Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM) is a self-initiated contemporary art institution, primarily functioning as a public non-profit exhibition space and an unabashedly idiosyncratic art museum. It is founded on an unconventional idea of a contemporary art museum with the aim of exhibiting, collecting, creating and enabling contemporary art, while trying to subvert the established working methods, unwritten rules and methods of exhibition-making, prevalent in the field of art and culture.
When it comes to its mentality, EKKM inhabits the wide area between official state funded art institutions and artist-run and do-it-yourself project spaces. EKKM has maintained its identity as a flexible and versatile institution, adapting to changes and inevitabilities as they come along – starting out as a punk or half-squatted museum, at times functioning both as an experimental and a more traditional Kunsthalle and ending up in the state it currently is. To this date, EKKM has managed to avoid defining itself in a too narrow or overly definitive manner.
For a generation of younger artists, curators and art students, EKKM started out as a means to establish themselves; an institution that conjoined two things that were not tended to at the time – the name Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia and a run-down three-storey industrial building just at the edge of Tallinn Old Town. Since 2007, EKKM has produced exhibition seasons that include a variety of exhibitions, events and art projects, as well as collected, popularised and helped shape the field of contemporary art. By January 2021, EKKM had produced 76 exhibitions with the participation of 42 curators and 431 artists.
Alongside exhibition projects EKKM organises summerly residencies since 2022 for artists to engage with the public garden and the unique archaeology of the exhibition house. This residency projects aim to tangle critical and burning socio-political topics. In 2022, Gisèle Gonon participated in the residency and her project “Against the Grain” was installed in the community garden of EKKM, acting as an agricultural artwork that addressed several aspects of contemporary grain production.
Ticket: EKKM has always provided free entrance to its visitors as a principle. Through this decision, EKKM maintains itself as a social non-commercial public space and avoids entering the customer and service provider relationship with its audiences and taking on consequent expectations.
Season: EKKM is not open all year round but operates as a public exhibition space seasonally, from early spring to early winter – from the end of March or the beginning of April until mid-December. This rhythm was initially set due to the poor condition of the building and the lack of heating and thermal insulation, however, it has now become one of the more notable characteristics of EKKM. Even though the indoor climate has considerably improved over the years, the conditions are still not good enough to provide a year-round exhibition programme. The seasonal public exhibition programme allows EKKM to realistically maximise its exhibition space, as well as its surroundings, and enables the modest team of a big institution to work behind the scenes throughout the year.
This season, our café is transformed into a bar and is operated by the collective of the former Kultuuriklubi Kelm (Johannes Valdma, Jonathan Peterson and Mihkel Matkevicius). We would like to point out that the new EKKM’s bar remains open after the exhibitions have closed for the day.
Lugemik Bookshop that opened its doors in EKKM’s courtyard in 2013, has moved into the museum’s cafe for this season. The shop’s selection includes a wide range of newest local and international art publications as well as items like T-shirts, aprons, publications and more with proceeds going towards supporting EKKM and the renovation of the building.
In 2022, EKKM garden is celebrating its third season. Our freshly united community of gardeners will join in building an outdoor kitchen, as well as generating a programme of workshops and events. If you’d like to become a member of the gardening community, drop a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In addition, there is an art and sculpture area in our community garden as part of the public urban space, where works belonging to the EKKM collection are exhibited.
Artist Gisèle Gonon’s project “Against the Grain”, which will be installed in the community garden of the Estonian Contemporary Art Museum in spring 2022, brings modes and scales of agricultural production into urban space. The conceptual cereal garden, which will be maintained throughout the season by the community gardeners of EKKM, acts as an agricultural art work that addresses several aspects of contemporary grain production. Who has access to arable lands? How is the grain that grows on it cultivated, grown, traded and processed? “Against the Grain” is born and developed in collaboration with local small scale organic grain farmers and environmental institutes, in order to bridge agriculture, art and wider audiences.
The project is supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment, French Institute of Estonia and Goethe Institute.
Against the Grain, Gisèle Gonon, 2022-
Wheat, rye, oats and barley seeds from Hiiumaa (EST), Châteaudouble (FR) and Klaipėda (LT)
In 2022, we are continuing with regular guided tours in three languages (Estonian, English, Russian), and other events of our public and educational programmes, announced alongside each new exhibition. EKKM art school will continue offering educational programs for groups of young people of school age accompanying each exhibition.
Due to the current political situation, we also plan to give tours in Ukrainian, conducted by our coordinator of educational programmes Anita Kodanik.
Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM)
Kursi 5, Tallinn, 10415
Open from April to December
Check the dates of the exhibitions!
info [at] ekkm.ee / +372 53305449
Join EKKM’s mailing list HERE.
EKKM has joined momondo’s travel guide to Tallinn programme, see more HERE.
EKKM is supported by:
Estonian Ministry of Culture
Cultural Endowment of Estonia
Eesti Kaasaegse Kunsti Muuseum MTÜ