A new exhibition at Tallinn’s Kumu Art Museum focuses on changes in work and everyday life during the coronavirus pandemic

The Kumu Art Museum at Tallinn’s picturesque Kadriorg district launches a new exhibition by an Estonian artist Flo Kasearu; in her unique project, the artist who is known for her socio-critical work, looks at how the working day and general daily life changed during the COVID-19 crisis this past spring.

On 18 August, the Kumu Art Museum launches Flo Kasearu’s exhibition, the “State of Emergency”. In an interesting twist, the artist examines the changes in Kumu’s own operations during the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic – specifically, how the working day and general daily life of the Kumu museum attendants changed.

Kumu said in a statement that the focus of the project was on the museum as an independent ecosystem, and the artist had recorded the changed daily routines of the most visible museum employees: the invigilators. The “State of Emergency” consists of a single large-scale video installation, portraying eight museum attendants in novel situations.

A turbulent time in the art world

“The coronavirus pandemic, which took the world by storm in the spring of 2020, changed our current way of life all over the globe: in addition to extensive restrictions on people’s movements, almost all public buildings had to be closed. The contemporary art gallery of Kumu was also forced to stop all planned exhibition activities; the museum’s inaccessibility to the public made the museum employees think of alternative practices and come up with new ideas,” Kumu said.

“The Kumu Art Museum partnered with the artist Flo Kasearu, who is known for her sensitive and incisive work with people and institutions, to record the impact of the state of the emergency on the museum.”

According to Kati Ilves, an art curator, the resulting introspective video project is one of the first recordings of the new, turbulent time in the art world.

Cover: A frame from the video of “State of Emergency” by Flo Kasearu, 2020. Photo by Art Museum of Estonia.

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