Eastern Omen: An Exhibition of Contemporary Estonian Art

Press Release

A Düsseldorf Debut! 

 Eastern Omen

An Exhibition of Contemporary Estonian Art

October 5– 27, 2013

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 5th 19.00  

 d-52. space for contemporary art, is proud to host a Düsseldorf debut of the works of four young, internationally active artists. The group show will feature the works of Jaanus Samma, Yang Li, Laura Kuusk and Camille Laurelli. ‘Eastern Omen’ is a trilogy of installation, photography and video art that probe an idea in the philosophy of media of the artist as social antenna

 The exhibition opening will take place at 19.00 on Saturday the 5th of October. The reception will feature a short talk by artist Jaanus Samma, curator Stacey Koosel and exhibition coordinator Bianca Bocatius as well as live piano music by Michael Hänschke, refreshments and canapés.

 Eastern Omen features the Köler prize winning ‘Chairman’ series by Jaanus Samma, based on an infamous homosexual figure known as ‘The Chairman’ (the kolkhoz – head of a collective farm) whose dramatic escapades took place in the depths of the Soviet Union. Yang Li’s installation ‘Mustard Seed Forest’ merges Ming and Qing era didactic traditions and transparent plastic fantastic futurism, which result in a literal maze for the visitor to wander. In the video art piece ‘Proposal for Happiness I’ and ‘Proposal for Happiness II’ Laura Kuusk and Camille Laurelli have encapsulated the temporal charm of a fairground ride, with the pleasant hills at dusk invaded every so often with rhythmic screaming and flashing lights.

 Three of the young artists featured at this exhibition are alumni from the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn, Estonia. The exhibition ‘Eastern Omen’ depicts an Eastern arts education and point of view, a plunge into the past with an emergence in the future.


Jaanus Samma (b. 1982) from Tallinn, Estonia
The Chairman, 2013.


 Jaanus is a visual artist whose body of work includes graphic prints, photos, installations and videos. He is currently a doctoral student at the Estonian Academy of Arts, his research interests include Soviet homosexual history in Estonia (1940-1991). Samma is a trailblazer in the documentation and artistic interpretation of Soviet homosexual history. His empirical research on gay history in the ESSR (Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic) includes both interviews with members of the Soviet era gay community, and collections of archival documentation. His research has built a historical, factual and mythical foundations for artistic exploration in the form of subjective interpretation and representation. Samma’s work is based on the larger than life homosexual figure infamously known as ‘The Chairman’ (the kolkhoz) whose dramatic escapades took place in the depths of the Soviet Union.

Samma won both the Grand Prix of the Köler Prize 2013 and People`s Choice Award, hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Estonia (EKKM). He has held solo shows at: Kunstraum B, in Kiel (2013) and Tallinn City Gallery (2008) as well as group shows at Kumu – The Art Museum of Estonia (2013), Tallinn Art Hall (2012), Rauma Biennale Balticum 2010 in Finland, Luleå Art Biennial 2009 in Sweden and Ljubljana City Museum (2008) amongst others.

Yang Li
Yang Li (b. 1982) from Tianjin, China
2012_4_2_EKKM_The forest pouring from the sky_2
Mustard Seed Forest, 2012.


 Yang started her education in calligraphy and painting at a very young age.  After she graduated from the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in 2005, she moved to Tallinn, Estonia where she completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at the department of sculpture and installation at the Estonian Academy of Arts. From 2008 to 2012 she gave lectures on Chinese painting and calligraphy at Tallinn University, the Estonian Academy of Arts and other art schools in Tallinn.

Her art works have been exhibited throughout Estonia, including group exhibitions at the Estonian Contemporary Art Museum (EKKM), Tallinn Art Hall (Kunstihoone), Art Museum of Estonia (KUMU), Tartu Kunstimajas, Estonian History Museum, and open-air galleries in Lasnamäe and Paldiski. Her most recent activities have been ventures into cross-field cooperation with musical media such as the concert Artwalk to Niguliste, performed at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater Chamber Hall on October 4th 2012. 


camille portrait
Camille Laurelli (b.1981) from Grenoble, France
Proposal for Happiness I (Kuusk & Laurelli), 2011.


Can’t Not: Self-Defeating Gestures in Contemporary Art

Camille lives and works in art. His work has never been exhibited at Tate or at MoMA. After some artist-in-residence application rejections, he did not overcome and go on to win any prizes from illustrious institutions like Villa Medicis in Roma or PS1 in New York. He is not part of the APT (Artist Pension Trust®), or any international collections and neither are commercial art galleries interested in his work, which has been a consistent characteristic of his career.

 His lack of knowledge in neurophysics, nuclear reaction analysis, heavy ammo, Internet security systems, nano-technology and International market stock exchanges, makes him one of safest artists of his generation. Moreover he reaches the rank 29773 on artfacts.net. He is currently finishing a drawing.


Laura Kuusk (b. 1982) from Tartu, Estonia
Proposal for Happiness II (Kuusk & Laurelli), 2011.


Laura Kuusk is an artist with a background in semiotics, who currently lives and works in Grenoble and Tallinn. After graduating from the Department of Photography at the Estonian Academy of Arts, she moved to Grenoble in the south of France. Since 2010, she has been attending the experimental post-diploma studies at the Annecy Higher Art School. In her work, Kuusk studies the narrative situation in art, focusing on the gaze, the (power) relationships between viewer and image, and various means of producing narratives. (Rünk, 2012)

Kuusk has held a solo show in Annecy Higher Art School (2011), duo shows with Anna-Stina Treumund in Tallinn City Gallery (2009) and with Wladislav Novak in Loop (2009). She has participated in group shows in the Museum of Modern Art of Warsaw (2012), Mejan Gallery, Stockholm (2011), OUI art center, Grenoble (2011), Moscow Center of Contemporary Art (2007), Tallinn Art Hall (2007) amongst others. She works with narratives and situations between fiction and documentary, her main mediums are video, photography and installations.


Eastern Omen Was Made Possible With  Support From:

The Cultural Endowment of Estonia,

The Estonian Artist’s Union

The Estonian Consulate in Düsseldorf

The Düsseldorf Cultural Fund


Press information: 

Bianca Bocatius | Press Contact d-52. | bianca@d-52.de |  0173 8070272

Stacey Koosel  | Curator | stacey@artun.ee | +372 520 1634

Listing information:

Eastern Omen: 5 – 27 October 2013

 Location Rather Straße 52, 40476 Düsseldorf


d-52. raum für zeitgenössische kunst / d-52. space for contemporary art




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