Minister thanks Dutch ambassador for support of Estonia's participation in Venice Biennale

  • 2020-02-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Minister of Culture Tonis Lukas on Thursday sent a letter of thanks to the Dutch Ambassador to Estonia Karen van Stegeren, thanking her for her support of Estonia's participation in the 2021 Venice Art Biennale.

Estonia's exhibition at the 59th Art Biennale will, as an exception, be held at the heart of the event, in the Giardini exhibition area, spokespeople for the Ministry of Culture said.

Estonia has been participating in the Art Biennale since 1997 on various premises across the city. The Mondriaan Fund, the organizer of the Dutch pavilion, invited Estonia to hold an exhibition in its historic Rietveld Pavilion building at the heart of the Biennale. The Dutch themselves will be temporarily stepping off the main stage of the world's largest international visual arts event and will be exhibiting elsewhere in the city. 

"The cultural relations between Estonia and the Netherlands are very active and, over the years, the Dutch embassy in Estonia has helped that along a lot as well," Lukas said. "I would like to express my great gratitude and thanks to the Dutch state, your Ministry of Culture and foremost to the Mondriaan Fund for inviting Estonia to organize its national pavilion exhibition at the 2021 Venice Art Biennale in the Rietveld Pavilion in the Giardini. Such trust is a great honor for and recognition of our young art field, and our art community takes this opportunity with full responsibility and seriousness. It is my hope that, thanks to such trusting cooperation between the art institutions, our countries will see a significant increase in the interest in each other's contemporary art, and this great gesture will be the beginning of a new long chapter in our countries' cultural exchanges," the minister said.

The Art Biennale is held in Venice every two years and the event's venues are located all across the city. The heart and center of the Art Biennale formed in the Giardini essentially in the first half of the 20th century. The Giardini serves as the come of the national pavilions of "old" participating nations. Holding an exhibition in the Giardini is a unique and one-time opportunity that would be impossible without an invitation to do so. The last new building, the pavilion of South Korea, was built in the part in 1996 and there is no more room for expansion in the park. Due to the number of pavilions, its history and main exhibition, the Giardini is the most visited venue of the Art Biennale. Hence, Estonia can expect heightened attention at the exhibition next year.

Since 1999, the Estonian pavilion has been organized by the Estonian Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia's participation in the Venice Art Biennale is funded by the Ministry of Culture.

The Venice Art Biennale is the world's largest art event and has been held since 1895. The Netherlands has been participating in the exhibition since its start. The Dutch pavilion building was designed by world famous architect Gerrit Rietveld in the Giardini park in 1954 and Dutch exhibitions at the Venice Art Biennale have always been held there.