shelter – sanctuary



The Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM) has chosen the surprise curator’s exhibition format for its second project of the 2023 season, entrusting the curation of an exhibition with an artist who does not work in the field of contemporary visual arts on a daily basis. In the second experiment with the surprise curator in the museum’s history, the composer Helena Tulve has been invited to curate the exhibition.

Tulve would like the exhibition shelter – sanctuary to offer visitors a tranquil yet inspiring experiential refuge, leading them to new sensory-based understandings of human coexistence with the nature and with oneself.

“In the fragility of situations, in the depth of ignorance, in the incessant change, we have an inner longing for a return to the place from which we have come and to which we will one day return. In the meantime, we look for a temporary place, a nest, a refuge, a space of immediate being and awareness, where we feel supported in spite of everything. What places, experiences, images, sounds help us keep our sense of life, adapt to the unknown, accept the inevitable, wonder, feel, and be receptive?,” says Helena Tulve, summarising the essence of the exhibition.

The participating artists create moments with their artwork that allow us to rethink the familiar experience of objects and spaces. A journey grows out of the interconnection between the works, in which different materials of artistic creation such as textiles, paper, wood, sound, light, shadow begin to interact. In these situations, sometimes dislocated or amplified by sound, there is the possibility of noticing new connections with oneself, with the environment and with what is situated there.

shelter – sanctuary will remain open until August 6th, 2023.

In her practice, Anne Rudanovski (Estonia) dives into the culture of paper as a man-made material. During her life she has mastered different origami-techniques through which she creates large-scale paper sculptures and installations. In 2019 Rudanovski documented and researched hand-made paper in China, Japan and Korea. Keeping in mind different historic techniques, Rudanovski’s work carries Eastern philosophies and aesthetics of form.

Rudanovski is a sculptor and a lecturer, who studied at the Estonian Academy of Arts 1984–1990. She founded the Paper Museum TYPA (2010) and the Estonian Origami Center SATORI (2020).

Félix Blume (France) is a sound artist and sound engineer. He currently works and lives between Mexico, Brazil and France. His process is often collaborative, working with communities and using public space as the context within which he explores and presents his works. His work incorporates the sounds of different beings and species, from the buzzing of a bee, the steps of a turtle or the chirp of a cricket, as well as human dialogues both with natural and urban contexts. Listen to the work: “Swarm” (2021)

John Grzinich (Estonia/US) has worked since the early 1990s as an artist and cultural coordinator with sound, moving image and site-specificity. The focus of his work in recent years has been to combine sound and listening with various media to confront anthropocentric perceptions of the world through listening. Breathing Doors is a work of sensory architecture that explores fluid boundaries between exterior and interior using sound transmission. The installation is based on a live input mix of local urban sounds and an aeolian wind harp installed on the roof. The sound signals are converted through window panels and furniture.

Laura Põld (Estonia) combines in her work methods from traditional crafts, ceramics and sculpture practice. Her work continuously explores environmental history, human and more-than-human skills and needs, including community, safety and shelter. Her often large-scale constructions or installations either take over or interfere with the allocated venue and/ or its context. Põld studied ceramics at the Estonian Academy of Arts (BA), painting at the University of Tartu (MA) and sculptural and ceramics at the University of Art and Design Linz (MA).

Zimoun (Switzerland) is best known for his installative, generally site-specific, immersive works. He employs mechanical principles of rotation and oscillation to put materials into motion and thus produce sounds. For this he principally uses simple materials from everyday life and industrial usage, such as cardboard, DC motors, cables, welding wire, wooden spars or ventilators. For his works Zimoun develops small apparatuses which, despite their fundamental simplicity, generate a tonal and visual complexity once activated.

Helena Tulve is an Estonian composer whose music focuses on incessant change and related processes. For her, creation is always an encounter with the unknown. Tulve is professor of composition at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and artistic director of the Estonian Music Days. She is also part of the Estonian Composers’ Ensemble EHA, which focuses on sound objects and listening as a central means of human communication. Tulve’s most important works in recent years include the opera Wölfe at the Mecklenburg State Theatre and the sacred representation Visiones, which premiered at the Venice Biennale 2022. Her music has been recorded under numerous labels, including three author’s albums Sula (ER, 2005), Lijnen (ECM, 2008) and Arboles lloran por lluvia (ECM, 2014).

The opening of the exhibition will take place at the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (Kursi 5) on 16 June at 6 pm.

Composers Maria Kõrvits and Tatjana Kozlova-Johannes will join with Helena Tulve for a sound-based curator’s tour.

The night will be continued with the music played by Eliann Tulve-OjaveeNathan Tulve, and Jakob Tulve.

The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Ministry of Culture of Estonia, and the French Institute in Estonia. Special thanks to Berit Kaschan and the Tallinn Waste Centre.

The previous surprise curator exhibition was curated by the film director Marko Raat in 2012.

Curator's tour

with Maria Kõrvits and Tatjana Kozlova-Johannes,

with Maria Kõrvits and Tatjana Kozlova-Johannes,