Muhu art residency

Muhu Art Residency has been operating since autumn 2014 as an international cross-disciplinary creative residence open to all artists and a holiday centre. The residency is located in Nõmmküla, Muhu Municipality, Saaremaa County – in today’s terms, on the edge of the world. The farm complex, which is under heritage protection, provides great facilities and is a superb platform for contemporary artists, historians, innovators and restorers. The centre welcomes both adults and children
Location: Muhu Art Residency is situated in a coastal village near the Üügu bluff, 150 km from Tallinn. The closest shop and bus stop is 10 km away at Liiva village.
The residency has rooms available for summer holidaymakers who are not disturbed by the artists from near and far who are living and working there.
We accommodate visitors in the farm’s storehouse rooms with 2–5 beds.
There is an outdoor kitchen, sauna, shower, hot water and an old-style dry toilet.
Price per person EUR 25 per night
Price for EAA members EUR 15 per night
Tiiu Rebane
The Muhu Art Residency (formerly known as Uuetalu or Uietalu farm) is believed to be one of the oldest farms in Nõmmküla and during feudal times was possibly the location of Marcus Vstalle’s farm. It is located on the north coast of the island of Muhu in the midst of an ancient natural environment – in today’s terms, on the edge of the world. Here, in this coastal village we are, as it were, transported back to the early days of Estonia, to the source of our cultural heritage. The threshing barn dwelling, storehouses, stone kitchen-smithy and Dutch-style windmill originate from the 19th century.
According to the Ethnographic Museum there was an orthodox special school at Uuetalu farm in the early 20th century. In 1969, the farm was abandoned by its inhabitants and was sold in 1971 to the ARS Art Products Factory.
When the art products factory was disbanded, the farm was acquired by the Estonian Artists Association. In 2001, the threshing barn dwelling of what was then known as the Muhu Art Residency burned down, the threshing barn and main room were destroyed and the bedchambers were also damaged. The surviving remnants of the building were preserved and in 2014 preparations were made for the reconstruction of the farm complex.
The development plan for the Muhu Art Residency envisages a complete restoration and overhaul of the facilities, as well as the creation of a new concept for the former holiday retreat. The renovation and extension of the Muhu Art Residency aims to create an art residence that operates year round as a cross-disciplinary seminar and art residence. As a historical Estonian landmark and showpiece, the art residence aims to meld the old with the contemporary, as a living environment and also as an incubator for creative ideas. The environs of the heritage protected farm complex are a perfect venue for contemporary artists and also historians, innovators and restorers. The centre welcomes both adults and children. All five buildings require renovation, whether this occurs it can continue to function as it has or as a future residency. The main building, of which half (the threshing barn) was destroyed by fire right down to its limestone foundations, is 276 m2 and in the worst condition. The remaining half needs immediate preservation. Practically all the outbuildings require repair work to a greater or lesser extent, and the plumbing throughout needs to be updated.
One of the aims of the Futu Muhu Art Festival, which started in 2015, is to attract sustained interest in a historical architectural pearl and to show the farm complex as a functioning and interesting environment for the promotion of contemporary international cultural activities.
September–December 2014 – Development plan for the art residence created and approved by the EAA council. The project manager of the art residence, Tiiu Rebane, commenced work.
October–December 2014 – Completion of the architectural vision by Jaak-Adam Looveer and Indrek Järve (PAIK Arhitektid OÜ). The design is based on sustainable renovation and is a low energy solution for the threshing barn dwelling, whose expanded function will provide accommodation and working facilities throughout the year for three residents and opportunities for public use as a seminar, studio and concert centre. The design of the farm complex also envisages new facilities and a contemporary viewing tower/studio in harmony with the historical buildings.
January 2015 – Art residence homepage is created (
February 2015 – Application to the Heritage Protection Board for building permission based on the architectural vision.
May 2015 – Clean-up, which included fixing the rooms, replacing existing beds and removal of rubbish (approximately 6 tonnes) that had accumulated over the decades. Sauna cleaned and restored and undergrowth extensively cut back.
June 2015 – Two-week practical surveying experience for Estonian Academy of Arts and Tallinn University of Technology students led by Joosep Metslang resulting in survey drawings of the storehouse and cellar, which had as yet not been done.
June 2015 – First Baltic plein air painting event Border Land (Piiririik) with the participation of ten painters from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
July 2015 – Exhibition of works from the plein air painting event Border Land – people in nature (Piiririik – inimene looduses opens in the rooms of the Lääne-Saare County Government in Kuressaare and remains open until the end of August.
July 2015 – The first long-term residents arrive – sculptors Toomas Altnurme (Estonia) and Pascal Pignon (France), who over the course of a month make a series of large-scale metal sculptures. The works are exhibited at the art residence as well as EKA Gallery in Tallinn at a survey exhibition. Two sculptures remain permanently on show in the yard of the art residence.
17–19 July 2015 The first art festival Future-Horizon (Tulevik-Horisont) takes place with close to 35 artists from an area ranging from Germany to Russia exhibiting on Muhu. As part of the art festival there is a concert with the bands Prohor & Puzo from Moscow and Hot Kommunist from Tallinn heading the line-up.
Artists: Siram (Mari Kartau), Ville-Karel Viirelaid, Kaarel Kütas, Noolegrupp (Triinu Jürves ja Villem Jahu), Karl-Kristjan Nagel, Andrus Joonas, Põleva Kaelaga Kirjak (Sorge, Taave Tuutma, Kaarel Kütas, Habe, Villem Jahu, Kätlin Piile, Meeland Sepp jt), Igor Ziko, Sandra Jõgeva, Toomas Altnurme, Pascal Pignon (FRA), Jana Wiebe (DE), Oleg Wiebe (DE), Hirvitalo KKK (Sami Maalas, Mira Heija, Villiam Wager, Jonne Kauko, Mikko Korte, Nana Simola, Henriikka Pöllanen, Sebastian Boultier, Teemu Takatalo)(FI), Ilgvars Zalans (LV), Ieva Caruka (LV), Anastassia Fomina (BY), Victor Puzo (RU), Andrei Azsacra (RU), Christoph Ott (DE), Arhitektid Jaak-Adam Looveer, Indrek Järve.
20–28 July 2015 – The first international printmaking week Muhu Print organised by Lembe Ruben (Association of Estonian Printmakers) takes place.
August 2015 – The third long-term resident arrives on Muhu, the writer and musician Flavien Larderet from France, who in addition to writing, manages to perform a number of public concerts on Muhu and in Pärnu.
3–16 August 2015 – Muhu art festival Future-Horizon (Tulevik-Horisont) survey exhibition at EKA Gallery in Tallinn.
September 2015 – With partial funding from the Heritage Protection Board a new thatched roof is added to the art residence sauna-storehouse.
3–22 November 2015 – Exhibition Golden Age (Kuldajastu) at Kastellaanimaja Gallery. The first collaborative project between Muhu Art Residency artists and restoration students from the Tallinn Construction School.
December 2015 – Completion of Heritage Protection Board guidelines for the renovation and building work at the Muhu Art Residency complex.
2016 January – With funding from the Council of the Gambling Tax Fund and printed by the Gutenbergi Pojad printers the catalogue of the Muhu Art Residency festival Future-Horizon (Tulevik-Horisont) 2015 is published.
Muhu Art Residency continues to be open to collaboration proposals and holidaymakers who wish to spend their summer in a small coastal village.
19 August 2016 Exhibition opens in the Kuressaare Town Hall Gallery and Cultural Centre (Raegalerii Kultuurikeskus) where the annual art residence art festival uses a traditional exhibition format to present the fruits of the summer to visitors of the county centre.
The 2016 residency programme included long-term creative periods for individual foreign artists and, as a new initiative, the inter-disciplinary pilot projects From artists to children (Kunstnikelt lastele) and Art and Energy (Kunst ja energia). These three typify the Muhu Art Residency mission of supporting the return of art to very real basics and its potential role in contemporary society – i.e. the ongoing creative potential for art to be an integral part of everyday life. The role of the art residence to connect artists, subjects and fields, and synthesise and at the same time stand face-to-face with the forces of nature or life struggles, is what the 2016 exhibition presented to viewers.
The Japanese performance artist Hiroko Tsuchimoto, who has gained international recognition and was artist-in-residence at the Muhu Art Residency performed at the opening. Jüri Lepik, a Muhu fisherman was also part of the performance, which touched upon the origins of Muhu, the history of the island, today’s European Union and Muhu’s declining fishing culture.
The opening event ended with a solo concert and dance performance by the musician Tiiu Kiik. Tiiu Kiik has been connected with Muhu Art Residency since 2015, when the art residence helped initiate her collaborative project with the Moscow musician Prohor Aleksejev (Altera Forma, ELEVEN, Prohor & Puzo) titled Tiiu Kiik & ELEVEN.
Arists: Meeland Sepp, Taave Tuutma (EST), Yasmine Pekonen (FIN), Kristiina Paabus, Jessica Caponigro (USA), Hiroko Tsuchimoto (Japan), Aureelia Mitt (UK/EST); Jana Wiebe, Vanessa Liebe, Oleg Wiebe (Germany), Karl-Kristjan Nagel, Toomas Altnurme (EST), Pascal Pignon (FRA), Paulo Ramos (Portugal), Morishita Kenzo (Japan), Rait Rosin (EST), Mira Heija, Venla Roponen (FIN), Nikita Kudaibergenov, Andrey Novikov (EST), Andrey Aszacra (RUS), Roope Ahola (FIN), Abbas Al Mosawi (Bahrain), Lonnie Graham (USA), Oulun Kultuuri-voimala (FIN), Tiiu Rebane, Jaak-Adam Looveer, Indrek Järve, Alisa Jakobi, Tiiu Kiik (EST) and children from Estonian kindergartens, elementary schools and orphanages.
Curators: Karl-Kristjan Nagel and Tiiu Rebane.
Exhibition designers: Tiiu Rebane, Taave Tuutma.
The festival was part of the EV 100 art programme One hundred art landscapes (Sada kunstimaasiku)
Video and performance art festival
EAA Muhu Art Residency
14‒15 July 2017
The opening day of the festival was dedicated to performance art and music, the second day to video presentations and interviews with the public. The works made during the festival and presented there were shown at C’est la Vie Gallery, 12 Avenue des Artes, Paris, France, 3–8 October 2017.
The festival was dedicated to history, specifically the 20th and 21st centuries, which slip unnoticeably past the art residence buildings. Artist impressions of events from 1901–2017, facts that were personally significant, interesting tendencies and international developments were presented. There were videos, performance art, extracts, interpretations, re-staging, rewording, repeat presentations – in other words, a range of art-centred approaches to the past century in Estonia, Europe and the world. What would artists change, what kind of revolution would they organise? What actually happened in the 20th century and what is happening now? Which visions have not been realised? The artists in the festival sought answers to these questions.
The EAA Muhu Art Residency is believed to be one of the oldest farm sites in Nõmmküla and it is possible that during the feudal period Marcus Vstalle had his farm here. The art residence is located on the northern coast of Muhu – in today’s terms, on the edge of the world. In the ancient environment of this little coastal village we are transported back to early days of Estonia. The dates marked on the buildings confirm that time stopped at this farm in 1901.
When you arrive at the art residence you enter a time machine with no traces of modernism or socialism, capitalism or war. On the top of the bluff, silence is lord of the manor and nature the bailiff.
Arists: Jimi Tenor (FIN), Jana Zatvarnicka (SLO), Alexander Morozov (RUS), Tuomo Kangasmaa (FIN), Juhan Vihterpal, Waldemar, Noolegrupp, Hannah Harkes, Mari Prekup, Meeland Sepp, Tsirkus-Kunst-Teater Põleva Kaelaga Kirjak, Taave Tuutma, Kaarel Kütas (EST); Project Heroina (EST/Portugal), Azsacra Zarathustra (RUS), Roope Ahola (FIN), Karl-Kristjan Nagel, Merle Luhaäär, Leila Lükko (EST).
Curator Tiiu Rebane.
You will find the Futu Muhu 2017 catalogue, with interviews with artists, at the art residence website
20 August 2017
On 3 August 2017, Meeland Sepp and Taave Tuutma’s third site-specific kinetic installation opened at the Muhu Art Residency, and the international public present called it Sun crank (Päikese vänt) with good reason. The functional metal contraption, the third Muhu Machine to be constructed, was made in 2017 and is functional as a light source. During the dark times it is now possible to read books and other printed material by its light. It also shows the wind direction.
In 2016, Meeland Sepp and Taave Tuutma made a large-scale animalistic-cosmic sculpture called Ereliukas and an innovative Muhu BBQ Stone Plough (Muhu Grill-Kivikündja) for the residence sculpture park. Ereliukas was first made and tested at the Balti Jaama Depot, where the contraption was demonstrated to the public in the exhibition Blue Blood (Sinine Veri) at the depot.
The pervading and uniting motif of the Muhu series of installations could be the bicycle. Artists have paid homage to man’s continuing ambition to move faster and further, and the machine that has continued to serve this idea. In the art residency archives there are many photographs that bear witness to the centuries-old conceptual and symbolic role of the bicycle in the history of the Uuetalu or ARS art farm.
The historical photographs date from the pre-WWII period and 1968–1969, when the Muhu section of the Estonian Students Construction Brigade operated here.
Painting symposium
16‒22 July 2018
Nature has always been an inseparable part of Estonian culture – as spiritual lyricism and mysticism, as well as subject matter. Nature is the fulcrum on which the tradition of Estonian figurative art continues to be based and is also traditionally the prism through which people understand and imagine life and being, or from which they wish to be distanced. We are Europeans, but also continue to be wild, forest people whose blood continues to flow with moss, mushrooms and the sough of the trees, and which does not want to let go, whether we want it to or not.
In summer we invited nearly 20 artists from across Estonia for two weeks to discover what the contemporary painting of nature is like, or what it can be. Is it a thing of the past or do pictures of nature still have something to say to people today.
The seminars and workshops in the symposium were conducted by Jaan Elken, Hasso Krull, Leila Lükko, Linda Mari Väli, artists Tiiu Rebane, Karl-Kristjan Nagel and other invited lecturers. The topics were “The role and concept of the forest in cultural history”, “The forest in Estonian art”, “Eco-criticism – what is it?”.
In late autumn, works made at the Muhu Art Residency that were dedicated to the forest were shown alongside other paintings by Estonian artists in Swedbank in Tallinn: This exhibition recreated the image of the developments in the meaning of art, the Estonian summer, the lyricism of nature and the physicality of being.
The Estonian Association of Painters offered to include the people’s choice award winner from the Muhu Art Residency exhibition in the association’s annual exhibition Idea. Production (Mõte. Lavastus) at the Haapsalu City Gallery. You can see videos of artist interviews and lectures on the art residence website
Artists: Hans Kempel, Beate Spitzmüler (Germany), Piret Kullerkupp (EST), Viktor Puzo (RUS), Pascal Pignon (FRA), Elo-Mai Mikelsaar, Jane Remm, Karl-Kristjan Nagel, Karl-Erik Talvet, Leila Lükko (EST), Raimo Törhönen, Päivi Pussila (FIN), Karol Ansip (EST), Filmikool.
Curator: Tiiu Rebane.
The motto of Futu Muhu 2019 is “From art to the village”.
As part of the festival, invited artists will erect a memorial to the currently dying fishing culture of the northern coast of Muhu in Nõmmküla village.
From 2015 EAA Muhu Art Residency has been a collaborative partner with the Association of Estonian Printmakers, and their international printmaking week Muhu Print has become a regular event attracting increasing local attention. The printmaking week is organised by Lembe Ruben, Britta Benno, Kadri Toom and others.
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