Kai Residency 2019–2021
Kai Art Center is pleased to announce the Kai Residency, a research-based international residency program which annually provides the opportunity for twelve visual artists, curators and writers to live and work in Tallinn while being immersed in the city’s dynamic art scene. The Kai Residency aims to support innovative practices, develop global networks, and engage the local art community in Estonia.
The first open call for the residency received over 300 applications from more than 60 countries and six continents. Jury members included Kari Conte (Kai Residency Curator and ISCP, New York); Karin Laansoo (Kai Art Center, Tallinn); Ann Mirjam Vaikla (Narva Art Residency, Estonia) and Jenni Nurmenniemi (Fiskars Village Biennale, Finland). Fifteen artists and curators were selected for the inaugural program which will take place from October 2019 to December 2020. Each resident will spend between two and four weeks in Tallinn at Kai Art Centre, where they will participate in the local art context, present their work to the public and conduct research related to both their work and Tallinn. The first cohort of residents includes Anastasia Ax (Sweden), Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (Lithuania), Udi Edelman (Israel), Felipe de Ávila Franco (Finland/Brazil), Flóra Gadó (Hungary), Saara Hannus (Finland), Felix Kalmenson (Georgia), Fawn Krieger (United States), Maija Kurševa (Latvia), Ceci Moss (United States), Abraham Onoriode Oghobase (Nigeria/Canada), belit sağ (Turkey/Netherlands), Frida Sandström (Sweden), TOK (Russia), and Yan Xing (China/United States).
The curator for the 2019-2021 season of the Kai residency is Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York. Kari manages the residency, exhibition, and audience programs for ISCP and cooperates with more than 100 artists per year. Recent curated personal exhibitions include solo presentations of Jennifer Tee, Eva Kotátková, and Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens, and the group exhibitions Concrete Truth: Art and the Documentary, The Animal Mirror, and Aqueous Earth. Kari has also curated exhibitions for the Aichi Triennale and Performa Biennial. As an author, she is primarily interested in the tangents between art and politics and the history of exhibitions. Before she joined ISCP, Kari lived in London, where she worked at the Whitechapel Gallery and completed the MA Curating Contemporary Art Program.
Kai residency 2019-2021 season is supported by Nordic Culture Point, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, and the European Regional Development Fund.
2019-2021 Kai Residency participant bios:
August 2021: Flóra Gadó
Flóra Gadó (lives and works in Budapest) is a curator, researcher and art critic. Since 2018 she works as a curator at the municipal contemporary art center Budapest Gallery and recently obtained her doctoral degree in Film, Media and Cultural Studies at Eötvös Loránd University. Her recent projects include the group exhibition So Far, So Good at Budapest Gallery, Judit Flóra Schuller’s solo exhibition at Julius Koller Society, Bratislava and the group exhibition Ruritania which she co-curates with Piotr Sikora and Lucia Kvocaková for the next edition of Biennale Warsawa in 2022. In the past years she took part in several curatorial residency and research programs, including MeetFactory in Prague, Brno House of Arts in Brno and the East Art Mags program for art critics in Romania and Poland. Between 2016 and 2019 she was the Vice President of the Studio of Young Artists’ Association, Budapest. Currently, she is a lecturer at Budapest Metropolitan University and co-editor of the essay journal Café Babel.
July–August 2021: Viviana Checchia
Viviana Checchia (lives and works in Göteborg) is a curator and researcher. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at HDK-Valand. Previous to this role she was Public Engagement Curator at the Centre for Contemporary Arts: Glasgow (CCA). Prior to taking up her role at CCA, Viviana produced and contributed to a range of international projects, including the Young Artist of the Year Award 2014 (YAYA) in Ramallah and the 4th Athens Biennale. For the past ten years, Viviana has co-directed Vessel, a platform for critical discussion surrounding the cultural, social, economic and political change created through community-based work, based in Puglia, Italy. With Anna Santomauro, she received the 2013 ICI/DEDALUS Research Award for research carried out in the United States, and in 2016 she was awarded the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory laureate’s choice for her contributions to the comprehension of and international interest in Eastern European art.
May–June 2021: The Creative Association of Curators TOK (Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits)
TOK (lives and works in Saint Petersburg) is a curatorial collective co-founded in 2010 as a platform for interdisciplinary research-based projects in the field of contemporary art. Throughout their practice, the curators challenge the borders of the territory of art and seek ways of how it can foster social change. Most projects of their projects are site-specific, multilayered and long-term initiatives aimed at generating new knowledge about the causes and consequences of changing social reality. TOK’s projects deal with current issues in Russia and internationally: migration processes, public space, and citizens, development of education, collective memory and amnesia, and the growing role of the media in global society. TOK curates exhibitions, educational events, conferences, summer schools, and issues publications and exhibition catalogues.
March 2020: belit sağ
belit sağ (lives and works in Amsterdam) was born in Turkey and is a videomaker and visual artist. She studied mathematics in Turkey and visual art in the Netherlands. Her background in moving images is rooted in her work within video-activist groups in Ankara and Istanbul, where she co-initiated groups such as VideA, karahaber, and bak.ma. She has completed residencies at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York and at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, among others. Her ongoing artistic and moving image practice largely focuses on the role of visual representations of violence in the experience and perception of political conflicts in Turkey, Germany, and the Netherlands.
February/September 2020: Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė
Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (lives and works in Vilnius) works as an artist, filmmaker and theatre director. In her creative practice, Barzdžiukaitė explores the gap between objective and imagined realities and playfully challenges an anthropocentric way of thinking. Barzdžiukaitė is one of three artists representing Lithuania at 2019 Venice Biennale with the performance-installation Sun & Sea (Marina), which won the Golden Lion for the best national pavilion. Her latest full-length documentary film-essay “Acid Forest” was awarded at the Locarno International Film Festival—among others—and it continues to travel to film festivals around the world.
November 2019: Saara Hannus
Saara Hannus (lives and works in Helsinki) is a queer-feminist artist and curator working in the intersections of sexual/romantic relationships and art making. Their practice is influenced and informed by their personal interests and emotions, and they want to highlight the subjective characteristic of curatorial practices, while still actively pursuing the ethical position of a curator and stressing the politics of representation. They are currently working on an exhibition project titled Fantasy 1 & 2 on monogamy. The core questions of Fantasy 1 & 2 evolve around where the limits of monogamy lie, which structures in society and culture are maintained to support it, and can different genders and sexualities, desires and lust exist in monogamy or is it always a white, colonial cis-heterosexual structure?
October 2019: Felipe de Ávila Franco
Felipe de Ávila Franco (lives and works in Helsinki) was born in Brazil and holds an MFA from the Finnish Art Academy. Working internationally since 2012, he investigates materiality and industrial contamination under the lens of biopolitics and ecocriticism through sculpture. Establishing interdisciplinary links between the arts, humanities, and natural sciences, his practice addresses the artistic process as a tool to pursue new knowledge, evoking art as a mechanism to activate a deeper discussion on the human conflict with itself and over the misguided notions of ‘nature’ as something separate from the human. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Brazilian Arts and Kiasma-Museum of Contemporary Art.
2022 Kai Residency participants:
Udi Edelman (lives and works in Tel Aviv) is a Curator and Founding Director of the Institute for Public Presence (IPP) – the Center for Digital Art, Israel. He is also Chief Editor of Maarav – art and culture journal and Co-editor of Mafte’akh – an academic journal for political thought, published by the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University. His curated exhibitions and projects include Histories (2013) which focused on the notion of ‘historically interventional art’; HeLa: Formations of Human Existence (2014) about the post-human condition; State<Chronicle (2013-2014) a live performance project, reading and history debate in public squares; Action PRL (2015), a research and performance festival of public action in Warsaw; the Monument/Action exhibition trilogy (2016-2018) about public art and in Israel throughout the twentieth century and What are monuments made of? (2017), and exhibition within the 11th Kaunas Biennial, Lithuania.
Ceci Moss (lives and works in Los Angeles) is a curator, writer and educator. She is the founding director of Gas, a mobile, autonomous, experimental and networked platform for contemporary art located in a truck gallery and online. Launched in Fall 2017, this non-profit space has thus far shown work by 80 artists, organized seven exhibitions and received widespread local, national and international acclaim. Los Angeles Magazine named Gas “one of LA’s most interesting art galleries.” Moss has MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University, and a BA in History and Sociology from University of California, Berkeley. Her first book Expanded Internet Art: Twenty-First Century Artistic Practice and the Informational Milieu will be released in Fall 2019 through the Bloomsbury series International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Critical Studies at the University of Southern California.
Abraham Onoriode Oghobase
Abraham Onoriode Oghobase (lives and works in Toronto) was born in Nigeria. He studied photography at the Yaba College of Technology’s School of Art, Design and Printing in Lagos. Through his artistic practice, Oghobase explores identity in relation to socio-economic geographies, often using performance-based self-portraiture to uncover interior worlds. His photography has been exhibited widely, including at Circuit Gallery, Toronto, 2019; Art Twenty One, Lagos, 2018; the Leopold Museum, Vienna, 2017; Palais des Beaux Arts (BOZAR), Brussels, 2016; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014. In 2014, Oghobase was a finalist for the prestigious Prix Pictet global award in photography and sustainability. His work is in collections including the Art Institute of Chicago and Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki.
Felix Kalmenson (lives and works in Tbilisi) was born in Russia and is an artist whose practice navigates installation, video and performance. Kalmenson’s work narrates the liminal space of a researcher’s and artist’s encounter with landscape and archive. Kalmenson bears witness to everyday life and investigates elements of private and collective histories in their work. Kalmenson has exhibited internationally including at Kim? CAC, Riga; Blaffer Art Museum, Houston; Si Shang Art Museum, Beijing; ACAC, Aomori, Japan; Success, Perth; Museum Abteiberg, Germany; Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai; AGO, Toronto; Aaran Gallery, Tehran; and Le Cube, Rabat. Kalmenson collaborates with Rouzbeh Akhbari under the name Pejvak, with their forthcoming feature films “Bring Forth” and “The Seed” expected for release in 2020.
Yan Xing (lives and works in Los Angeles) was born in China. In 2012, Xing won the Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Best Young Artist; that year, he also received a nomination for the Future Generation Art Prize from the Pinchuk Art Centre. Xing has exhibited and performed extensively, at venues such as Kunsthalle Basel; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne; Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine; Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø, and Kadist Art Foundation.
Fawn Krieger (lives and works in New York City) examines themes of touch, ownership and exchange in her practice. She has exhibited her work at The Kitchen, Art in General, Nice & Fit Gallery, The Moore Space, Von Lintel Gallery, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Human Resources, Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Real Art Ways, Soloway Gallery, and Neon>fdv. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, NY Arts, Flash Art, and Texte zur Kunst.
Anastasia Ax (lives and works in Stockholm) is inspired by the idea of construction and its deconstruction. In her practice, the different mediums of sculpture, performance, ink drawing and sound interweave in the creation of a wordless language, indicative of our chaotic universe. Her works have been shown in numerous international art museums and galleries such as Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Marta Herfrod; Neues Museum, Nuremberg, and the Serralves Museum, Porto. In 2015, she was the winner of the internationally acclaimed Faber Castell International Drawing Award.