alytus biennial 1  

International festival of experimental art
August 22-28, 2005








time table of events


Peeter Allik ( Estonia )

Installation view with the artist, Alytus Art School.
photo by Vytautas V. Stanionis

Kursi Art, Art in Estonia 1992-2001 / Sport & Animals 2001-2004

(Culture Anthropological Material from Estonia)

At the time of Soviet occupation in ESSR the newspapers and the magazines were published in huge circulations. Major ones had one copy per every three inhabitants of ESSR. To be sure nobody read them. In SU were simply produced newspapers instead of toilet tissue.

At the same time came out also several underground publications. By the way some of them were multiplied by these time celebrity - an art collector Matti Milius. He used for that his printing machine. Very many people wanted to read these 20-30-number publications. Even there wasn't possible to read them they knew these were existed and "what have been written there".

After the independence came there was temptation to try if same phenomenon (when easily accessible media wasn't very intriguing and small zines seemed attractive) works also in a democratic society.

Since all art institutions and media were centered in capital Tallinn in 1992 there was established new "magazine" Kursi Art, Art in Estonia in Kursi and Tartu. 1992 was the top of Tallinn-centered art politics which have presented Estonian-State. All artists living and working outside capital were passed kindly by the name village-foolish.

Kursi Art was in extremely bad taste mocking official artists and art using for that the dada-like collage and Merz-poetry. Even the name of magazine was the parody of that time official art publication Art, Art in Estonia. (Kursi is a small village in the middle of swamps and forests.) Estonian artists and local artworld were mocked at to the full extent ignoring a good taste. Even obscenity was used by some contributors.

It was protest against calculated artworld and "special" status of "art noble". The big part of the art establishment from Soviet time still imagined they were particular Estonian Aristocracy who had to wear a suit, a white shirt and to eat a white bread only.

In 2001 there was established a new zine - Sport & Animals - in alternative art cultivating private art school Academia Non Grata located in seaside resort Pärnu. Working for zine helped the students' juvenile spirit of protest not to die away to an armchair-anarchy.Or simply let the young artists in good time be active and think about their future avant-garde works wouldn't be only a simulation of avant-garde and their artpieces only the art-like objects. It was honest and naive hope that art should be more organically related to a local situation and deal with real problems. (The written texts actually were on large scale - from naivism to ecofascism)

In 2004 the school rised from Academia Non Grata was closed down on demand of experts of an EU Attestation Committee. This was also the end of Sport & Animals.

East European, study to be a plumber, not an artist!


Redas Dirzys,
Turistu str. 2,
62445 Alytus , Lithuania
ph. + 370 682 15771

Alytus City Council,
Lithuanian Culture Ministry,
Lithuanian Foundation for Culture and Sports
Embassy of Austrian Republic

Umelec International,
Alytaus naujienos daily,
Loreta Liausaitė,
Mantas Kazakevičius.