The view from Estonia

by Steve Watson in October 2023
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Art & design Current affairs

A beautiful print magazine funded by the Estonian Ministry of Culture and published by the Estonian Centre for Contemporary Art, A Shade Colder sets out a distinctive vision of art across Estonia and the wider region.

The artworks picked for inclusion tend towards the strange and provocative – there’s a lost history of Estonia’s outsider art, and notes on running a project space, because, “the most genuine and exhilarating encounters often take place in project rooms and artist-run spaces.” There’s certainly no sense of the government funders exerting their influence to make sure the magazine is full of prestige artworks and pro-Estonian sentiment.

Indeed, one of the most interesting themes to arise out of the magazine is the presence of Russia, and the influence it exerts on its neighbours across the Baltic states. It’s there in the stories that look back to the life of artists in Soviet times, and the changes that were introduced as a result of independence in 1991. And it’s very much there in the threat posed by war in Ukraine, with artists and curators invited to come up with their own answers to the question of, Where Do We Go From Here?

I hope the video above gives a sense of what this magazine is all about, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from this strange and lovely art magazine.

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