Jaan Toomik

Born 1961 in Tartu, Estonia.


Jaan Toomik

Born 1961 in Tartu, Estonia.

Born in 1961 in Tartu, raised in Haapsalu, lives and works in Tallinn. Studied painting and graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in 1991. Currently professor and head of the painting department at the Estonian Academy of Arts. One of the best-known Estonian contemporary artists.

Toomik has exhibited at ARS ’95 (Helsinki, 1995), Manifesta 1 (Rotterdam, 1996), the Venice Biennale (1997, 2003), Beijing International Art Biennale (2005), Berlin Biennale (2006), „Ostalgia“ (New Museum, New York, 2011) etc.

A painter, performance and video artist, he started making short films in the 2000’s and completed his first full-length feature film in 2014.
He won the Principal Prize at Oberhausen in 2008 for his film „Communion“. His films have been shown at international film festivals in Oberhausen, Rotterdam, Basel, São Paulo, Tallinn etc.


1985–1991 Estonian Academy of Arts, faculty of painting.

Solo exhibitions


People and Other Creatures

Artra Gallery, Milan. Italy


In yellow and green

Haapsalu City Gallery. Haapsalu, Estonia

Jaan Toomik in Viljandi

Rüki Gallery. Viljandi, Estonia


Selfie as a Seagull

ARS project space. Tallinn, Estonia


My End Is My Beginning. And My Beginning Is My End.

Moscow Museum of Modern Art, by Viktor Misiano, Moskow, Russia


Theatre of Gestures

Mūkusala Art Salon, curated by Andris Brinkmanis, Riga, Latvia

Astrid Svangren / Jaan Toomik

Kohta Gallery, curated by Anders Kreuger, Helsinki, Finland

Jaan Toomik: Oleg

Kunsthaus Dresden. Dresden, Germany

How the West Was Left, curated by Anders Kreuger, Central Market, Tallinn
Film and video retrospective, 63rd International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

First Slumber, Tallinn Art Hall Gallery
Jaan Toomik, Haapsalu City Gallery

Smells Like Old Men’s Spirit, Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn

Alone, 84 HRZ Gallery, Munich
Messages from Reality, Werkstattgalerie, Berlin

Solo, Galleri Sult / Skur 6 , Stavanger
Orton Gallery, Helsinki

Run, ARTRA Gallery, Milano
Pop/off art Gallery, Moscow

Tourist, Vaal Gallery, Tallinn

Turku Art Museum, Turku

Riga Art Space

Readiness, Hobusepea Gallery, Tallinn
Jaan Toomik, KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn

Jaan Toomik, Tartu Art Museum
4+4 paintings Vaal Gallery, Tallinn
Video Works, Museum of Contemporary in Bucharest
Recent works, Tallinn Art Hall Gallery
Videos, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid

Video Works, Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius
Artoteek in Hague, The Hague
Haapsalu City Gallery
IBID Gallery, London

Vaal Gallery, Tallinn
Hippolyte Gallery, Helsinki
Artists’ House, Tartu

Peeter Mudist, paintings. Jaan Toomik, video installations, Cultural Centre Elzenveld, Antwerp
Contemporary Film and Video Programme, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Tallinn Art Hall

Vaal Gallery, Tallinn

I-20 Gallery, New York

Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn
Art Pace, San Antonio, Texas

Selected group exhibitions, actions, performances


Suizid – Let’s Talk About It

Museum for Sepulchral Culture, Kassel. Germany

Towards a New Community

curated by Avi Lubin, Tel Aviv

Dreams of Freedom. Romanticism in Russia and Germany 6+

Albertinum, Dresden. Germany

Estonian Energies. The Power of Practice

Tartu Art Museum, Tartu. Estonia

MEMENTO – The Force Field of Memories

The Museum for Sepulchral Culture, Kassel. Germany

Dreams of Freedom. Romanticism in Russia and Germany 6+

New Tretjakov gallery, Moscow. Russia


Roots and Ruins 2019 , curated by Rael Artel

Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn. Estonia

17th International Vilnius Painting Triennial

Vilnius, Lithuania


Fajr International Film Festival

Teheran, Iraan

FREIRAUM in Berlin – On the State of Freedom in Europe

Berlin, Germany

„in situ”

Duktus-Bau, Buderus Park, Hirzenhain. Germany

Reviving Europe from the bottom up

Freinaum, Berlin. Saksamaa


Oberhessen, Saksamaa

TRE, Snehta Gallery

Athens, Kreeka

AVANT 19 – AVANT goes Baltic

Kristinehamn Art Museum, Kristinehamn. Sweden

Estonian Energies

Izevsk National Art Museum. Russia

The Price of Boredom

Rauma Triennale, Rauma

Blood and Soil

CAC, Vilnius. Lithuania


There and Back Again

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki

Freedom is Recognized Necessity

curated by Hripsimé Visser, Frank van Lamoen, Carolien Glazenburg, Amsterdam. Netherlands

The Explorers, Part One

V-A-C Foundation, Palazzo delle Zattere, Venice. Italy

Performance – The Body as a Continuum in Art

Gabriele Senn Galerie, Vienna. Austria

Video Europe for all

curated by Iara Boubnova, Sofia. Bulgaria

Freiheit zur Freiheit II

Schloss Albrechtsberg, Dresden. Germany

Dimitria Festival 2018

Artis Causa Gallery, Thessaloniki. Greece

Eurasia International Film Festival

Astana. Kazakhstan

3. Jagran Film Festival

New Delhi. India

The X-Files [Registry of the Nineties]

Kumu art museum, Tallinn

Floating World, curated by Jonathan Watkins and Alistair Hicks, Art Bahrain Across Borders, Manama
Closer to the Border, curated by Tainá Azeredo, CPR Film Festival, Buenos Aires
International Film Festival, Pune, India
Troubled Water, 10th Baltic Contemporary Art Biennial, Szczecin
Accrochage 3. Pop & Music/Sound, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris
5. Bildrausch, International Film Festival, Basel
International Film Festival, Rotterdam
Fiona Banner selects from the V-A-C Collection, Whitecapel Gallery, London
SUND, Tallinn Art Hall
Public Commission, Monument to Maris Liepa, Latvian National Opera House, Riga
The State of Making Things, Piazza Remo Rossi Locarno
The Classics of Estonian Contemporary Art(MÖH?FUI!ÖÄK!OSSA!VAU!), Tartu Art Museum
Masrers & Pelavin Gallery, New York
XVI Mänttä Art Festival, Mänttä
Impossible Community, Contemporary Art Museum of Moscow
Ostalgia, New Museum, New York
Meeting with Friend in Marfa, Å Gallery, Turku
Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid, Pompidou Centre, Paris
Molodist International Film Festival, Kyiv
Drama Film Festival, Drama
Warsaw Film Festival, Warsaw
Biennale Mediations 2010, Poznan São Paulo
International Short Film Festival, São Paulo
The Care to Create, Art Festival Cēsis 2010, Cēsis
Mediation, The National Museum in Warsaw
A Pair of Left Shoes, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb
Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Oberhausen
Gender Check, MUMOK, Vienna
Looking for New Earth, Sojo Gallery Kumamoto
Identity, Branderburgischer Kunstverein, Potsdam
Friendship, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna
A Pair of Left Shoes, Bochum Art Museum
Video Performances in Münster, Kunsthalle Münster
Youprison, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino
54. International Short Film Festival Oberhausen
Fairplay Film & Video Award 2008, Lugano
Borderlives. Contemporary Art from Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Tallinn, Ludwig Forum, Aachen
European Attitude, MOMA Zendai, Shanghai
Shadow Filmfestival, Amsterdam
Cool Days, Bonniers Konsthall
Body as city, city as body, Dublin
Backward Blues, CCA, Moscow
October. Exit, Memory and Desire, Galleria ARTRA, Milan
Baltic States, part III. Contemporary Art from Estonia, Kalmar Art Museum
(H)eros, Casino Luxembourg
Locws 2: engaging art, people and place, Wales
Asia-Europe mediations, Poznan
Human Game, Saks 5th Ave, New York
Progressive Nostalgia, Prato
Giorgio Persano Gallery, Torino
Locws 3: engaging art, people and place, Wales
Art, Life & Confusion, Belgrade Cultural Centre
Licht. Kunst mit Licht und Lichtdesign, Lüdenscheid
Human Game, Stazione Leopoldo of Florence
Videokunst aus dem baltikum, Kunstraum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf
Face the Unexpected, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund
4th berlin biennial for contemporary art ‘Of Mice and Men’, Berlin
Document 3 – International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Glasgow
Beijing International Art Biennale, Bejing
58. Festival Internazionale del Film Locarno, In Progress section, The Cubes, Locarno
Video Art in Cork, Cork Film Centre
Instant Europe, Villa Manin, Passariano of Codroipo, Udine
Effort, Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, Donostia-San Sebastain
Shadow Film Festival, Amsterdam
Viinistu 2004, international live-art and video event, Viinistu
Talking to Me, Rauma Biennale Balticum, Rauma
Breakthrough, Grote Kerk den Hague
Dream Island, Riga
Movimento/Movimenti – Films and Videos of the 50. International Art Exhibition, International Exhibition of Visual Arts of the Biennale di Venezia
Shortcut Film Festival, Oberhausen
Bodyworks, The Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, The Pierides Museum of Contemporary Art, Larnaca
EastWest, Museumquartal, Austrian Film Museum, Vienna
Now What, BAK, Utrecht
Extra Strong Super Light, Szczecin National Art Museum
Veden Runoutta, Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Mohni 2003, international festival of contemporary art, Mohni island
Dreams and Conflicts: Dictatorship of the Viewer. Clandestine. Arsenale, 50th International Exhibition of Visual Arts of the Biennale di Venezia
21 Minutes. Art Moscow The Paths of Europe, Contemporary Art Museum, Thessaloniki
Paris – Berlin International Meetings, Paris, Berlin
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebandengo Torino, Turin
Evidence, Esso Gallery, London
Les Boréales, Caen The Museum of Hafnarborg, Hafnarfjörður
Gooseflesh 3, international live-art and video art festival, Rakvere & Haapsalu
Roots, Taidehalli, Helsinki
Breath, The Ludwig Museum Budapest, Budapest
Video ROM, Milano, Bergamo, Rome
Closing the Distance, Åaźnia Center for Contemporary Art, Gdansk
The Baltic Times, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck
The Baltic Times, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana
International Film and Video Festival, Split
Gooseflesh 2, international video and performance festival, Rakvere
Valencia Biennale, Section Video ROM, Valencia
On the Way to the Screen, Art Moscow, 5th International Art Fair, Central House of Artist, Moscow
Nights In, Gasworks Gallery, London
Estonian Energies, WUK Gallery, Vienna
Grosse Kunstausstellung Düsseldorf, Messe Düsseldorf
Inverse Perspectives, Edsvik
Bac-Présence Balte, The Human Project, Visby, Athens, Barcelona
OPEN2000, Venice
I-20 Gallery, New York
Bleibe, Akademie der Künste, Berlin
L’autre moi tie de l’Europe, Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris
Videolisboa, International Video Festival of Lisbon
After the Wall, Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin.
Near and Elsewhere, The Photographers Gallery, London
Interstanding 2, 5th annual exhibition of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Tallinn
Letter and Event, Apex Art C.P., New York
La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
Site Santa Fe Biennial, Santa Fe
Survival, Rauma Biennale Balticum 96, Rauman Taidemuseo, Rauma
Container ’96 – Art Across Oceans, international exhibition of contemporary art, Copenhagen
Manifesta 1, European biennial of modern art, Rotterdam Art Hall
Personal Time. Art of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 1945–1996, Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts, Paris
ARS 95, international exhibition of contemporary art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki
Avant-garde Walk a Venezia 1995, Venice
22nd International Biennial of São Paulo, São Paulo

Grants and awards


Kristjan Raud annual art award, Estonia


Residency in Mazzano Romano, U. Tanners foundation


54. International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, prize from organizers
Annual award from Cultural Endowment of Estonia for artistic activity in 2007


NIFCA Artist Residencies, Bergen, Norra


Konrad Mäe medal, Eesti


Baltic Assembly Annual Art Award


NIFCA Artists’ Residencies, Hafnarborg, Island


State Prize of the Republic of Estonia
Chicago Artist International Program, USA


Prize from the 5th annual exhibition of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia
Sinebrychoff Estonia Ltd.
Art Pace, San Antonio, Texas, USA


UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts, special mention, Paris, France


Kristjan Raud annual art award, Estonia

Selected bibliography

Jaan Toomik. My End Is My Beginning. And My Beginning Is My End. Catalogue. Edited by Viktor Misiano. Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2019

63. International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. Catalogue. 2017.

Estonian Dream. Published by Galleri Sult, Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia, 2013

Orton Galleria esittää no.12, Galleria Orton, Helsinki 2013

Jaan Toomik, Run . Published by Archive Books, Berlin 2012

OSTALGIA Published by J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum in New York 2011

Contemporary Art in Eastern Europe (ARTWORLD series). Black Dog Publishing, London, 2010

Jaan Toomik. Invisible Pearls. Riga Art Space, 2008

Jaan Toomik. Catalogue. Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, 2007

Jaan Toomik. Videos. Catalogo. Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid 2005

Files. MUSAC. Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leon, 2004

La Biennale di Venezia. 50. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, 2003.

Art Moscow. Programme. 5th International Art Fair, April 24 – 29, 2001. Central House of Artist, Moscow 2001

Fresh Cream. Contemporary Art in Culture. 10 curators, 10 writers, 100 artists. Phaidon Press
Limited, N.Y, USA, 2000

L’autre moi tie de l’Europe. Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, 2000

New Media in Late 20th Century Art.(Video Installation Art). Thames and Hudson, London 1999

After the Wall. Art and Culture in post-Communist Europe. Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, 1999

Jaan Toomik. Baltic. I-20 Gallery, New York, 1998

Site Santa Fe. Truce: Echoes of Art in an Age of Endless Conclusions, The New York Times Company, 1997

La Biennale di Venezia. XLVII Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, 1997

Survival. Rauma Biennale Balticum 96, Rauman Taidemuseo, Finland, 1996

ARS 95. Private / Public. Nykytaiteen Museo, Valtion Taidemuseo, Helsinki, 1995

Manifesta 1. Catalogue of the first edition of a new European Biennial of contemporary art, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 1996

Container ‘96. Art Across Oceans. Europaesk Kulturby, Kobenhavn, 1996

UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts 1995. The World of Art in 1995. UNESCO, Paris, 1996

Avant-garde Walk a Venezia 1995 I, II. Edizioni d’Arte Fratelli Pozzo, 1995, 1996

Lapin. Toomik. 22nd International Biennial of São Paulo, Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Estonia, Tallinn, 1994