Alternative gallery spaces 2
Estonia has, for the last several years, been asserting itself as a Northern European artistic hub by pouring a healthy dose of governmental funds into arts initiatives. Konstanet, a non-profit gallery with both online and physical exhibition spaces founded by the graphic designer Epp Õlekõrs in 2013, is one particularly fascinating example of this support in progress. Besides its rigorous exhibition schedule, Konstanet has one big (well, maybe not so big) claim to fame: its physical space is scaled to 1:5, meaning all artworks shown inside are either miniature versions of the artists’ work or seemingly room-filling monoliths—not a difficult feat in a space that measures less than 1 meter high by 2 meters across. Shows in the space becomes a challenge in scaling as well as exhibition design, providing artists with a readymade excuse for rethinking their approaches. To Konstanet’s credit, the project’s constraining conceit avoids becoming a gimmick by putting the focus squarely on the artists (largely young, cool up-and-comers from the region) and their work, not the size of the space.
57 Cell, a print-only publication featuring, as its scant website states, “3D modeled exhibitions in simulated environments.” That’s right: both the artworks and their settings are entirely computer generated, though the only way you can see them is by buying (or borrowing, if your friends are especially cool) a physical issue of the magazine. 57 Cell’s director and curator Gregory Kalliche makes it clear that these page-bound shows “are not available for on-line viewing,” making this project a particularly odd instance of the internet’s disruptive influence on the brick-and-mortar gallery; it’s both a celebration and a winking rejection of virtual reality. For fans of digital art, the four extant issues of 57 Cell are must-haves if only for their sumptuous showcasing of new media specialists like Brenna Murphy and Ian Page.