The Kumu Art Museum opens an exhibition dedicated to the oldest triennial in Estonia

On Thursday, 19 April, the Kumu Art Museum opens the exhibition Puzzling Over the Labyrinth: 50 Years of the Tallinn Print Triennial, dedicated to the history of the Tallinn Print Triennial, which celebrates this year its jubilee.


On 22 July 1968, a joint Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian exhibition called “The Present Day and Graphic Form” opened at the Tallinn Art Hall. Instead of the planned biennial, the printmaking exhibition of the three Baltic countries subsequently became the Tallinn Print Triennial (TPT), also becoming a significant art event in the Baltics. Today, it is difficult to imagine the daring, vision and organisational ability required of the organising committee to enable them to carry out this large exhibition in the ideological, economic and art policy context of the Soviet Union. The TPT became known throughout the USSR; the best works were of international importance, thereby creating a name for Estonia as an art country.


The profile of the TPT changed after Estonia regained its independence. The triennials that were organised between 1989 and 1998 set out on a course of globalisation and sought to become internationalised. The scarcity of financing sources, the decline in Baltic cooperation, the dearth of young graphic artists, and the new digital revolution required the TPT to make changes in its organisation, and provoked discussions about the future of the exhibition. In 1998 several internal reforms were implemented that helped the TPT to find its place in a changing world. As a result of structural changes, the TPT became an internationally open exhibition. The triennial’s new era is characterised by cooperation with new media, a range of renewed graphic techniques, and the experience of digitalisation.


The Tallinn Print Triennial is being introduced by an exhibition of prize-winning works from the last 50 years, which are in the TPT collection of the Art Museum of Estonia. The awarding of prizes and the collecting of recognised works by the Art Museum of Estonia have created an invaluable database for the comprehension of the graphic art, art history and changing cultural policies of the Baltic states. The Soviet-era winners’ exhibition is supplemented by thematic sections which provide a survey of those artists who, without receiving any accolades, subsequently earned respected places in art history.


The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated book in Estonian and English that examines the history of the Tallinn Print Triennial. The presentation of the book will take place at the exhibition opening on 19 April at 6 pm.


On 27 May at 3 pm an Art Walk at the exhibition will take place. Information on the public and educational programmes accompanying the exhibition is available on the website


The exhibition will be open until 26 August 2018.


Curators: Eha Komissarov and Elnara Taidre

Exhibition design: Raul Kalvo and Helen Oja

Graphic design: Laura Pappa and Elisabeth Klement

Partners and sponsors: the Foundation Tallinn Print Triennial, Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Estonian Ministry of Culture


Thanks to: the Estonian Film Institute, Art Collection of the Estonian Artists’ Association, National Library of Estonia, The National Archives of Estonia, University of Tartu Art Museum, Jüri Arrak, Pyotr Chobitko, Herald Eelma and Kaisa Puustak, Martynas Juchnevičius, Tiit Jürna, Jüri Hain, Eve Kask, Kristina Kleponytė-Šemeškienė and Jurga Minčinauskienė, Paul Klõšeiko, Maris Lindoja, Marko Mäetamm, Maret Olvet, Enno Ootsing, Viljo Saldre, Valery Smirnov, Vladimir Taiger, Evi Tihemets, Maria-Kristiina Ulas, Saulius Valius, Heinz Valk, Mari-Liis Vanem and Urmas Viik


The exhibition will take place within the framework of the 50th anniversary of the Tallinn Print Triennial. The main exhibition of this year’s triennial, Cloudbusters: Intensity vs. Intention, curated by Margit Säde, will take place at the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia from 2 June until 15 July.