Performa 17 Announces the Estonian Pavilion Without Walls

New York – Performa, the internationally acclaimed organization dedicated to live performance across disciplines, announces the Estonian Pavilion Without Walls for Performa 17, the seventh edition of the Performa Biennial, to take place November 1-19, 2017, at locations throughout New York City.


The Estonian Pavilion Without Walls features newly commissioned performances by Flo Kasearu, Anu Vahtra, and Kris Lemsalu who will collaborate with New York-based musician and artist Kyp Malone, Vahtra’s project is based on the legacy of the legendary artist Gordon Matta-Clark and his group Anarchitecture; Kasearu presents a site-specific performance in the Estonian House New York, exploring the past and future stories of this members-only club; and Lemsalu and Malone will conceive a durational performance with ceramic costumes, music, and video projections.


“Estonia is enormously proud to be collaborating with the Performa 17 Biennial in the Pavilion Without Walls program in what we see as a groundbreaking event for the contemporary art scene in Estonia. Highlighting the country’s most outstanding young artists in the culturally-charged context of New York makes possible an artistic exchange with a global reach,” comments Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Republic of Estonia.
Since the declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia’s contemporary art scene has grown alongside a rapidly shifting society, and steadily gaining an international profile. The Pavilion presents three of the most exciting contemporary artists from Estonia working today, while showcasing the country’s rich but lesser known history of performance. As in many parts of the world, performance has proven to be a way for artists to find new modes of expression and political action through interdisciplinary art practices, particularly during periods of occupation. Some of Estonia’s more established artists including Jaan Toomik, Ene-Liis Semper, Group T, and Raoul Kurvitz were at the forefront of the so-called “generation of winners,” bridging the gap between their communist past and capitalist future through new performance strategies that mixed traditional and contemporary aesthetics.


As part of the Performa Institute at the Performa 17 Hub, Anu Allas, art historian and curator at KUMU Art Museum, and Maria Arusoo, curator and Director at the Center for Contemporary Art in Tallinn, will give an overview of contemporary performance in Estonia. The Pavilion will also include a screening of video works by a variety of Estonian artists, as well as a curated selection of books for sale presented by the Estonian bookstore and publisher Lugemik, founded in 2010 by Anu Vahtra and Indrek Sirkel, the only art publisher in Estonia. As part of the Performa Consortium and the Pavilion Without Walls, Art in General will present an exhibition by Estonian artists Merike Estna and Maria Metsalu, curated by Maria Arusoo.


The Estonian Pavilion Without Walls is organized by Esa Nickle and Maaike Gouwenberg, with Curatorial Fellow Evelyn Raudsepp. The program is co-produced by the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center (ECADC), and partners include KUMU Art Museum, Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia, Art in General, The New York Estonian House. Supported by the Estonian Ministry of Culture, Outset Estonia, and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center (ECADC).


Media Contact:

Victoria Kung


+1 212 202 3402


Flo Kasearu, Kris Lemsalu, Anu Vahtra. Photos: Kristina Õllek