Tallinn 6th Applied Art Triennial 2012

Award  /  23 Nov 2012  -  03 Feb 2013
Published: 10.02.2012
Tallinn 6th Applied Art Triennial 2012.
The Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design
Ketli Tiitsar
DEADLINE: 05/03/2012

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Open call for artists: submit your application to take part of an exhibition with the concept "The Art of Collecting" curated by Love Jönsson.
The Art of Collecting

Collecting is a human activity that does not cease to fascinate. Anything can be an object for collecting, from worn-out everyday utensils to the most desirable works of art. We collect things as a pastime, as a mission in life, or just because we can’t help it.

Any kind of collection establishes links between the collected items and constructs borders between what is in the collection and what isn't. Thus collecting shines a search light – directly or indirectly – on the relationship between objects. Needless to say, it also turns our attention towards the relationship between mankind and its objects.

Speaking in general terms, to collect is to place in order, to systematise and to establish control over things. Thus, collecting can be described as an attempt to avoid chaos or to simply make the world more comprehendible and meaningful in our minds. For the individual collector, however, it is for the most part an act of love. Collecting is never done half-heartedly. It can be a struggle, a passion and a source of despair. In extreme cases, it can become an obsession.

Needless to say, people do not only collect things. For many people, collecting experiences is just as thrilling – birdwatching perhaps being the most striking example. The rise of digital, virtual reality has not diminished the desire for a true live experience, be it to see another rare specimen or to bring together a collection of objects.

Like all human activity, collecting also carries with it a social dimension. On various extremes of the scale we find the thousands of pairs of high-end shoes acquired by Imelda Marcos during her time as first lady of the Phillippines and the shocking, depressing homes of compulsive hoarders documented in television reality shows.

Among the institutions whose primary task is to collect – museums – their approaches vary. If natural science museums often house meticulously ordered collections of minerals, plants and animals, reflecting a desire to compile a complete record of the world, then folk museums are often marked by more whimsical collecting strategies, focusing on objects that are familiar, odd, or simply old.

One of the peculiarities of collecting is that its underlying goal towards coherence and clarification sometimes fails, since objects refuse to conform or adhere to established categories. The ceramic artist Edmund de Waal once commented on the "unexpected, poetic moment" he found in a taxonomic list of museum objects: alongside 5090 pieces listed as vessels, one was listed as "a vessel, perhaps".

The Triennial welcomes entries that in any form deal with themes related to collecting and collections. The exhibition is open for individual creators as well as artists' groups from all disciplines of the applied arts. Apart from traditional object types such as vessels, utensils, sculptures, tapestries, clothes and pieces of jewellery or furniture, the triennial also welcomes works in other genres.

Love Jönsson (Sweden)

Dates and price

Deadline for application
March 5, 2012


The triennial is international with no geographical restrictions. It is open to both professionals and university students. The artist must hold the copyright to his or her own work, and the work may not have been created under an academic supervisor.

Works of applied art or design which have been created especially for and based on the theme "The Art of Collecting" or on the same subject during the last three years will be eligible for exhibition at the 6th Tallinn Applied Art Triennial.

1. Each author can submit a single piece or a series (within dimensions reaching a maximum of 3 metres in height and with a maximum area of 8 m2).

2. 1 to 3 digital images of the piece or series must be uploaded to the triennial webpage as a jpg file, 72dpi, 15x21 cm (with a maximum size of 2MB each). We kindly ask that the images be submitted in digital form only.

3. The participation form must be completed in Estonian or English.

4. The artist may attach a concept, short description or explanation of the work. Maximum length is 550 characters (including spaces).

5. The artists will be notified of the decision of the jury by May 13, 2012.

6. The Triennial will not return sent digital image materials to the authors.disciplines of the applied arts. Apart from traditional object types such as vessels, utensils, sculptures, tapestries, clothes and pieces of jewellery or furniture, the triennial also welcomes works in other genres.


Works for the exhibition will be selected by an international jury leaded by the curator of the exhibition. The selection will be chosen anonymously and will be based on submitted digital image material received by March 5th, 2012. The jury will choose the prizes to be awarded from amongst the exhibited works prior to the exhibition's opening. 

The prize fund is 4000 euros. A Grand Prix and two equal 2nd place prizes will be awarded. 
The jury reserves the right to make changes in the awarding of prizes. 
Prizes will be announced at the exhibition opening on 23 November 2012.

A catalogue of the triennial’s exhibitions and other activities will be published, of which every participant will receive a free copy.

Phone: +372 6274602
Contact person: Ketli Tiitsar