Tallinn Photomonth


Tallinn Photomonth is an international biennial of contemporary art, which features work that spans all disciplines and looks at developments in art and society.

Contemporary art biennial

Tallinn Photomonth 2023 Main Exhibition

Main exhibition: Trance

Tallinn Art Hall, Lasnamäe Pavilion

Patricia Domínguez, video still from Eyes of Plants (2019). Commissioned by Gasworks, London.

Curator: Ilari Laamanen
Tallinn Art Hall, Lasnamäe Pavilion (Jaan Koorti 24, Tallinn)
Opening: 06.10.2023 at 6pm
Open: Wed–Sun 12.00–19.00
Free entrance
Accessible by wheelchair


Watching, spectating, following. Contemporary screen-dominated conditions can be described by many names. In digital interactions, notions between the living and nonliving or real and unreal continue to be destabilised. What was once understood as a reality is taking an unusual form. It has a texture that is unreal. 

Trance explores how artworks can complicate and aid in examining sensory experience in a technologically mediated world. The exhibition is a swirl in time: a spiral moving between humane and mechanical, fantastical and factual, allure and absence. It aims to disorient and reorient the viewer and the viewing situation. Here, the act of watching itself is under scrutiny. The closer one gets to the real, the more imaginary it becomes.

The tapestry of images and information is dense, endless. It’s threading seems to follow a pulse that is all-encompassing, yet unfathomable. But no surface is impenetrable. There are loopholes that encourage us to shift the perspective or embark on a search for the furthest end of the wild yarn… The question is, what happens when the eyes are closed? Which narratives continue to be looped, and what kind of emotions surface? Whose voices are speaking?  

Trance brings together local and international artists of different generations who work with various disciplines. The artists in the exhibition absorb, hack and reformat conventional means of (audio)visual presentation through existing and newly commissioned work. They present idiosyncratic encounters between bodies and technologies and utilise glitch as a conceptual tool – a split in time, a gesture that by design requires a moment of remediation and reflection.

Ilari Laamanen is an independent curator based in New York. Through his projects he contemplates on challenges and possibilities of communication in hyperconnected culture. He worked as the Director of Programs at the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York (2013–2020) where he co-founded and led the MOBIUS Fellowship Program for independent and institutional curators. Laamanen received his MA in Curating, Managing and Mediating Art at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture and his BA in Media studies at the University of Turku.


Anu Vahtra

Anu Vahtra is an artist working primarily with photography, video and installation. Initiated by the architectural characteristics as well as historical and contextual background of a certain site, Vahtra’s works often focus on the exhibition format and specifics of an exhibition space but also tackle issues of urban space. Vahtra has participated in numerous group exhibitions and has had solo exhibitions in Estonia and abroad. In 2017, she was an artist in residence at ISCP in New York and in 2020 at the WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels. Since 2022, Vahtra works as the head of MA Contemporary Art program at the Estonian Academy of Arts.



CUSS Group

CUSS Group’s activities have spanned the founding of a web television initiative, online publications, digital art, and curatorial projects in their HQ, Johannesburg. The collective responds to commercial, cultural and technological super-hybridity through the filter of urban trends, material artifacts, and youth culture in contemporary post-post-colonial South Africa. For a number of events, including their ongoing series of curated platforms Video Party (2013-2014), they have used non-traditional spaces like shops to insert art into the everyday and democratize its audiences. For CUSS GROUP, who are attuned to digital developments in a globalized contemporaneity, the exclusionary constructs are the legacy of political and colonial histories in the post-geographical realm of bots and trolls – as well as in art-world formats and institutions.



Diane Severin Nguyen

Diane Severin Nguyen works with photography, video, and installation. Through material and sculptural experimentations, Nguyen approaches the photographic moment as one of transformation. The artist is particularly interested in exceeding photography as a mode of documentation, and engages with it rather as a set of conditions shaped by desire and speculation. Her video work narrativizes these tensions by examining the histories of power, victimhood, and forms of propaganda that underpin cultural (and self) image-making. She has exhibited her work internationally, in places like SculptureCenter, The Renaissance Society, the Rockbund Museum, MoMA PS1, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Schinkel Pavilion, Jeu de Paume, the Hammer Museum, and many others. Her films have been screened at  film festivals such as the New York Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Berlinale. Nguyen is a recent recipient of the 2023 Guggenheim fellowship and lives and works in New York.



Elo-Reet Järv

Elo-Reet Järv (1939–2018) was an Estonian leather artist. She graduated from the National Art Institute of the Estonian SSR (former Estonian Academy of Arts) in 1964, worked as an artistic editor in the publishing house “Eesti Raamat” (1969–1975) and started participating in exhibitions from 1966. At the beginning of her creative career, Järv worked mostly with leather art and bookbinding, but from the 1970s she started experimenting more and more with sculptural forms made of leather, that gradually began to challenge the boundaries between applied arts and visual arts. These experiments developed into the distinctive sculptural practice for which she is best known for. In the 1990s, Järv exhibited together with the neo-surrealist group “Para-89”. Järv had numerous solo exhibitions in Estonia, but she also participated in group exhibitions in many parts of Europe. She received several awards, including the Kristjan Raud Art Award twice (1984 and 2012).



Jessica Wilson
Karel Koplimets

Karel Koplimets is an installation artist based in Tallinn, Estonia. He has an MA degree in Photography (Estonian Academy of Arts, 2013) and has finished a two year postgraduate programme at HISK (Higher Institute for Fine Arts, Belgium, 2021). He has received the Estonian Artist Laureate Salary (2020–2022) and he was nominated for the main art prize in Estonia (Köler Prize, 2013). Koplimets has participated in various exhibitions in Estonia and abroad. Recent exhibition projects include: solo exhibition One Is the Loneliest Number in (AV17)Gallery (Vilnius, 2022) and group shows Art in the Comfort Zone? The 2000s in Estonian Art in Kumu Art Museum (Tallinn, 2021) and Sonsbeek´s Conjunctions programme in Park Sonsbeek (Arnheim, 2021). His works are included in various collections in Europe, e.g., Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Musée de l’Elysée and Art Museum of Estonia. Koplimets has also participated in different art residency programmes, e.g., EIB Institute’s Artists Development Programme (Luxembourg, 2019) and Helsinki International Artist Programme (2015).



Laila Majid & Louis Blue Newby

Laila Majid and Louis Blue Newby are a collaborative practice based in London, UK. Their work has been awarded and exhibited internationally with recent exhibitions including: Beautiful Girls on Top! at Sadie Coles HQ’s The Shop, London; Circa x Dazed Class of 2022 at Piccadilly Circus Lights, London; SKINFLICKS at Xxijra Hii, London; not yet at San Mei Gallery, London; healthy pink at springseason, London and hold my hand by the tail at Transition Two, London. Group exhibitions have included: south florida sky at TICKTACK, Antwerp; Between You and Me at San Mei Gallery, London; But Not Blue at Collective Ending, London; City Entwined at Paradise Row, London; I Knock On Your Skin at SET Woolwich, London; Sour Persimmons Chasm at Ex-Baldessarre, Bedford; Hydrangea at Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.’



Norman Orro & Joonas Timmi

Norman Orro is an Estonian artist and musician working at the junction of ecology, technology and humanities. His sound art project Music For Your Plants offers a sonic exploration of the post-human condition through a world in which objects are given agency to converse through audible frequencies. Using speculative and machine assisted compositions the project attempts to bridge an artificial divide between nature and culture, there is an ominous but pleasing tone to the interplay of semantic and atmospheric sounds — the human voice spoken by a machine becomes a bird call for the rocks. Active since 2010 the project has manifested in concept albums, visual essays and installations with notable collaborations including a soundtrack for the China Pavilion in the 56th Venice Biennale, audiovisual web-installations for DISmagazine and Ofluxo and performances at Creamcake festival and Creepy Teepee.


Joonas Timmi delves into the modern identity of craftsmanship, seamlessly fusing traditional woodworking methods with contemporary technologies such as VR modeling, 3D printing, and CNC milling. His work is an exploration of the human experience, where he seeks to uncover the psychological layers that reside within our material possessions. Through his creations, he aims to evoke a sense of nostalgia and longing, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of functionality. His work is characterized by its naturalistic forms and an almost human-like presence, inviting the viewer to question the role of objects in our lives and their ability to evoke emotion.




Patricia Domínguez

Patricia Domínguez Claro holds a MFA from Hunter College, NY (2013) and a Botanical Art Illustration Certificate from the New York Botanical Garden (2011). Bringing together experimental research on ethnobotany, healing practices, and extractivism, her work focuses on tracing digital and spiritual relationships between living species in an increasingly corporate cosmos. Among others, her recent exhibitions include Transmediale, Berlin (colab with Suzanne Treister, 2023); Butterfly Affect at Fondazione Sandretto, Torino (2023); Screen Series at New Museum, NY (2022); Rooted Beings at Wellcome Collection, London (2022); Abundant Futures in Troubled Times at TBA21 C3A (2022); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2021); Transmediale, Berlin (2021); La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2021); How to Tread Lightly at Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid (2020); Madre Drone at CentroCentro, Madrid (2020); and Green Irises at Gasworks, London (2019). She is currently the director of the ethnobotanical platform Studio Vegetalista and was recently awarded with Beca Botín (2022) and SIMETRIA prize to participate in a residency at CERN (2021), also contributed to Documents of Contemporary Art: Health and Season 1 for TBA21 (both 2020).



Pire Sova & Ando Naulainen

Pire Sova and Ando Naulainen are artists living in Tallinn, Estonia. Sova primarily works with installation and stage design. Naulainen works with video, sound and image manipulation. Since 2017, they co-run an ongoing participatory performance series Persona that focuses on exploring the self and community identity. The event series takes on different forms, such as installations, readings, dress-up events and a radio show. In addition to Sova and Naulainen, Persona involves a number of participants, with the aim to provide a space for researching different ways of expression.




Sara Bjarland

Sara Bjarland (b.1981, Helsinki) is a Finnish artist based in Amsterdam. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 2007 and in 2012-2013 she participated in the studio programme at Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Ghent. Recent exhibitions include What My Hands Know at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam (2023), Deposits at Sculptor Gallery in Helsinki (2022), with Love, curated by Maria Ragnestam, Museum Anna Nordlander in Skellefteå, Constant Eruptions at Hopstreet Gallery, Brussels (2020) and Crumple, fail, faint, fall at Galleri Sinne, Helsinki (2020), Uncertainty and Ground Conditions at DASH, Kortrijk (2019). In 2020 she received the William Thuring award from the Finnish Arts Association and in 2019 she was one of the five short listed artists for Below Zero Prize for Finnish artists (initiated by the Finnish Institute in London). Her work has been acquired by Kiasma Museum for Contemporary Art (Helsinki), The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (Helsinki) and several private collections in Belgium, Finland and The Netherlands.



Veli Granö

Veli Granö has worked in many fields of visual arts. His interest in the image is related to its special and ever-changing ability to tell stories. That’s why Granö uses a wide variety of photography and filmmaking tools in the production of his works. Although sometimes Granö’s works are very abstract, there is always something very concrete behind them, sometimes even “pure” documentarism. Veli Granö’s works have been shown in the Kiasma Art Museum, the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale, the Manifesta Biennale, MoMA PS1, the Sydney Biennale, the Whitney Museum, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, among others.


Viktor Timofeev

Viktor Timofeev works across generative video, painting, installation and sound, frequently combining the mediums to create semi-fictional environments. He received his MFA at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam and his BFA at Hunter College in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include DOG at Interstate Projects, New York (2021); God Objects at Futura/Karlin Studios, Prague (2020); Stairway to Melon at kim? Contemporary Art Center, Riga (2017); and S.T.A.T.E. at Drawing Room, London (2016). Recent group exhibitions include Shallow Springs at Kohta Kunsthalle, Helsinki (2023); 14th Baltic Triennial at CAC, Vilnius (2021); Unexpected Encounters at the Latvian National Museum of Art (2019); A Barbarian In Paris at Fondation Ricard, Paris (2018); and Somewhere In Between at Bozar, Brussels (2018).



Zody Burke

Zody Burke is an American multimedia artist and musician who is currently living and working in Tallinn, Estonia. She creates cyphers through sculpture and sound, through which to cartograph the complexity of American identity within late capitalism, and interface world-building with geological time. Her material practice ranges from large-scale sculpture to ceramic high-relief to experimental music, illustration, video, and fiber work. Having been shown work around the USA and Europe, her recent exhibitions include the solo show Mousetrap (America Eats Its Young) at DOM Galerija, Riga (2022) and group shows: Entropy Gauntlet at the Estonian Academy of Art’s gallery, Tallinn (2023); Staying in the Compost: Ghosts & Monsters of the Anthropocene at Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn (2022); Border as a Place at Druskininkai City Museum, Lithuania (2022); Rebel Rebel – 15 Years of Kuš! at Low Gallery, Riga (2022); Young Sculptor Award Exhibition at ARS Project Space, Tallinn (2022); Conscious, Subconscious, (Collective) Unconscious at Anderson Gallery, Richmond, USA (2022) and ​Flag Show at Trixie Gallery, Den Haag (2021).