Liina Siib:

Urban Symphony in E-minor


To coincide with Estonia’s centenary this year Sinne is showing Liina Siib’s Urban Symphony in E-minor II. The exhibition is part of the official art programme for the anniversary year: Comers, Goers and Stayers. It is the second part of a three-part whole. The first part is currently being shown at Vana-Võromaa Museum in Võru, Estonia, and the third will open at Tallinn Art Hall in February 2019. The exhibition at Sinne comprises videos, photos, podcasts, sound installations and readymades.

With its focus on Estonian women working in Finland, Liina Siib’s latest project foregrounds issues of migration and work. Siib spent two years with her camera and dictaphone documenting interviews and encounters that open up the topics that surround these women’s lives and everyday existences. Out of their voices Siib weaves a portrait with multiple silhouettes. Her long experience of documentary work gives her the ability to shed light on the topic, causing patterns to emerge, but also complexity and diversity.

Today, more than thirty thousand Estonian women work in Finland. Siib has met some thirty of them in and around Helsinki. They come from various sectors, and their work in the country achieves varying degrees of success. There are as many stories as there are women. While some are following their dreams, others are driven by economic circumstances. Some are emotionally torn between two home countries, while others have decided to stay. Siib has an eye for details and nuances, and in the exhibition she deliberately directs the gaze away from the women to the environment that surrounds them. The images depict Finnish everyday life – the checkout at Prisma, poker machines in the R-kiosk, Bingo at the pub, people selling telephone subscriptions in the shopping centre. With this approach Urban Symphony in E-minor dissolves the boundaries between those who are portrayed and their surroundings.

Liina Siib is a prominent Estonian artist who lives and works in Tallinn. She made her debut as a graphic artist at the end of the 1980s. In the mid-1990s, she came into contact with photography and an exchange programme enabled her to work in New York, San Francisco and elsewhere. In 2003, she passed her Master’s exam in photography at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn. She works in various techniques: photography, film, installation and performance. She is one of the generation of artists in Estonia who were growing up when the Soviet Union collapsed, and her work takes its starting point in the space that arises during a shift of ideologies. The themes of her work touch on social issues and she often finds her entry point in the everyday. Her works have been shown at exhibitions and festivals internationally. In 2011, Liina Siib represented Estonia at the Venice Biennale and she is currently a contributor to the RIBOCA1 Biennial in Riga. In 2002-2015, she was Editor of Estonian Art magazine. Since 2015, she has been Professor of Graphic Art at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

On November 9th between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. we arrange Cake, tea and stories with Liina SiibWe’ll bake a cake together and share some stories on leaving your home for new experiences, as well as stories on stereotypes and representations. 

You can drop in when you can and take friends and family with you. We’ll start the evening by baking a cake to share, but you’re welcome to bring some cake of your own to share with others, too. Participation is for free, no signing up in advance is required. The programme will be in english and estonian.


In collaboration with HIAP, Kaasaegse Kunsti Eesti Keskus, Kunstihoone Tallinn and Vana-Võromaa Kultuurikoda.

Urban Symphony in E-Minor I
September 28th – October 28th
Vana-Võromaa Kultuurikoda
Adress. Katariina allee 11, Võru, Estonia
Ph: 00372 78 244 79

Urban Symphony in E-Minor III
February 15th – April 14th, 2019
Curated by Taru Elfving
Kunstihoone Tallinn
Vabaduse väljak 8, 10146 Tallinn, Estonia
Ph: 00372 64 428 18

Past program