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Anu Vahtra’s works investigate found spatial situations. Initiated by the architectural characteristics as well as historical and contextual background of a certain site, they often focus on the exhibition format and specifics of an exhibition space but also tackle issues of public space. Vahtra composes both physical and photographic space as if through the camera, bearing in mind distinct vantage points. What’s important is that the focus of attention is not so much on what her work depicts but rather on how it relates to and is displayed in a specific space.

Vahtra has participated in numerous group exhibitions internationally, and has had solo exhibitions in Amsterdam, Brussels, Budapest, Cologne, New York, Prague and Tallinn. She has been nominated for the Kristjan Raud Prize (2015) and the Sadolin Art Prize (2014); in 2015 she won the Köler Prize 2015 grand prix, and in 2017 received the Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia’s Foundation for Fine and Applied Arts. In 2017 Vahtra was an artist in residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Programme (ISCP) in New York, where she produced a new performance piece for the Performa 17 Biennial. She is also one of the founders of Lugemik Publishing (2010) and Bookshop (2013) in Tallinn. Currently lives and works in Brussels where she is an artist in residence at the WIELS Contemporary Art Centre.


info[at]anuvahtra.com
Education
2019–2020

LUCA School of Arts, Brussels, Belgium, Fine Art MFA

2005–2007

Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Photography BFA

2002–2005

Estonian Academy of Arts, Photography BA

2003 I–V

Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Bergen, Norway, Photography

Selected solo exhibitions
2020

Towards the incongruities of space. Adhoc, Bochum, Germany

2019

Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect. Anu Vahtra: Completion through removal. Curated by Jessamyn Fiore, Sergio Bessa, Anu Allas. Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn

2018

Interpreter’s Booth [Chapter 2]. With Martin Lukáč. Curated by Piotr Sikora. Chimera-Project Gallery, Budapest

2017

Interpreter’s Booth [Chapter 1]. With Martin Lukáč. Curated by Piotr Sikora. Drdova Gallery, Prague

2016

An exhibition as a post factum operation. Curated by Nico Anklam. Rietveld Pavilion, Amsterdam

A fact in space. After exhibitions. Hobusepea & Draakon galleries, Tallinn

17,9º. Installation at the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM) in 2012 and 2014, adapted for Art Brussels 2016 non-profit section. In collaboration with EKKM

2015

Smugglers. Narracje Festival #7. Curated by Anna Smolak. Public space of Nowy Port, Gdansk

Chimera Art Award Exhibition. With Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair. Chimera-Project Gallery, Budapest

2011

Untitled (a line has two sides aka any of the twenty-four triangles). Part of a series of projections in public space of Tallinn during Tallinn Month of Photography 2011. Curated by Epp Kubu

2009

Homage to Gordon Matta-Clark. A4, Amsterdam

Selected group exhibitions & projects
2019

Published by Lugemik. Printed Matter from 2010–2019. Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design (ETDM), Tallinn

2018

Four as One as Three. Gallery Kendra Jayne Patrick at 9 Herkimer Place, Brooklyn, New York

2017

Unseen. Chimera-Project Gallery, Budapest

Shadows of Others. Curated by Suzanne Friedli & Andreas Furrer. Annex14, Zürich

2016

Unframed. Galerie Raum mit Licht, Vienna

The Baltic Pavilion. 15th Venice Architecture Biennale. With Maarja Kask, Ralf Lõoke and Neeme Külm. Curated by Kārlis Bērziņš, Jurga Daubaraitė, Petras Išora, Ona Lozuraitytė, Niklāvs Paegle, Dagnija Smilga, Johan Tali, Laila Zariņa, Jonas Žukauskas

2015

From Explosion to Expanse. Estonian Contemporary Photography 1991–2015. Curated by Anneli Porri. Tartu Art Museum, Tartu

Köler Prize 2015 Nominees’ Exhibition. EKKM, Tallinn

MEEL. VAHTRA. FARKAS_idealist function. Curated by Maria Arusoo. CAC Vilnius

2014

Grain, Wood, Flax, Turf. Brought together by Glenn Geerinck. Voorkamer, Lier

Feeling Queezy?! Curated by Rebeka Põldsam. EKKM, Tallinn

Archeological festival_a 2nd hand history and improbable obsessions. Curated by Maria Arusoo. Tartu Art Museum, Tartu

Side Effects II. Curated by Laura Kuusk & Pascale Riou. Ancien Musée-Bibliothèque Grenoble

2013

Where You End, I Begin. Curated by Anneli Porri. Tartu Art House, Tartu

Romeo and Julia. Curated by Anneli Porri. Y-gallery, Tartu and 1. May Gallery, Tallinn

2012

III Artishok Biennale. Curated by Liisa Kaljula, invited by Saara Hacklin. EKKM, Tallinn

The Science of Photography. Daegu Photo Biennale 2012. With Na Kim. Curated by Lee Young Joon. Daegu, South Korea

2011

Time to Meet: The Second Act – A Festival on Photography Goes Live. Curated by Chris Clarke. De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam

Fire & Ignorance. A collaboration with Idan Hayosh, Anders Hana and Morten J. Olsen (MoHa!). CTM 11, Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin

2010

Above the City. Curated by Kadri Klementi & Helis Heiter. Tallinn City Gallery, Tallinn

2009

We Belong Together. Supernova, Riga

Fire & Ignorance. A collaboration with Idan Hayosh, Anders Hana and Morten J. Olsen (MoHa!). Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, and various other venues around Europe

2008

EP–Residency 2008: Artblock Hoyerswerda. Hoyerswerda, Germany

Doings or Not. Curated by Margit Säde & Laura Kuusk. Vžigalica Gallery, Ljubljana

2007

I. Curated by Margot Kask. Hobusepea Gallery, Tallinn

Time To Meet II. Forum für Kunst und Architektur, Essen

Save the Last Dance. P/////AKT, Amsterdam

2006

The 11th Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Awards

2005

Stilleben. Curated by Karolin Tampere & Åse Løvgren (Rakett). PROJEKT 0047, Berlin

Residencies
2020

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels

2017

Nordic-Baltic A-i-R in Tromsø, Norway. Invited by Leif Magne Tangen

2015

CAC Vilnius (with Lugemik), Vilnius, Lithuania

2010

Sørfinnset skole: the nord land. Sørfinnset, Gildeskal, Norway

2009

STEIM, Amsterdam

2008

EP-Residency 2008, Hoyerswerda, Germany

Awards & scholarships & commissions
2018

Commision for the Wienerberger Contemporary Photography Collection, curated by Büro für Kunst (Valerie Loudon & Moritz Stipsicz)

2017

Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia’s Foundation for Fine and Applied Arts

2016–2018

Artist’s salary, provided by Estonian Ministry of Culture in collaboration with Estonian Artists’ Association

2015

Köler Prize 2015 grand prix

Kristjan Raud Award, nominee

Cultural Endowment of Estonia, one-year grant

2014

Sadolin Art Prize, nominee

2013

Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia’s Foundation for Fine and Applied Arts (with Lugemik)

Works in collections

Art Museum of Estonia

Wienerberger Contemporary Photography Collection

Tartu Art Museum

Private collections in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, The Netherlands

Bibliography
2019

SAAL Raadio — Anu Vahtra & Mart Kangro, IDA Raadio, 30.09.2019 (in Estonian)

Stefan Peetri. Mahajäetud utoopiad, Sirp, 15.03.2019 (in Estonian)

EKKM – külas Anu Vahtra, IDA Raadio, 04.03.2019 (in Estonian)

Kunstiministeerium. Arhitektuur ja avalik ruum. klassikaraadio.err.ee, 23.02.2019 (in Estonian)

Andreas Trossek. Gordon Matta-Clark and Anu Vahtra in dialogue, Kunst.ee, 2019/1

2018

Helen Shaw. Review: Performa 17, artinamericamagazine.com, 01.02.2018

2016

Hanno Soans. Pidurdusjälg läbi kahe ruumi, Sirp, 01.07.2016 (in Estonian)

2015

Maarja Kangro. Anu Vahtra diskreetsed žestid, Vikerkaar, 9/2015

An Education: Anu Vahtra, Estonian Art, 1/2015

Silvia Pärmann. Anu Vahtra Lugemikust ja loomingust, Diivan, 09/2015

Sandra Kosorotova. Anu Vahtra. The winner of the Köler Prize 2015, arterritory.com, 30.07.2015

Mari Kartau. Anu Vahtra: kui ruum meie ümber muutub, siis saame sellest aru puhtalt seda tajudes, kultuur.err.ee, 18.06.2015 (in Estonian)

Marten Esko. Murrangu lävel, Sirp, 5.06.2015 (in Estonian)

Elise Eimre. Kunstnikutöö, mis saab alguse ruumist endast, Pulss 6/15

Katrin Koov. Köler Prize 2015: Anu Vahtra, MAJA 2/2015

Piret Karro. Poliitiline ja poeetiline Köler Prize, Eesti Päevaleht, 26.05.2015 (in Estonian)

Toidublogi: Anu Vahtra, Eesti Ekspress, 13.05.2015 (in Estonian)

Hanno Soans. Koos Köleriga nüüdisaega, Eesti Ekspress, 7.05.2015

Janar Ala. Põhjala Jeruusalemm, tondid ja kirjasõna, Postimees, 4.02.2015

2014

Kadri Karro. Areeni Kunstiaasta 2014, Eesti Ekspress, 31.12.2014

Laura Põld. Intervjuu Anu Vahtra ja Paul Kuimetiga, Positiiv, 19/2014

Indra Devriendt. Platform Time to Meet in Voorkamer Lier. Fotografie in de kijker, H ART Magazine #132, 16.10.2014

Veronika Valk. Episoodiline küsimus, Müürileht, 18.09.2014 (in Estonian)

Kaire Nurk. Pornograafiline maastik, Kunst.ee, 2014/3

Hanno Soans. Pööritustunne aistinguturul, Sirp, 22.08.2014

Ingrid Ruudi. On a Mission, Modernists, Issue #4 Summer 2014

Piret Karro. Arheoloogiafestivalil tuleb meelde, et kõik on ajutine, Müürileht, 14.08.2014

Heie Treier. Kolm vaadet Tartu arheoloogiafestivalile, Eesti Ekspress, 6.08.2014

Kaire Nurk. Kas postmoderni pessimistlik lunastusetõotus?, Sirp, 24.07.2014

Mari Kartau. Viltune maja sai toed, kultuur.err.ee, 19.06.2014

2012

Marika Agu. Artishoki biennaali jõujooned, Sirp, 2. XI

Saara Hacklin. On photography and the city: Anu Vahtra’s invasive, transient images, artishok.blogspot.com, 23.04.2012

2010

Hanno Soans. Kunstnikud käivad katuseid mööda, Postimees, 15.09.2010

2009

Sketchbook. Deconstructing Pärnu: locations, individuals, Hotell Pärnu. Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Project Space 2004–2008

Margit Säde. Backstage at the Tallinn Pavilion, Estonian Art, 2/2009

2007

Laura Kuusk. Some examples of young Estonian photography, Estonian Art, 1/2007

2006

Andrus Lauringson. Puudumine teeb meeled teravaks, Sirp, 24.11.2006