Aet Ader & Laur Kaunissaare + Narva-Jõesuu Ethnograpy Museum

"Vacation Is Work"


Vacation/work is one of the main axes of the modern life. People work a lot and vacation time, as a break from it, is a fond dream to look forward to. But one’s vacation means work for another person and nowhere is it clearer than in a monofunctional resort town. Over the years, many people have gone on vacation to Narva-Jõesuu. But there has also been a lot of work so other people could enjoy their vacation.

Visiting Narva-Jõesuu today, one can smell the bittersweet nostalgia inthe air. When it comes to this town, the golden era of vacationing is remembered fondly, but there have been several golden eras — Tsarist Russia, interwar Estonia and the Soviet era. Narva-Jõesuu Ethnography Museum gives a thorough overview of the town’s glorious past. Perhaps the future is already set in some business plans too. But there is one era missing from this museum.

Aet Ader and Laur Kaunissaare created an exposition of the present of Narva-Jõesuu as a resort town. Of the moment when the dream of a vacation meets the reality of work. In collaboration with photographer Diana Tamane, a photo series of the current spas of Narva-Jõesuu — Noorus, Meresuu and Narva-Jõesuu Sanatorium — was born. On the two terraces of the ethnography museum, which are not usually open to visitors, objects from the current vacation culture were displayed in addition to the photo series. The exhibition opened the world of both visitors and employees, and focused on the time-transcending solidarity that connects us all in the hard work and the desire to take a vacation.

Exhibition design and texts: Aet Ader, Laur Kaunissaare

Aet Ader (1985) is an architect and one of the founders of the architecture office b210. She was vice president of the Estonian Association of Architects in 2014—2018. She has served (along with Kadri Klementi) as editor-in-chief of the magazine Ehituskunst and in 2013, with b210, curated the Tallinn Architecture Biennale titled Recycling Socialism. In the Faculty of Architecture of the Estonian Academy of Arts, along with Katrin Koov, Ader supervises the master’s studio and with b210 she supervises the design studio of hiking infrastructure for forests.

Laur Kaunissaare (1982) has worked as playwright at Theatre NO99, Kanuti Gildi Saal and Tallinn City Theatre. In addition, Kaunissaare coordinated the programme of interdisciplinary projects of European Capital of Culture 2011 Tallinn and is the playwright of the 2018 cross-genre project The Story of One Hundred.

Diana Tamane (1986) is an Estonian photographer of Latvian descent. She studied in Tartu Art School and LUCA School of Arts in Brussels and spent 2015—2016 in Ghent doing residency in HISK. Currently, she is participating in exhibitions in Riga, Rio de Janeiro and Tartu.

Narva-Jõesuu Ethnography Museum offers visitors the opportunity to get to know the history and culture of the resort town through visual materials — letters, documents, photos and books of renowned creative figures related to the town are displayed. Well-known people who lived or vacationed in what once was known as the “Estonian Riviera” are introduced. The museum is located in a building where the writer A. H. Tammsaare vacationed for a short while.

Aet Ader's and Laur Kaunissaare's residency took place during 02.–11.03.2018.

Public programme 

19.05.2018 Art Bus from Tallinn
14:00–16:00 Museum of Estonian Architecture’s Open Houses tour in Narva-Jõesuu, led by Madis Tuuder
17:00 Opening of "Vacation is Work" in Narva-Jõesuu Ethnography Museum
19:00 Museum Night — performances by folk dancers and Russian romance singers. Estonian and Russian-language exhibition tours led by the artists

24.08.2018 Exhibition ending. Discussion panel on the recent past and near future of the resort town. The panel included the artists and Vyatcheslav Fjodorovich Bakin, head of Noorus resort in the 1980s.

Thank you: Ljubov Nikkar, Darja Andrejeva, City of Narva-Jõesuu, Mihkel Lember and Tõnu Narro, Meresuu Spa & Hotel, Narva-Jõesuu Spa & Sanatorium, Noorus SPA Hotel, Madis Tuuder, Museum of Estonian Architecture


In English