The Kai Art Center residency program offers international curators, writers, visual artists and other contemporary art professionals an opportunity to live and work in Tallinn while being immersed in the city’s dynamic art scene. Kai residency aims to support innovative practices, develop global networks, and engage the local art community in Estonia.
The residency will admit up to 15 residents in its inaugural year, each of whom will stay in Tallinn for two to four weeks. Five spots in the program are allocated to participants from Nordic and Baltic countries. The first resident will start working at the Center in October 2019 and thereafter, the residents will change every month. Residents can use their designated desk and the meeting rooms at Kai. The residency is primarily aimed at professionals with research-based experience, as there are no studios at the Center.
The curator for the 2019/2020 season of the Kai residency is Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York. Kari manages the residency, exhibition, and audience programs for ISCP and cooperates with more than 100 artists per year. Recent curated personal exhibitions include solo presentations of Jennifer Tee, Eva Kotátková, and Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens, and the group exhibitions Concrete Truth: Art and the Documentary, The Animal Mirror, and Aqueous Earth. Kari has also curated exhibitions for the Aichi Triennale and Performa Biennial. As an author, she is primarily interested in the tangents between art and politics and the history of exhibitions. Before she joined ISCP, Kari lived in London, where she worked at the Whitechapel Gallery and completed the MA Curating Contemporary Art Program.
Kai residency 2019/2020 season is supported by Nordic Culture Point.
Kai Residency 2019–2020
The Kai Art Center is pleased to announce the Kai Residency, a research-based international residency program which annually provides the opportunity for twelve visual artists, curators and writers to live and work in Tallinn while being immersed in the city’s dynamic art scene. The Kai Residency aims to support innovative practices, develop global networks, and engage the local art community in Estonia.
The first open call for the residency received over 300 applications from more than 60 countries and six continents. Jury members included Kari Conte (Kai Residency Curator and ISCP, New York); Karin Laansoo (Kai Art Center, Tallinn); Ann Mirjam Vaikla (Narva Art Residency, Estonia) and Jenni Nurmenniemi (Fiskars Village Biennale, Finland). Fifteen artists and curators were selected for the inaugural program which will take place from October 2019 to December 2020. Each resident will spend between two and four weeks in Tallinn at Kai Art Centre, where they will participate in the local art context, present their work to the public and conduct research related to both their work and Tallinn. The first cohort of residents includes Anastasia Ax (Sweden), Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (Lithuania), Udi Edelman (Israel), Felipe de Ávila Franco (Finland/Brazil), Flóra Gadó (Hungary), Saara Hannus (Finland), Felix Kalmenson (Georgia), Fawn Krieger (United States), Maija Kurševa (Latvia), Ceci Moss (United States), Abraham Onoriode Oghobase (Nigeria/Canada), belit sağ (Turkey/Netherlands), Frida Sandström (Sweden), TOK (Russia), and Yan Xing (China/United States).
Kai Residency launched on October 15th, 2019 with an event from 5-7pm that began with an introduction by Karin Laansoo and Kari Conte to Kai Residency’s structure, ambitions and 2019-2020 residents, followed by a presentation by Kai’s first resident artist, Felipe de Ávila Franco. Following this, a roundtable focusing on the role of residencies within the contemporary art ecosystem and further afield will take place. Speakers included Kari Conte; Juha Huuskonen (Director, HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme); Juste Jonutyte (Board member, Rupert, Vilnius) and Marge Monko, (artist, Tallinn). The discussion will consider how international residencies impact artistic and professional development, local art communities, and the circulation of artworks and ideas.
2019-2020 Kai Residency participant bios:
October 2019: Felipe de Ávila Franco
Felipe de Ávila Franco (lives and works in Helsinki) was born in Brazil and holds an MFA from the Finnish Art Academy. Working internationally since 2012, he investigates materiality and industrial contamination under the lens of biopolitics and ecocriticism through sculpture. Establishing interdisciplinary links between the arts, humanities, and natural sciences, his practice addresses the artistic process as a tool to pursue new knowledge, evoking art as a mechanism to activate a deeper discussion on the human conflict with itself and over the misguided notions of ‘nature’ as something separate from the human. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Brazilian Arts and Kiasma-Museum of Contemporary Art.
November 2019: Saara Hannus
Saara Hannus (lives and works in Helsinki) is a queer-feminist artist and curator working in the intersections of sexual/romantic relationships and art making. Their practice is influenced and informed by their personal interests and emotions, and they want to highlight the subjective characteristic of curatorial practices, while still actively pursuing the ethical position of a curator and stressing the politics of representation. They are currently working on an exhibition project titled Fantasy 1 & 2 on monogamy. The core questions of Fantasy 1 & 2 evolve around where the limits of monogamy lie, which structures in society and culture are maintained to support it, and can different genders and sexualities, desires and lust exist in monogamy or is it always a white, colonial cis-heterosexual structure?
December 2019: Frida Sandström
Frida Sandström (lives and works in Stockholm) is a writer and critic. Her writing is frequently published in Swedish and international media. She holds a MA in Aesthetics from Södertörn University and is a visiting lecturer in Contemporary Art Theory at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, and at Gerlesborg School of Arts. Sandström is a contributing editor at Paletten Art Journal and part of the curatorial collective behind Norbergfestival. Together with choreographer and writer Kasia Wolinská, she runs the score-based study practice “The Future Body at Work”, recently published by e-flux Journal. Sandström co-curated the interdisciplinary conference Punctum Caesura––Art Criticism in a New Public Sphere (2018) for Nya Småland and developed the discursive programme Life Choreographies––Infrastructures for a Livable Life (2019) for Public Art Agency Sweden.
January 2020: Maija Kurševa
Maija Kurševa (lives and works in Riga) is an artist, publisher and lecturer at the Art Academy of Latvia, Program Director for the Riga Zine Festival, and, last but not least, cofounder of the artist-run Low Gallery in Riga, Latvia. Her work encompasses various media, including printmaking, drawing, sculpture and animation, attending to recurring characters and themes with a sense of humor. Among Kurševa’s latest projects are the solo show Investigation, Kim? Contemporary Art Center, 2018; Checkered Order; Gallery Māksla XO, 2016; Talk To Me, Akiereyi Art Museum, Iceland; NNN, Latvian National Museum of Art, 2017; and Bigger Peace, Smaller Peace, Latvian Railway History Museum, 2015. Kurševa was nominated for the Purvītis Prize in 2017 for her work Joviality.
February 2020: Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė
Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (lives and works in Vilnius) works as an artist, filmmaker and theatre director. In her creative practice, Barzdžiukaitė explores the gap between objective and imagined realities and playfully challenges an anthropocentric way of thinking. Barzdžiukaitė is one of three artists representing Lithuania at 2019 Venice Biennale with the performance-installation Sun & Sea (Marina), which won the Golden Lion for the best national pavilion. Her latest full-length documentary film-essay “Acid Forest” was awarded at the Locarno International Film Festival—among others—and it continues to travel to film festivals around the world.
March 2020: belit sağ
belit sağ (lives and works in Amsterdam) was born in Turkey and is a videomaker and visual artist. She studied mathematics in Turkey and visual art in the Netherlands. Her background in moving images is rooted in her work within video-activist groups in Ankara and Istanbul, where she co-initiated groups such as VideA, karahaber, and bak.ma. She has completed residencies at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York and at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, among others. Her ongoing artistic and moving image practice largely focuses on the role of visual representations of violence in the experience and perception of political conflicts in Turkey, Germany, and the Netherlands.
April 2020: Udi Edelman
Udi Edelman (lives and works in Tel Aviv) is a Curator and Founding Director of the Institute for Public Presence (IPP) – the Center for Digital Art, Israel. He is also Chief Editor of Maarav – art and culture journal and Co-editor of Mafte’akh – an academic journal for political thought, published by the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University. His curated exhibitions and projects include Histories (2013) which focused on the notion of ‘historically interventional art’; HeLa: Formations of Human Existence (2014) about the post-human condition; State<Chronicle (2013-2014) a live performance project, reading and history debate in public squares; Action PRL (2015), a research and performance festival of public action in Warsaw; the Monument/Action exhibition trilogy (2016-2018) about public art and in Israel throughout the twentieth century and What are monuments made of? (2017), and exhibition within the 11th Kaunas Biennial, Lithuania.
May 2020: Ceci Moss
Ceci Moss (lives and works in Los Angeles) is a curator, writer and educator. She is the founding director of Gas, a mobile, autonomous, experimental and networked platform for contemporary art located in a truck gallery and online. Launched in Fall 2017, this non-profit space has thus far shown work by 80 artists, organized seven exhibitions and received widespread local, national and international acclaim. Los Angeles Magazine named Gas “one of LA’s most interesting art galleries.” Moss has MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University, and a BA in History and Sociology from University of California, Berkeley. Her first book Expanded Internet Art: Twenty-First Century Artistic Practice and the Informational Milieu will be released in Fall 2019 through the Bloomsbury series International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Critical Studies at the University of Southern California.
June 2020: Abraham Onoriode Oghobase
Abraham Onoriode Oghobase (lives and works in Toronto) was born in Nigeria. He studied photography at the Yaba College of Technology’s School of Art, Design and Printing in Lagos. Through his artistic practice, Oghobase explores identity in relation to socio-economic geographies, often using performance-based self-portraiture to uncover interior worlds. His photography has been exhibited widely, including at Circuit Gallery, Toronto, 2019; Art Twenty One, Lagos, 2018; the Leopold Museum, Vienna, 2017; Palais des Beaux Arts (BOZAR), Brussels, 2016; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014. In 2014, Oghobase was a finalist for the prestigious Prix Pictet global award in photography and sustainability. His work is in collections including the Art Institute of Chicago and Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki.
July 2020: Felix Kalmenson
Felix Kalmenson (lives and works in Tbilisi) was born in Russia and is an artist whose practice navigates installation, video and performance. Kalmenson’s work narrates the liminal space of a researcher’s and artist’s encounter with landscape and archive. Kalmenson bears witness to everyday life and investigates elements of private and collective histories in their work. Kalmenson has exhibited internationally including at Kim? CAC, Riga; Blaffer Art Museum, Houston; Si Shang Art Museum, Beijing; ACAC, Aomori, Japan; Success, Perth; Museum Abteiberg, Germany; Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai; AGO, Toronto; Aaran Gallery, Tehran; and Le Cube, Rabat. Kalmenson collaborates with Rouzbeh Akhbari under the name Pejvak, with their forthcoming feature films “Bring Forth” and “The Seed” expected for release in 2020.
August 2020: Flóra Gadó
Flóra Gadó (lives and works in Budapest) is a curator, art critic and PhD candidate. She is curator of the municipal contemporary art center Budapest Gallery. Between 2016 and 2019 she was a member of the research group Open Museum, which focused on participatory and collaborative practices in museums. She took part in several curatorial residency programs, including MeetFactory in Prague, Generator in Rennes and the East Art Mags program for art critics in Romania and Poland. Between 2016 and 2019 she was the Vice President of the Studio of Young Artists’ Association, Budapest. Currently, she is a lecturer at Budapest Metropolitan University.
September 2020: Yan Xing
Yan Xing (lives and works in Los Angeles) was born in China. In 2012, Xing won the Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Best Young Artist; that year, he also received a nomination for the Future Generation Art Prize from the Pinchuk Art Centre. Xing has exhibited and performed extensively, at venues such as Kunsthalle Basel; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne; Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine; Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø, and Kadist Art Foundation.
October 2020: Fawn Krieger
Fawn Krieger (lives and works in New York City) examines themes of touch, ownership and exchange in her practice. She has exhibited her work at The Kitchen, Art in General, Nice & Fit Gallery, The Moore Space, Von Lintel Gallery, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Human Resources, Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Real Art Ways, Soloway Gallery, and Neon>fdv. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, NY Arts, Flash Art, and Texte zur Kunst.
November 2020: Anastasia Ax
Anastasia Ax (lives and works in Stockholm) is inspired by the idea of construction and its deconstruction. In her practice, the different mediums of sculpture, performance, ink drawing and sound interweave in the creation of a wordless language, indicative of our chaotic universe. Her works have been shown in numerous international art museums and galleries such as Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Marta Herfrod; Neues Museum, Nuremberg, and the Serralves Museum, Porto. In 2015, she was the winner of the internationally acclaimed Faber Castell International Drawing Award.
December 2020: The Creative Association of Curators TOK (Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits)
TOK (lives and works in Saint Petersburg) is a curatorial collective co-founded in 2010 as a platform for interdisciplinary research-based projects in the field of contemporary art. Throughout their practice, the curators challenge the borders of the territory of art and seek ways of how it can foster social change. Most projects of their projects are site-specific, multilayered and long-term initiatives aimed at generating new knowledge about the causes and consequences of changing social reality. TOK’s projects deal with current issues in Russia and internationally: migration processes, public space, and citizens, development of education, collective memory and amnesia, and the growing role of the media in global society. TOK curates exhibitions, educational events, conferences, summer schools, and issues publications and exhibition catalogues.