A COMPLETE STORY OF ACADEMIA NON GRATA, NON GRATA ARTIST GROUP AND ART SCENE IN PÄRNU IN TURBULENT TIMES! The book about artistic revolution in Pärnu, Estonia, titled as Explosion in Pärnu is ready for presentation and sale!

ORDER A COPY: sales(at)publicpreparation.org

During the transformation era of Eastern Europe in 1990s, one of the most intriguing centers of new art was Pärnu, a little Estonian town on the coast of the Baltic Sea best known by the international performance group Non Grata. For the first time, a systematic history of the events leading to the emergence and dissolution of that unique semi-underground, semi-institutional center of performance art has been formed in a book, "Explosion in Pärnu" by Rael Artel, the director of Tartu Art Museum.

After the collapse of Soviet Union, unique conditions created in Pärnu a possibility for something that would have been impossible both before and after that time, but also anywhere else. Out of nowhere, an unbelievably intensive and productive experimental art movement started, that quickly went through several phases of institutionalization and finally dissolved in 2000s, leaving behind only scant documentation and an internationally known art group that has little connections with the place where it was born. Yet the earlier Non Grata was not only a movement but also an experimental environment for art education, Academia Non Grata.

"I had to work not only as an art historian, but also as an archaeologist and a detective, to reconstruct the events and identify the participants. This is not a dry history but an intriguing story about a revolution that, as usual, ate its own children," commented Rael Artel on her process of writing. "As a purely documentary approach would not have explicated the whole dynamism of the art explosion in Pärnu, an extensive part of the book includes interviews with the main initiators and participants of the movement, as well as contemporary institutionary bystanders. This way, all the points of view are covered and the readers can make their own decisions by comparison."

The book consists of four parts. Central to it is the "Chronicle of the Explosion" that uses various documentation to place the events of the Non Grata movement between 1991 and 2012 in their historical context. "Paintings and assamblages" and "Documentation of performances and actions" show the creative production by reproductions, photos, and video stills. An extensive collection of interviews presents personal viewpoints, and the author's afterword gives a shorter overview of Non Grata's history as a whole. Additionally, the 320-page book includes a thorough bibliography.

Concept and editing by Rael Artel
Graphic design by Jaan Evart
Translations by Angela Adamson, Rael Artel and Peeter Talvistu
Proofreading by Dana Karjatse and Ali MacGilp
Printed by Greif OÜ

Published by Rael Artel and Public Preparation

ISBN 978-9949-38-588-1
320 pages (48 in colour), in English and Estonian
Price: 25 eur + mailing cost (5 eur in Estonia, 9 eur internationally)
Contact: sales(at)publicpreparation.org

The golden sponsor of Explosion in Pärnu is Estonian Cultural Endowment.

This publication is a book-format-version of an exhibition-installation Explosion in Pärnu that was showed in the framework of the show Archaeology and the Future of Estonian Art Scenes in 2012 at Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn.

Pages from Explosion in Pärnu: Rare photographic and video documentations of street actions and performances

Pages from Explosion in Pärnu: The timeline of the Explosion is accompanied with rich archival materials

Page from Explosion in Pärnu: interviews with artists, members of Non Grata group and art professionals close to Pärnu artistic community

© Rael Artel
© Public Preparation