Jaanus Samma (b. 1982) is a visual artist based in Tallinn, Estonia. Samma studied printmaking at the Fine Art department of Estonian Academy of the Arts, acquiring a BA in 2005. He later attended École Supérieure Estienne des Arts et Industries Graphiques and Paris 8 Saint-Denis, France; returning to the Estonian Academy of the Arts to complete his MA in fine arts in 2009.
Samma’s body of work includes photographs, installations and videos that were initially concerned with the urban space and subjective experiences of it. Later his interests shifted towards gender studies investigating representations of male sexuality and contemplating ways of portraying it with artistic means. At the Estonian Academy of the Arts, where the artist has been attending a PhD program since 2011, Samma is mapping out gay narratives in Soviet Estonia as part of his artistic research. Samma’s PhD combines fieldwork - interviews and archive research - as well as more subjective and artistic output produced based on the findings.
Selection of Samma's upcoming and recent solo exhibitions include: Upcoming solo exhibition curated by Eugenio Viola, Nomas Foundation, Rome (2018); "Sõnumid – Viestejä", The Aine Art Museum, Tornio, Finland (2018); "Dialogue. Mare Vint and Jaanus Samma", curated by Anu Allas, Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn (2017–2018); "Divider", Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, Tallinn (2017); “Three Works at a Canteen”, ex-canteen factory Kalibr, Minsk (2016); “Not Suitable For Work. A Chairman’s Tale”, curated by Eugenio Viola, Museum of Occupations, Tallinn (2016); "NSFW. A Chairman’s Tale", curated by Eugenio Viola, Estonian pavillion at the 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015); “Unrest", Gotlands Konstmuseum, Gotland (2015); "The Hair Sucks Sweater Shop", Tallinn Art Hall Gallery, Tallinn (2014); and "Chairman. The Opera", Kunstraum B, Kiel (2013).
Selection of his recent group exhibitions include: "Queerly Classed", curated by Yevgeniy Fiks and Olga Kopenkina, Franklin Street Works, Connecticut (2017); "Sculpture Quadrennial", Riga (2016); “Masters Peasants Peasants Masters”, BWA Sokól, Nowy Sacz, Poland (2016); “Kunstnerbøger – Vildt Voksende”, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen (2016); XX Mänttä Art Festival, Finland (2015); “Is This the Museum That We Wanted?”, Tartu Art Museum, Tartu (2014); “Afterlives of Gardens”, Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn (2013); “Corporal Punishment”, Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn (2012); “Untold Stories”, Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn (2011); “Luleå Art Biennial”, Sweden (2009); and “Exposition d´Art Contemporain Balte”, Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2008).
Samma represented Estonia in 2015 at the 56th Venice Biennale with his project “NSFW. A Chairman’s Tale”. He was the recipient of the Köler Prize in 2013, an annual award given out by the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia.