NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The first Tallinn Biennial kicks off on 2 July and aims to fill the gap, geographically and institutionally, between the Kaunas, Riga and Helsinki Biennials. Tallinn Biennial will attract international attention to the local scene, present the work of artists to a broader public and through a curatorial standpoint will speak of issues relevant for today.

The Tallinn Biennial has grown out of Tallinn Art Week, which will continue to accompany the biennial by taking place outside the capital in alternate years. Andra Orn, the head organiser of the biennial, says that unlike the festival style art week format, the biennial has a more in-depth approach and will be more comprehensive. “The biennial will offer locals, and hopefully in the future an international audience, the opportunity to see and experience the latest in Nordic and Baltic contemporary art, and over a longer period of time. This international biennial will put Tallinn on the map for art professionals and the public, and will help find new opportunities for Estonian artists and new collaborative projects for local creative institutions,” explains Orn about the importance of the biennial.

Within the framework of this year’s theme – Global language – a universal system of communication is sought, through which we could freely communicate regardless of gender, race, background, education and religion, within the paradoxical situation where we are increasingly closer to one another, yet moving further apart. A global language could create a platform for understanding and offer solutions to common global challenges that are more acute than ever before. The biennial proposes that this language could be art and culture, and asks what we are likely to gain or lose if it were applied.

“Language and cultural identity are the threads that hold humanity together. Many of these have become stretched, torn apart, woven together or have completely disappeared,” explains organiser Andra Orn regarding her curatorial position.

How can we find a common understanding that reflects reality today and helps us adjust to the rapid changes? Is there a universal language that would help us understand the different notions and support one another? Can we face global challenges without a common language? 

Tallinn Biennial will take place this year from 2–30 July. The programme covering almost a whole month will include many exceptional art events, exhibition tours and performances. The traditional Tallinn Art Week events will take place during the opening week of the biennial. “The summer’s great art event takes the art public into the world of the creative underground, where experimentation and seeking ways of expression are more important than opposition to mainstream norms and expectations,” says Orn. “We hope to reveal more precise news about the programme fairly soon. The programme will certainly include the open air art event on Vabaduse väljak, tours of galleries and exhibition halls, meetings with artists and much more” she added. The programme will be continually updated on the homepage https://tallinnbiennial.com/.

Open air art day at Vabaduse Squre during Tallinn Art Week in 2018.

The main organisers of the biennial are Andra Orn and Kelli Turmann of the Nordic Baltic Art Center NOBA MTÜ. The main sponsors of the art event are NOAR.eu, Solaris and Ülemiste City.