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PRESS RELEASE 26.06.2012


Modernisation. Baltic Art, Architecture and Design in the 1960s–1970s

30 June – 4 November 2012


Living memory of Soviet-era art, architecture and design in the Baltic States is becoming history. The exhibition ‘Modernisation’ seeks to highlight this segment of modern culture in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and to include it in the context of Europe’s postwar technological, social and cultural modernisation, in this way broadening the notion of relations between the East and the West, as well as that of the exchange of ideas between the centre and the periphery.

Incorporated into the USSR in 1940, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania retained some elements of their former lifestyles and cultural memory, and enjoyed an exceptional image in the USSR as ‘the little West’. The architecture of Baltic seaside resorts, cafes and restaurants, the new residential districts, and public buildings, which was distinguished by unusual regional features, became legendary. The goods that symbolised the prosperity and comfort of everyday life were particularly popular: Latvian radios, Estonian lamps, Lithuanian portable TV sets, and Baltic souvenirs and applied arts. The peripheral Baltic region transmitted the international ideas of the modern environment and lifestyle to the Soviet Union, which competed with the West for the status of the centre during the Cold War years.

The exhibition consists of four parts, which reveal the modernisation of the public space (The City) and the private environment (Home), the dissemination of design (Industrial Art), and the emergence of the new consumer lifestyle in the Baltic States (Leisure).


Exhibition partners: Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonian Film Archive, Estonian History Museum, Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Estonian National Library, Estonian National Museum, Estonian Public Broadcasting, Museum of Estonian Architecture, National Archives of Estonia, AS Tallinnfilm, Tallinna Kaubamaja; Art Academy of Latvia, Latvian Museum of Architecture, Latvian State Archive of Audiovisual Documents, The Latvian National Museum of Art / Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, National History Museum of Latvia, National Library of Latvia, Riga Motormuseum, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Latvian Railway History Museum, Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, Riga City Council Association of Culture Institutions / Riga Porcelain Museum, Foundation “Zenta Logina Museum” (Latvia); Communication History Museum (Lithuania), Lithuanian Art Museum, Lithuanian Film Studios, Lithuanian Central State Archives, Lithuanian National Radio and Television, Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, Vilnius Academy of Art, Vilnius County Archives, private collectors, artists and their families.


Curators: Lolita Jablonskienė, Kai Lobjakas and Iliana Veinberga 

Designer: Indrek Sirkel

Architects: Tüüne-Kristin Vaikla and Urmo Vaikla


Sponsors: European Council "Culture" program, Estonian Cultural Endowment, BTA Insurance, Kalev

Kai Lobjakas
+372 6274603

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