11 April 2014

Jaanus Samma is the winner of this years Köler Prize and People’s Choice Award

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press release by EKKM:
May 28 2013


Jaanus Samma wins this years Köler Prize and People`s Choice Award


Jaanus Samma was announced as a winner of both the Grand Prix of Köler Prize 2013 and People`s Choice Award at the gala event taking place last Friday night at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Estonia (EKKM)

In the catalogue essay of the exhibition Hanno Soans describes Sammas work as follows: “Jaanus Samma arrived at his clearly gay-oriented exploratory artist’s position, unusual in Estonian art, furtively and relatively recently, by moving forward step-by-step in his art and interweaving the images from different exhibitions.The tonality of his earlier work, which was somewhat obsessive, flirted with hedonism, and comprised of imagery that elegantly generated its own mythology, might have revealed the nature of the artist’s identity to the attentive observer, but thanks to its unusual aesthetic idiosyncrasy, the non-standardization of its imagery and, somewhat later, also a certain strategic eclecticism, it was revealed as quite reservedly. Despite his numerous exhibition projects, this is generally an uncovered area./…/ Much more serious was Samma’s code exchange when he appeared at the voluminous exhibition titled Untold Stories in the Kunsthalle Tallinn. The theme of the exhibition was sexual minorities, and his audio work Stories (2011) started collecting the history of the local criminalized gay culture of the Soviet era practically from scratch. Maybe the directness of this radicalization is based on the work’s simple audio guide format, not typical to the artist; the exposition site of the work – on the windowsill of the Kunsthalle, where one could see one of the most famous gay cruising locations at that time – also added a lot to work. Samma’s new work, which will be completed for the Köler Prize, is also directly based on the sphere of interest opened up by Stories. The new work is a photographic and spatial installation in the form of a photo and sound installation titled Opera “Chairman”. The libretto of this pictorial opera is comprised of the colorful and dramatic turns experienced by a famous, Soviet-era Tartu gay known as the “Chairman” in the criminalized gay life of the Estonian S.S.R. – alienation from his family, imprisonment and tragic death.”


People`s Choice Award is based on the vote submitted by the visitors of the exhibition during one month starting from the opening night of the nominees show until the closing time of the museum on 23rd of May. Grand Prix is selected by the international jury consisting this year from Luis Silva, director of the Kunsthalle Lisbon and the head of the jury, Virginija Januskeviciute, curator at the CAC, Vilnius, Marita Muukkonen, curator at the HIAP in Helsinki, Eugenio Viola, curator of the LARGE Madre,  Museum of Contemporary Art of Donnaregina in Naples and Maria-Kristiina Soomre, adviser of art at the Ministry of Culture of Estonia and the former curator of the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn.


The Jury reasoned their selection as follows: “The prize goes to Jaanus Samma – for his tender and soulful treatment of the subject; for integrity of intellectual inquiry and artistic practice; for engaging with and beyond powerful imagery. Samma reminds us once again that art stands for continuous possibility of differences. Samma elaborates in an original way on the shifting relationship between public domain and homosexuality. In his latest work, Samma encourages us to revise a concept of a complete re-appropriation of the self.”


The other nominees for this years Köler Prize were: Karel KoplimetsPaul KuimetKristina Norman and Triin Tamm


Grand Prix is sponsored by Smarten Logistics, the People`s Choice Award is sponsored by SALTO Architects

The exhibition of nominees will stay open until June 16

more information:
Anders Härm
tel: +3725084570
e-mail: anders@ekkm.ee