The X-Files [Registry of the Nineties] introduces the public to overshadowed and lost art works from the 1990s.

Art Museum of Estonia
Kumu Art Museum
Press release
26 October 2018

On Thursday, 1 November at 7 pm, The X-Files [Registry of the Nineties], which is part of the EV 100 programme, will open at the Kumu Art Museum. The exhibition, which deals with Estonian art from the 1990s, is named after The X-Files, one of the most influential and iconic TV series of that decade. However, according to the curators, Anders Härm and Eha Komissarov, the name actually denotes their principle of assembling the exhibition and selecting the works rather than being a metaphorical cover for the exhibited works.

The X-Files is an exhibition that delves into the deeper layers of the decade and tries to shed light on works that have been overshadowed, have been forgotten or have even disappeared from the cultural memory. It attempts to view some of the works by disregarding the main narrative of 90s art, which has already been relatively well-developed, attempts to recover phenomenal works from a decade that was quite indifferent to the preservation of these works, and searches for definite beginnings in the local art field in regard to general trends and individual authorial positions. The exhibition also tries to accurately depict the societal metamorphoses that characterised this explosive decade, as they are reflected in the art found outside of canonical works.

Peeter Laurits. Pietà 7. Anaesthesia. 1992/2003. Art Museum of Estonia

The exhibition curators focus on individual works and the mapping of their mutual connections in relation to the living environment and the perception field. Along with an introduction (Intro) and the thematic sections that frame the exhibition (The Flow of Reality: Social Transformations I & II), the exhibition is divided into eight abstract sections, with the following subtitles: “Estonian Studies”, “Cyber Tower”, “Phenomenon: Commercial-Performance”, “Metamorphoses of Masculinity” and “Autompsyko Supervegos”. These divisions developed as the result of working through the “catalogue”, as links between the files, including sub-catalogues and groupings, started developing. Therefore, there are at least two possible ways to look at the exhibition: 1) by looking at each work autonomously, as an individual case, which summa summarum could comprise a narrative, or 2) through the divisions suggested by the curators.

The exhibition is part of the Kumu Art Museum’s research project focused on the 1990s. In addition to this exhibition, the project also includes the Kumu Art Film Festival (KuFF), dedicated to video art (1 to 4 November 2018), and a conference called Lost and Found Spaces: Relocations in the Art and Society of Eastern Europe in the 1990s, to be held from 1 to 3 November 2018 in the Kumu Auditorium.

The Kumu Art Film Festival (KuFF) is Estonia’s first and only cultural event focused on the relationship between film and visual art, and is being held for the third time this year. Among other things, the objective of KuFF is to examine the limits and possible definitions of the relationship between film and visual art. The programme of the third KuFF focuses on the new aspects introduced into these relations by the 1990s. In dialogue with The X-Filesexhibition, KuFF is presenting video art from the 1990s that includes Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian programmes.

A sizeable events programme accompanies the exhibition, with the first one, a tour by the exhibition curators Anders Härm and Eha Komissarov, taking place on Thursday, 8 November at 6 pm.

The exhibition is part of the programme to celebrate the centenary of the Republic of Estonia.

The exhibition will be open from 2 November 2018 to 14 April 2019.

Curators: Eha Komissarov and Anders Härm

Press album available here
KuFFi programme available here

We wish to thank:
Centre for Contemporary Arts Estonia
ERR Archive
Bank of Estonia Museum
Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design
Rain Lõhmus
Raivo Kelomees
Ain Järve and Kadriorg Park


More information:
Triin Tulgiste
Exhibitions Coordinator
Art Museum of Estonia
Tel +372 6 026 057

Liia Rebane, PhD
Director of Communications
Art Museum of Estonia
Tel +372 602 6026; +372 5681 6706