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The winner of the Public Choice Award at the 20th Annual Exhibition of the Estonian Artists’ Association is Erki Kasemets.

The audience prize of 5,000 euros was jointly presented by Riivo Anton, Aivar Berzin, Jaan Manitski, Tiit Pruuli and Rain Tamm. “For the third year in a row, the Estonian Artists’ Association and Tallinn Art Hall are pleased to work with entrepreneurs who make an extremely important contribution to the weighty list of art awards, and sponsor a monetary prize in addition to the recognition received from the exhibition visitors,” noted Elin Kard, member of the jury of the Annual Exhibition and President of the Estonian Artists’ Association.

The audience selected its favourite from among the 142 artists participating in the Spring Exhibition. Voting was open at Tallinn Art Hall and the galleries until 5 July, and a total of 1,067 visitors cast their votes. At the award ceremony, a gift voucher of 500 euros for the NOAR platform (noar.eu) was drawn from among all the voters.

 

Andra Orn announcing the winner of NOAR.eu 500-euro gift card

Erki Kasemets (b. 1969) is an artist whose work includes documenting his personal life, a polygon theatre, trash and action art, machines, kinetic art, games and inventing the game rules, painting and much more. Kasemets is an environmental artist who often creates works from reusable materials and regards participation in an artwork as being more important than its consumption.

His work displayed at the Spring Exhibition, Karl Marx and Koala, which consists of vertical stripes, can be viewed from two different angles – depending on the angle of viewing, the image appears in red or green shades. Kasemets used modules cut out from different product packages to create the work, calling it a bricolage, which is an accurate yet extremely modest denominator for such a consistent and voluminous artistic practice.

Erki Kasemets, winner of the Public Choice Award: “I have had the opportunity to participate in the annual exhibitions of the Artists’ Association on all but a few occasions in its twenty year history. This tradition, repeated from year to year, has laid the foundation for a certain kind of chronology and perception of time, where participation in annual exhibitions has become a process of measuring my arch of life and giving meaning to it. I am sure that the spring of 2020 and, consequently, this year’s Spring Exhibition will be remembered for a long time. I finished my work at this exhibition during the state of emergency, without knowing whether or not the exhibition would physically take place. I must say I was quite amazed on hearing of the result of the vote at the exhibition. The shock was, of course, a positive one. My personal experience with competitions hasn’t exactly been full of achievement. Perhaps this has made me somewhat bitter when it comes to rankings and determining the best ones.”

However, I am now forced to re-evaluate my scepticism as the Spring Exhibition has hit a joyful final chord. I am sincerely grateful to all the voters, the organisers of the exhibition and, of course, the art patrons presenting the award! 

The ten artists receiving most votes at this year’s Annual Exhibition were Siim-Tanel Annus, Mauri Gross, Siiri Jüris, Erki Kasemets, Ilmar Kruusamäe, Toomas Kuusing, Laurentsius, Tiit Pääsuke, Marje Üksine and Toomas Vint.Photo gallery of the award ceremony can be viewed here.