Typical Individuals. Graffiti and Street Art in Tartu 1994–2014

Curator: Marika Agu

Artists: Natalie Mei, Rauno Thomas Moss, Maris Männik, Kiwa, Kaido Ole, Aleksander Sprohgis, Roman-Sten Tõnissoo

It’s the second exhibition by the archival project “Tartu 88”. It examines Tartu’s graffiti writers and street artists, thanks to whom Tartu has risen to mythical fame as the capital of Estonian street art. The suggestion to call these artists typical individuals stemmed from the way local culture is shaped following examples from abroad, combining foreign behavioural principles and exemplars with personal ambitions and soul-searchings.

At the same time, the exhibition makes references to the dandy and the flâneur, who are the archetypes of the graffiti writer and the street artist. Seemingly operating somewhere at the fringes of freedom and indefinability, with their presence and ostensibility, they try to dislocate the general working principles and social paradigm of a city. In order to use a city, to utilise its functions, a person does not necessarily have to live there – the city is like a stage, on which an individual can play different roles and express his or her desires anonymously.

It may seem arbitrary to examine the metropolis-bred flâneur and the Tartu graffiti writer and street artists in a common context, considering they come from different bases. Nevertheless, the latter are kindred spirits of the flâneur, who redefine the urban space in conjunction with the surrounding physical environment. Here today, there tomorrow, they are awaited with their masks.


The exhibition is accompanied with a publication in Estonian and English, which includes the explanation of the exhibition’s concept, overview of the development of graffiti and street art in Tartu and the descriptions of the works exhibited. Among other things, an essay about flâneuse by Francisco Martínez, and an article of graffiti as communication-centred cultural phenomenon by Piret Voolaid.

Exhibition design: Margus Tamm, Taavi Villak

Language editor: Kadri Tüür

Translator: Priit Silm, Angela Adamson

Installation: Arvi Kuld, Kristjan Nagla

Thanks: Angela Adamson, Kristjan Bachmann, Barthol Lo Mejor, Edy, Fast K, Aleksander Heifets, Agnes Joala, Reigo Kuivjõgi, Kristen Kulberg, Kadri Lind, Erkki Luuk, Edward von Lõngus, Francisco Martínez, Märt Miljan, Medley, Uku Pira, Ruudu Rahumaru, Sirla, Kristjan Suits, Käty Tarkpea, Piret Voolaid.

Supporters: Eesti Kultuurkapital, Tartu Kultuurkapital, Hasartmängumaksu Nõukogu, ABLV Bank, Raba Pruulikoda, A. Le Coq, Slaid OÜ, Kaasaegse Kunsti Eesti Keskus, Tartu Elektriteater, Taiga OÜ.