing through the catalogue truly gripping.

All in all, there were 332 applications submitted by artists from 27 different countries. The jury of the triennial examined anonymously the entry applications submitted by 291 artists and selected more than 110 works by 92 artists from 15 countries to be displayed in the main exhibition of the triennial. In addition to the main exhibition two satellite exhibitoins took place “Big Science” and “Two Close Ones, Close To Everyday”, international seminar and artists’ presentations day were held. The catalogue covering the Triennal’s main exhibition and all the other events of the Triennial was published.

Curatorial team: Ketli Tiitsar, Merike Alber, Elin Kard, Ülle Kõuts, Kai Lobjakas, Lennart Mänd, Ebe Nõmberg, Aigi Orav, Ele Praks, Tiina Sarapu (EST)


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3rd Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2003 / Bare Boundaries

Tallinn Applied Art Triennial took place as an international exposition for the third time. Being the disciple of a tradition of Applied Art Triennials of the Baltic States, event of year 2003 could also be considered the 10th triennial exposition already. The exposition bearing the title Bare Boundaries has not been imposed any self-censorship and has left itself opened for a definition by the audience.

Instead of a traditional exposition involving all fields of applied art without any geographical limitations and with an open registration, the Triennial Society decided to compile the exhibition from the works of the award-winners of the previous triennial held 3 years ago and the artists of their choice. The four award-winners Eija Mustonen (jewellery, Finland), Claus Domine Hansen (ceramics, Denmark), Audrius Janušonis (ceramics, Lithuania), Aigi Orav (ceramics, Estonia) were asked to select to the exposition one representative of the same field and two of a different field in addition to one’s own works. The freedom to choose and to see beside oneself others than familiar artists only intrigued and inspired the winners of triennial. The symbiosis assembled by them turned out an international mixture of ceramics, textile artists, glass artists, jewellery artists, industrial designers and sculptors. All in all, there were participating 18 artists from Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and the Netherlands.

The title Bare Boundaries served within this context primarily as a common foundation for a multi-layered discussion about the positions of applied art and design. In order to initiate a wide-based debate on the most crucial issues in the discipline, the participants were asked to answer questions about their self-definition. Their answers were available at the exhibition as well as in the catalogue. In addition to the main exhibition a seminar and artists’ presentations day were held. The catalogue covering the Triennal’s main exhibition and all the other events of the Triennial was published.

Curator: Ketli Tiitsar (EST)
Organisers: Ketli Tiitsar, Kai Lobjakas, Merike Alber (EST)


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2nd Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 2000 / Possession

In 2000, the Tallinn Applied Art Triennial was held in the competition exhibition format. The theme was developed by group F.F.F.F. (Kristi Paap, Kaire Rannik, Berit Teeäär, Ketli Tiitsar). The theme was “Possession” which was explained as follows: Even the simplest objects become parts of personal space – they become possessions. Moods, motivations, notions become reality; they materialize in a way they live in makers mind. Meetings create obsessions; a need to possess objects long yearned for. Obtaining such objects provides the owner emotional satisfaction, it gives an environment that is replete – embryonic.

The triennial received applications of 257 artists from 25 countries. The international jury selected 74 participants, all together from 19 different countries. The catalogue covering the Triennial’s exhibition was published.

Curator: group F.F.F.F. (Kristi Paap, Kaire Rannik, Berit Teeäär, Ketli Tiitsar) (EST)
Organisers: Tallinn Applied Art Triennial Society (Lea Pruuli, Merike Alber) / F.F.F.F. (Kristi Paap, Kaire Rannik, Berit Teeäär, Ketli Tiitsar) (EST)


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1st Tallinn Applied Art Triennial / 1997 / Useless Things

First Tallinn Applied Art Triennial took place in 1997. The theme of the exhibition was “Useless Things”, it concentrated on the phenomenon of interfusion of aesthetic and conceptual pursuits in contemporary applied art, a process that has made the relations between traditional notions and concepts indistinct and meaningless. From among 304 applicants form 26 countries, the international jury chose 79 artists of 16 different nationalities. The triennial was accompanied by a catalogue.

Curator: Lea Pruuli (EST)
Organisers: Lea Pruuli, Merike Alber, Katrin Pere (EST)


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