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E! 2011. Exhibition at Song Festival Grounds. Photo: Annely Köster

The Contemporary Art Triennial Eksperimenta! (abbreviated to simply E!) is a multi-level international art education project designed for students between the ages of 14 and 21, artists and art teachers. E! has three components:

1) a triennial exhibition;
2) IDEAlaboratory
3) a network of art schools and art centres.

E! Vision
Eksperimenta! is the best-known contemporary art event for school students in the world.

E! is an open, sustainable platform for the interchange of ideas and best practice in the fields of contemporary art and art education. E! shapes Tallinn to be the ‘Venice of youth art’ (comparable to the Venice Art Biennale).

E! 2011. Zeynep Can Koray (Turkey). Photo: Annely Köster

E! Mission
The mission of E! is supporting the development of critical, socially sensitive and creative thinking in society through the unification of contemporary art and art education.

The main aim of Eksperimenta! is bringing art and art education closer to each other. To fulfill this, we plan:

1) to develop the triennial to be a regular, internationally acknowledged exhibition of young, pre-professional art;
2)to initiate and support progressive processes and sustainable changes in art education,
3) to support the natural revival mechanism of culture and widen the ground of it by furthering the integration between art and art education.

E! Goals
E! has a number of target groups and target group-based goals.

E! 2011. Lukas Dirzys (Lithuania). Photo: Sten Jõemets

1) Participants
Network Members – a strong network; learning from one another’s knowledge and experience through cooperation; a new level of quality in the teaching of art born of synergy. A more specific aim of the planned network of art schools and art centres is to provide an organisational support structure for the triennale; its more general aim is to serve as an exchange platform for creative and pedagogical experiences for art teachers, artists and youth interested in art.

Art Teachers – motivating those teaching art to young people to turn more attention to contemporary art, exploring its nature and discovering new approaches in integrating its theory and practice into teaching work; working more closely with colleagues and professionals in modernising the teaching of art in the frame of IDEAlaboratory.

Professionals working in the field of art – motivating art professionals to contribute to the development of art education and to the fostering of a new generation of artists by sharing their experiences.

E! 2011. Maike Hautz (Germany). Photo: Cornelia Kotto

School Students – getting to know contemporary art in theory and practice; developing a format for free, creative, critical and socially responsible self-expression; an opportunity to compare their work with that of their peers, measuring their own creative capabilities, working in an international context, receiving useful feedback from juries and the public; E! as a means of nurturing future artists through a pre-professional art programme and thus ensuring that tomorrow’s art achieves a higher level of quality.

NB! Students aged between 14 and 21, engaged in studies during the selection period of participants and preparatory workshops for the triennial event, are invited to take part. The participants may have graduated by the time the Triennial itself is held.

2) The Public (art teachers, education workers, professionals working in the field of art and school students) – contributing ideas, inspiration and methods for the teaching and learning of art: development and modernising the teaching of art as a link between the teaching of different subjects; and cultivating young people as competent consumers of culture, promoting contemporary art to them as a multi-faceted and exciting field that fosters creativity and helps people cope better in life.

E! 2011. Valeri Mulin (Russia). Photo: Cornelia Kotto

3) The Cultural Community – drawing newcomers into the sphere of contemporary art, showcasing this as a multifaceted and exciting field as part of which E! offers a range of both experiences and knowledge; raising the general level of art awareness and cultural tolerance in society; and promoting dialogue and cooperation between different fields of culture.

4) Associated Groups (state agencies, local governments, cultural and educational institutions, the third sector, experts, leading opinion- and decision-makers, the media, financiers and sponsors) – achieving E! goals through cooperation, appropriate financing, effective communication and a good reputation; presenting Tallinn through the event as the ‘Venice of Youth Art’ (comparable to the Venice Art Biennale); to support the sustainable development of Estonia by conducting E! (knowledge-basedness; updating education, innovation); to improve reputation of Estonia as a cultural country; to raise the notoriety of Tallinn as a tourism target; to support realising E! aims and aims which are connected with the E! spirit through collaboration.

E! 2011. Ana Smerdu. (Slovenia). Photo: Tanel Rannala

The definition of contemporary art in the context of E!: “Contemporary art is that part of art which addresses and interprets issues of the present time, is primarily focused on raising questions and is based on contemporary philosophical discourse.”

Creating contemporary “borderless” art presupposes respect for the creator’s freedom of thought and expression. What is important is the pupil’s personal message; the role of the teacher-instructor is to support the realisation of the pupil’s original idea. Considering the age of the pupils participating in the triennial and the convictions of the organisers the only conditions set on exhibitions and other events are the following:

1. Respecting life and non-tolerance of promotion of violence
2. Non-tolerance of pointless and unreasonably shocking or provocative works.