Siim-Tanel Annus answers 10 questions by Mare Tralla

Would you please introduce yourself to an alien

I’m observing phenomena and activities and disseminating them to people. I do it through myself. As I am a human being, examinations of and discoveries within my soul and feelings are not only concerned with myself but have a broader human significance. People who surround me find there familiar states of mind, something they have experienced in themselves. I materialise those states of mind on paper, canvas or space, and make them visible.

Sometimes fellow human beings find the joy of recognition in my work, or they discover something totally new for them. Sometimes they take no interest at all in what I have depicted.

How have the following phenomena influenced you:

a view from a window:A view from a window is necessary to relate yourself to the world.

The opposite sex:

Arouses curiosity and stimulates.


Has a cleansing and reconciling effect.


It makes you strong, but it also restricts and blinds you.


Stimulates. Creates an illusory world.


Can’t say.


They mobilise and strengthen you.

Which situation in your life has made you most angry?

When I am unable to explain (and clarify) some phenomenon or situation and make it understandable because of my own, or someone else’s limitations.

What does being an artist mean to you?

Being an intermediator.

What is sacred for you?

Both spiritual and physical territory – my own, and that of other people.

If you could pick a location for the next performance…

I do not to want to have any more performances.

How do you relate to the mass media as a means for an artist to become famous?

Our mass media is mostly concerned with itself and selling its products. Mass media is not an adequate vehicle for mediating art.

Estonian mass media and its products are weak. The ‘media people’, of course, think quite the opposite due to their high self esteem. Seen through the media, Estonia is a village, and the so-called trend church and ‘media people’ are its priests.

How has capitalism influenced your sense of home?

Not essentially. I’ve always lived in one-family-house. In a similar neighbouring house I maintain my studio. Costs and income as principles of capitalist economy were familiar to me even in the socialist period.

How would you behave in a stranger’s kitchen?

I don’t want to go into a stranger’s kitchen, neither am I interested in what goes on behind the scenes. In a dining or reception room everything is laid out anyway. I prefer being a guest.

What is your attitude towards feminism?

I can’t say yes or no to things which exist despite of me. In Estonia, people love questions pro or contra something. So I have a natural attitude towards feminism.


Born in Tallinn, Estonia, in 1960. 1974-8 studied art at Tõnis Vint’s studio, and 1978-84 art history at the University of Tartu. His art was first shown at the exhibition New Art from the Soviet Union in the USA, first solo exhibition was held in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1978. Siim-Tanel Annus’ work are in many private collections and museums in Estonia, Finland, Germany and USA. His first performance was in 1980 in the garden of his home, his latest at the Venice Biennial 1997.