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Partners’ Impressions of Eksperimenta!

We have gathered the first impressions and feedback from partners about Eksperimenta! 2014 triennial. Please read and add yours to the Comments field.

Dunya Aydos (Turkey). Lasting tracks. Photo: Alver Linnamägi

In art schools for children and young people in Finland teachers have found it somehow challenging to work under the concept of contemporary art. In this respect Eksperimenta! 2014 really surprised me with the variety of techniques, themes and methods used in the works. The first word to describe whole exhibition really is “contemporary”. I felt that something is being done in a very different way outside Finland, in a more contemporary way. I literally felt that they (the young artists) are thinking outside the box. The works exhibited at E! show us that there are no rules in contemporary art, there are endless possibilities. It doesn’t waste time trying to show what contemporary art looks like, it shows us what the world we live in looks like.

As a teacher I try to look for methods behind processes, and as an artist I am inspired by the ways found by young artists to study, inspect and show the world we are living in as it is, whether it’s about a heartbeat and poetry or the lines on a surface made by rolling painted balls.

Antti Hämäläinen
Artist and teacher, AIMO school of visual arts

Eksperimenta! is calling to communicate
The Eksperimenta! exhibition points out not only the strong aspects of our European culture but also addresses global problems. It really gives a voice to young people and asks many important questions using contemporary art as a common language. Many of the artworks ask how the science can change our world and if all of these changes are good for us. There is a lot of serious thinking hand in hand with joy and humour at the exhibition.

The German exposition is visually strong and touches upon important topics, such as the conditions of the nature, circumcision as a cultural tradition, identity or how we read each other based on looks, to mention just a few. One of the finest works is an intimate picture of the subconscious. A person sleeping and dreaming is sensitively depicted in an inventive piece of art. This small installation by Anouk-Aimeé Anders is a kind of a pillow book with stories from the dreamland. The German exposition as well as the Latvian and Slovenian ones, for example, assign the audience the responsibility to make the artwork happen. By means of activation and interaction the audience is challenged to communicate – at least with their own thoughts. The experience can be embarrassing but also funny. The ideas of the young artists are smart and their visual interpretations fresh!

Mervi Suomalainen, Finland

On the whole, the second E! is significant due to the emotional and personal appearance of the themes chosen by the young authors. Freedom, the choice of serious topics, a clear message and a visually interesting form are characteristic of the best works of the exhibition.
There are many strong artworks where a clear message can be perceived on many levels and helps to get involved with the artwork – films by Turkish, Estonian and Canadian authors, individual sculptural works and installations created by German, Slovenian and Estonian authors.

Meanwhile, the interactive works at E! encourage and motivate the visitors to the exhibition to dig deeper into the theme and participate in it (artworks at Russian, Slovenian, Canadian, Estonian expositions).

The Finnish environmental art project is an important work and a good example of how to involve many students and teachers from different art schools in contemporary art activities.
The artworks where research-based methods are used help to understand the unlimited possibilities (research of ants, emotional reactions to reading poetry, human behaviour etc.) of broadening the means of art itself as well as art education.

Ilze Kupca, curator of the Latvian exposition

About Eksperimenta! 2014
It was really exciting to be part of the Eksperimenta! 2014 exhibition! As in the first edition, I was able to follow up on the setup of national expositions and to get in touch with the students and curators, talking about art and discussing different views on the topic of the event, Art and Science. After I finished putting together our installation I had the opportunity to help the Slovenians to finish theirs. There was a lot of hard work going on. For me it was like a dream, being inside a medieval house for five days and showing our projects there. It was nice to see so many conceptual projects (some with a deep philosophical background) inside a 14th-century church. The experimental music performance was amazing too, for the same reason. And it was a very good environment to get to know people and meet old friends. I was alone, my students couldn’t come because of the travel costs (really expensive!), so I got together with the Portuguese delegation, with whom I always feel like home, and was “adopted” by the very considerate German students and curator.

If I had to choose an exposition to highlight I would say that the Slovenian work impressed me a lot. It wasn’t a surprise for me because from the first Eksperimenta! I already knew the serious work that Nina Ostan does with her students. I have only good memories of Tallinn, and the five days that I spent in the city this time were like a dream. To have the chance to get together with all these interested and interesting people, celebrating art and its power when linked to education, was definitely very important to me as a teacher, as an artist and as a person.

Estêvão da Fontoura Haeser, curator of the Brazilian exposition

Eksperimenta! 2014 – I had the same great feeling as three years ago: the impressive variety of approaches and themes, a lot of very interesting and powerful works.

My overall opinion is that there are now more contemporary works and fewer schematic school art tasks/works than during the first Eksperimenta! three years ago.

The theme of this year’s Eksperimenta! – art and science – is very specific and as a result not many of the presented works have approached it narrowly.

I was impressed with the Latvian selection and their artistic works, which address the relationship between art and science in an impressive, in-depth way in addition to being visually very likable. The German works – which are interesting, creative and somewhat conceptual – are obviously more sophisticated, as the German students are a few years older.

The Portuguese notebooks are like small artists’ books, observing and wondering about nature; an interesting approach, which can be linked all the way back to Leonardo!
I was also keen on many other presented creations, such as two great Estonian video works, the Russian installation about semiotics, and the computer generated images from Finland.
All in all, many positive impressions and inspirational memories for me – just like the first time!

Nina Ostan, curator of the Slovenian exposition

Eksperimenta! 2014 is an example of the good practice of projects connecting art to education and cultural institutions. The interdisciplinary topic of the international exhibition and the focus on contemporary art practices brought up a fantastic set of curatorial projects created with students between the ages of 14 and 19. The diversity of approaches and themes between different countries is an example of the great variety of students’ narrative discourses inspired by contemporary artists. Many different media and means were used by the young artists – installations, performances, drawing, painting, video art and digital media. The curatorial projects, which were mostly developed by teachers and artists, helped the students to elaborate on the issues related to their concerns about identity, diversity, ecology and concepts of science, using language and tools on a professional level. The Estonian young artists brought up the theme of “Social Ecology” in their works, exhibiting a deep level of reflection in the process. Latvia chose the theme “Borders and Border Situations” and engaged students in discussing teenage concerns about the world. The young Finnish artists with the topic “Art Navigator 2” made clear how visual arts through urban art strategies empower students to interact with their social environment. From Russia, the focus on semiotics was very interesting and made possible a fascinating set of creative solutions in the students’ discourses. The German curators and lecturers from the International Munich Art Lab helped students to develop projects under the topic of “Currents” which gave the artists enough space to convey personal histories through different media. The young Slovenian artists, who worked with artists and scientists, brought up an amazing reflection on daily life experiences inspired by international and Slovenian contemporary artists. The young Portuguese artists worked with science and art teachers, using sketchbooks in the process and as the final products. The Turkish exposition presented surprising works illustrating a high level of thinking through the use of metaphors about science. The Brazilian curator with his students paid symbolic homage to Euclid and Einstein through the lens of youth culture. And finally the Canadian curators engaged the students in experimenting with technologies to express personal feelings and ideas about the society and the planet.

Teresa Torres Eca, president of InSEA

Eksperimenta! 2014 – Personal Reflections on the German Exposition
Exhibiting works in a wide range of media, the German exposition proved to be a powerful one that covered a variety of themes unique to the individual artists. Works that remain in my mind are the exquisite photographic portraits by Julius Ertelt which engaged audience participation through an invitation to immediate visual response based on the personal opinions of the viewer’s reaction and first impressions of the individuals seen in the photographs, the intriguing video “The Science of Body Care” by artist Marlene Mertens, and the beautiful, detailed, intricate ink drawings by Leonie Brehorst based on human relationships and the social aspect of life in general. These three works are just a few examples of the high level of sophistication that the young German artists from the International Munich Art Lab (IMAL) were working with to complete their contribution to Eksperimenta! 2014. Congratulations to the curators Matias Becker and Steffen Haas on a very strong exhibition of talent from Germany!

Peter Vietgen, co-curator of the Canadian exposition

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