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Tallinn Music Week Preview: Clash


During a brief pause at Tallinn Music Week, I took a visit to Estonia’s main contemporary art gallery, the KUMU – walking through the wintry Kadriog Park to face this striking slither of a modernist building.

A key story told through the permanent collection at the KUMU is one of Estonia’s crucial cultural role during the Soviet era – part of the USSR, but uniquely positioned to be facing out to Scandinavia as well as Europe, and by extension the West. What this meant was Estonian art became uniquely placed to transmit shifts in both Soviet and Western art; animate by the spirit of the Russian revolution and its associated avant-garde. During the Stalin years and subsequent thaw, Estonia was able to obsorb American influences like pop-art of the emerging counter-culture, but reinterpreting these as something specifically Estonian.

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