Portfolio of Margus Tamm

Place and Interventionist Art

An analysis of interventionist public art based on interventions in Freedom Square in Tallinn, Estonia

In the paradigm of modernist avant-garde art after WWII, public art became secondary in status. It was considered to be synonymous with compromise, dilution and dependency. Popular public spaces were left for corporate or communal sculptures, while the emerging land art moved into the periphery – onto the ranches of eccentric patrons and unpopulated salt lakes.

The interventionist avant-garde, such as groups like the Situationist International, with all its commitment to intervene in public life, also treated the wider public or community as a passive object, the least meaningful part of an artistic venue. One could say that in public art the public has for a long time been seen rather as an obstacle. This kind of thinking slowly began to change in the 1980s. The concept of space as a producer of social order rehabilitated public art by positioning it, in a number of ways, back in the pioneering fringe of the avant-garde.

full text