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Tartu 2024 Welcomes New Artistic Director

The new Artistic Director Kati Ilves will start in the Tartu 2024 team in August. Her main duties are leading the development of the European Capital of Culture programme and its artistic curating.

Kati Ilves portrait.
28. Jun Kaidi-Lisa Kivisalu

Kati Ilves. Photo: Mana Kaasik

According to Kati Ilves, the European Capital of Culture, carried out in cooperation between the Tartu 2024 Foundation and its partners, will be the top cultural event of Estonia in 2024. “My greatest challenge in this new position is further developing the Tartu 2024 artistic vision and executing it, so that the final programme offers experiences to all Estonians and visitors from abroad with varied tastes and interests,” confirmed Ilves.

At the end of this year, the first part of the Tartu 2024 culture programme will be revealed. The initial segment is based on the bid book and the creative concept Arts of Survival, which won the title of the European Capital of Culture. “The inaugural programme, which will be presented to the public soon, as the development process recently finished, is in very good shape,” said Kati Ilves. “In terms of artistic representation, the overall picture is very diverse, the institutional level is present through many key Southern Estonian organisations and the grassroots level is strong as well.

The CEO of Tartu 2024 Foundation Kuldar Leis emphasised that the preparations for the European Capital of Culture have reached a new, faster development phase. “Kati Ilves is an expert in her field, who has work experience with very different audiences in Estonia and in Europe. Her knowledge and background help Tartu and Southern Estonia offer a comprehensive and expressive culture programme. Our aim is to make Tartu 2024 prominent locally and internationally,” he said.

Kati Ilves (b 1984) has curated solo and group exhibitions and has conducted research-based projects in Estonia and elsewhere in Europe. She has a Master’s Degree in Art History from the Estonian Academy of Arts, and she has studied Literature and Film in the University of Paris 8. She was a participant in the Curatorial Intensive organised by the Independent Curators International in 2015 in New York, and in 2017, she graduated from the prestigious Curatorial Programme at the De Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam.

In addition to working with outstanding visual artists, she has collaborated with rapper Tommy Cash and fashion designer Rick Owens for a show. In 2018 she worked as a guest curator in le lieu unique Art Centre in Nantes, creating an international group exhibition titled “Ascending from the Liquid Horizon”. In 2017 Ilves curated Katja Novitskova’s solo show “If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes” in the Estonian pavilion at the 57th Venice biennale, which was accompanied by a catalogue published by Sternberg Press. Currently, visitors can enjoy an exhibition about rave culture curated by Kati Ilves at Kumu.

Prior to taking the Tartu 2024 Artistic Director position, Kati Ilves worked at the Kumu Art Museum as a curator.

The Artistic Director was selected through a targeted search and will start work on 2 August.

The Tartu 2024 Foundation started work in the beginning of 2020. The goal of the organisation is to carry out the activities of the European Capital of Culture in Tartu and Southern Estonia.

Tartu with 19 Southern Estonian municipalities was named as the 2024 European Capital of Culture in August 2019. The selection was made by an international independent expert commission. Tartu 2024 creative concept, which won the European Capital of Culture title, is Arts of Survival