Ott Metusala

See also:
GRA Bookbinding Workshop

Catalog issue 23, Articulated Models, 2023

Offset printed, 16 pages, A4 format. Edition of 400. Published by Catalog. Edited by Lieven Lahaye and compiled/designed by Ott Metusala. Text written by Tiit Metusala.

The publication brings together the work of Kirsti Metusala, the artist-designer of Estoplast, a lighting factory in Soviet Estonia. The Archival material (pictures, objects, design plans and memories) refers to the constructed worldview and highlights the utopias that appeared in them. In the publication, the author explores design heritage from a personal point of view and the political past. An inventory of design objects and facts forms the basis of the publication.

Articulated Models, 2023

Installation at the Estonian Museum of Applied Arts and Design in Tallinn

The project “Articulated Models” directs our attention through constant composing, visualising and unpacking of new elements towards looking at how standards and design influence our everyday lives. In his work, Ott Metusala studies the living environment by highlighting how political ideas penetrate our private space through design processes.

Arts of Survival – Vision Book, 2023

Offset printed, 160 pages, 140 × 230 mm. Edition of 700 (EE and EN). Published by SA Tartu 2024. Authors: Berk Vaher, Mari Kalkun, Annela Laaneots, Valdur Mikita, SA Tartu 2024.

Arts of Survival is the vision book of European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024. The core of the book consists of the values underlying the Tartu 2024 programme. It’s what was and is in our hearts in Tartu and Southern Estonian while thinking of Arts of Survival and the future of the world in the 21st century. Images by SA Tartu 2024.

Sandberg Instituut Graduation Exhibition , 2023

Exhibition identity

The annual exhibition took place over 3 days at 9 locations in Amsterdam between 9–11 June 2023. Sandberg Instituut proudly presented the work of 59 graduating students from five main departments (Critical Studies, Design, Dirty Art Department, Fine Arts, and Studio for Immediate Spaces) and two temporary programs (Blacker Blackness and Ecologies of Transformation).


Publication by Mitchell Thar, 2023
Offset printed, 228 pages; unpaginated, 158 numbered reproductions (b/w), 20 x 20 x 1.5 cm, Edition of 200, self-published. Documentation by Ayako Nishibori

'Midden' is an artist book made in response to the exhibition 'Verzameld voor Amstelveen– De Gemeentelijke Kunstcollectie' at Museum JAN (Amstelveen, 2022), an exhibition addressing the changing landscape of Amstelveen. The architecture of Kronenburg, on the border of Amsterdam-Zuid, is documented through archival material with recently re-shot photos. Photo-collages made from both sets of photos form the bulk of the book: a visual reading of landscape-in-transition.

Night-work Hahahaha
Poster and printing plates for exhibition of The Palace of Typographic Masonry at Grote Kerk Breda, 2023.
In collaboration with Farah Fayyad

Night-work Hahahaha is an ongoing experiment, exchange, and reflection of labor, love, and language. This edition resulted in a collage of letters and ornaments in Estonian and Arabic.

Publication by Nina Fránková, 2022.

Hollowing out; making it survivable. Grinding; Terra Sigillata. An ancient thing without additives. Reaching in before automatization, pulling out beauty, and patience and… Hollow details the multi-layered artistic practice of Nina Fránková through photographic documentation and an accompanying series of texts and essays by invited contributors Kris Dittel, Denisa Kollárová, Pedro Moraes and Anne Grøtte Viken.

Articulated Models
Sandberg Instituut Graduation Show, 2022.

Focusing on Soviet-era design and its industry in Estonia, Ott Metusala examines how and why the occupying power used design and aesthetics to establish its authority in our private spaces. Metusala builds upon the sketches made by his grandmother, Kirsti Metusala, who was a lamp designer for Estoplast during the Soviet occupation of Estonia. With other archival material (images, objects, design sketches, and also memories) their standardised environments are remodelled and the utopias in which they appeared highlighted. This series of works started in 2015 with the publication Nobody Expected There Would Be Much Discussion About It. In this publication, Metusala combined an extensive interview with Kirsti Metusala together with images of lamps which her designs contributed to. The research and work continued through various forms by a process of constant composing, visualising, and unpacking of new elements.

Images by Sander van Wettum

Kumu Reiv 2022

Identity for Kumu REIV 2022, an international art and music event taking place in the Kumu Art Museum. The annual event brings together local and international musicians, performers and artists, each year focusing on different world regions and styles. Photography by Kertin Vasser.

Offspring 2021: Always Hallways
De Ateliers Amsterdam

Exhibition Always Hallways marks the end of years 2019-2021 participants’ working period at De Ateliers. Curated by Fadwa Naamna & Hilda Moucharrafieh. Participants: Rinella Alfonso, PHILTH HAUS, Brianna Leatherbury, Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia, Sarah Naqvi, Pedram Sazesh, Sophie Soobramanien, Nolwenn Vuillier, Vita Soul Wilmering, Emiel Zeno. Custom typeface and graphic identity based on celebration (after numerous lockdowns) and the architecture of the residency programme.

Kumu Reiv 2021

Identity for Kumu REIV 2021, an international art and music event taking place in the Kumu Art Museum. The annual event brings together local and international musicians, performers and artists, each year focusing on different world regions and styles.

Up All Night: Looking Closely at Rave Culture
Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, 2021

Catalog and identity for exhibition Up All Night: Looking Closely at Rave Culture at Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn. Curated by Kati Ilves. The exhibition takes a look at rave and club culture and related subcultures. The rave, which has become a cultural phenomenon in its own right, is examined both in the context of its beginnings - the 1980s and 1990s - and in the context of today. In addition to internationally recognized artists such as Jeremy Deller or The Otolith Group, the legendary Berghain doorman Sven Marquardt is also included in the exhibition.

Beneath a Known Sky
Exhibition at ARS Showroom gallery, Tallinn 2021.

The work Beneath a Known Sky was made by Maureen Marck during a residency at ARS Keraamikakeskus in February and March earlier this year. She worked with sinisavi (blue clay) from Aseri, which is usually sourced for bricks. Inspired by modes of manual activation of and manual contact with objects, around 300 modular pieces were formed by hand. Four different shapes can be combined in several ways to build unknown structures with. The installation came with a small folded publication in which Maureen brings together different research sources.

Nobody Expected There Would Be Much Discussion About It – Synchronic Cinema, Location 1
Window display at When Site Lost the Plot, Amsterdam 2021.

From Gorbachev to Vernor Panton, call in to meet Ott Metusala’s grandmother Kirsti, a member of an anonymous design team in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. In “Nobody Expected There Would Be Much Discussion About It,” artists Ott and Kirsti Metusala will bring you to the Tallinn Experimental Plant Estoplast, Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1973.Through one-to-one discussions I took the viewer/listener to the year when Estoplast factory production was at its peak moment. In that year they launched more than 30 new designs and altered older models. The discussion on the soviet modernist discourse was based on handmade sketches of lighting fixtures made by Kirsti Metusala. Synchronic Cinema is a series of works with (dis)placed narrators, presented over the duration of 2021. The physical works are shown in the gallery, with online stories appearing on our website.

Images by Franzi Mueller Schmidt.

Soft Delay
Initiated by Mitchell Thar and supported by AFK (Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst), 2021.

The exhibition Soft Delay brings together a group of artists working in Amsterdam. Taking place in Broedplaats de Vlugt/GOLEB, the works relate to space(s) in transition: this is through different tempo(ralitie)s, forms and relations. In January 2021, the installation was built up in the former Van Eesteren Museum space: in keeping with the current COVID-19 regulations, the exhibition has been re-contextualized for online—after a period between the installation and the making of the website. In order to offer more possibilities for younger artists to publish their work, I started a small publishing action (as OTT) for the the exhibition handout with texts and work of the contributing artists. Contributions by Sara Campos, Alina Lupu, Ayako Nishibori, Toby Paul, Temra Pavlovic, Dorian de Rijk, Michelle Son, caner teker, Josje Peters & Mitchell Thar. Printed by Joos Wiersinga (offset), Terry Bleu (risograph) and Ott Metusala (laserprint).

Visit website of Soft Delay

Post–The Poster
Exhibition at
Onomatopee, Eindhoven 2020.

Postering, as an act of resistance, has been much discussed in graphic culture and is considered in oblivion for the youngest generations who turn viral by the likes of their secluded scenes, in the comfort of their own bedrooms. What do posters serve for us in this growing digital era? If we love the poster for its communicative strength, then how can this analogue tool bring people together, beyond purely the likes? My contribution to the exhibition is a collection of various materials, (left-over) shapes and revealed design structures used in the Ancient Near East area to share knowledge and communicate. In opposition to the precarious situation of the poster I intend to highlight the value of the physical form and where could we push it ourselves in the future in response to the changes in the function of the poster as a communicative tool.

Initiated by Roosje Verschoor (2020)

The photo book Moengo! shows the past and present of the post-colonial and post-industrial town of Moengo (Suriname) through photos taken by eleven young residents of Moengo in collaboration with photographer Roosje Verschoor. Context to the photos is provided in the book by means of archival material (a series of archive photos of the mining in Moengo) and texts. The book is designed as a map-like walkthrough of the town of Moengo as a numbered and commented index of a subjective route. A fold-out map has been glued in: an artist impression by the Surinamese artist Kenny van Genderen. On each page is a silver line that divides the page into two columns, as Moengo was originally divided by population group. The color bronze has been used to symbolize bauxite, which was mined in Moengo, and the color silver to symbolize aluminum extracted from the bauxite. The book has a structure that runs from 'the town and its inhabitants' - 'tradition' - 'architecture and design' - 'mining' - 'economic conditions' to 'the visit to the staff village'. The texts in the book were written by Roosje Verschoor and the young photographers from Moengo. Nominated as one of Best Dutch Book Designs 2020 (Student Selection).

A-tishoo, A-tishoo, We All Fall Down

Identity for a group exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM). Curated by KKEK (Marika Agu, Maria Arusoo, Kaarin Kivirähk, Sten Ojavee). Artists: Ivana Bašić, Pakui Hardware, Anu Juurak, Jussi Kivi, Raul Keller, Johanna Maria Parv, Hanna Samoson, Emilija Škarnulytė, Peeter Ulas, Brit Pavelson & Sissela Jensen, Aaloe-Ader-Flo-Künnap-Soosalu, Mare Tralla, Üle Prahi.

Fifteen Plates

Theses collection from the graduating students from the TxT Department of Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

Trial and Error
by Reinis Lismanis

Texts by Christos Hadjioannou, Reinis Lismanis, Paulius Petraitis and Ilaria Speri. Published by Skinnerboox, 2019.

If You Only Could See What I've Seen With Your Eyes
by Katja Novitskova.

Posters and website for the estonian pavilion at 57th Venice Biennale. Curated by Kati Ilves. Commisioned by CCA Estonia.

If You Only Could See What I've Seen With Your Eyes
by Katja Novitskova.

Publication for the estonian pavilion at 57th Venice Biennale. Curated by Kati Ilves. Commisioned by CCA Estonia.

If Only You Could See What I’ve See With Your Eyes Stage 2

Edited by Kati Ilves, Katja Novitskova. Texts by Kati Ilves, Jaak Tomberg, Toke Lykkeberg. Published by KUMU Art Museum.

Nobody Expected There Would Be Much Discussion About It

Edited and designed by Ott Metusala. Texts by Ott Metusala, Kai Lobjakas. Published in collaboration with ETDM and Lugemik, 2016. Photos by Anu Vahtra

This book documents the work of my grandmother Kirsti Metusala at the Tallinn Experimental Plant Estoplast. It was a factory mainly producing plastic lamps which were highly popular throughout the Soviet Union.

Nobody Expected There Would Be Much Discussion About It

Project display at group exhibition Manifolds in Kunsthalle Charlottenborg, Copenhagen. In collaboration with ETDM and Lugemik, 2016

Schulz & Weise
by Franziska Schulz and Charlott Weise

Exhibition identity for Schulz&Weise at W139 (Amsterdam), 2019.

Publication: Edited by Franziska Schulz, Charlott Weise and Ott Metusala. Text by Tiziana La Melia. Published on the occasion of Schulz&Weise exhibition at W139 (Amsterdam), 2019.

Ascending From the Liquid Horizon

Publication: Edited by Kati Ilves. Texts by Patrick Gyger, Bas Hendrikx, Kati Ilves, Nat Muller, Jaak Tomberg. Published by CURA.BOOKS, le lieu unique and KUMU Art Museum, 2018.

Exhibition identity for a group show in le lieu unique (Nantes, FR), 2018. Curated by Kati Ilves. Artists: Sol Archer, Joey Holder, Katja Novitskova, Kristina Ollek, Norman Orro, Anni Puolakka and Jaakko Pallasvuo, Laura Pold, Nicholas Riis, Taavi Suisalu, Vello Vinn, Simon Wald-Lasowski, Guan Xiao.

Dawn of the Swarm
by Merike Estna

Compiled and edited by Merike Estna, Evelyn Raudsepp. Texts by Maria Arusoo, Andrew Berardini. Published by Lugemik, 2018.

You Have Become The Space
by Ingel Vaikla

Compiled and edited by Laura Toots Texts by Angelique Campens, Chiara Guidi, Laura Linsi & Roland Reemaa, Laura Toots. Published by Lugemik and EKKM, 2018.

You Have Become The Space
by Ingel Vaikla

Exhibition identity for Ingel Vaiklaʼs first solo exhibition You Have Become the Space in the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM), 2018. Scenography by Laura Linsi and Roland Reemaa.

A Room Now Guests in Its Roomness
Direction and concept by Studio Márk Redele, 2019

A commision driven, periodical edition that develops a vision of an extended field of architecture. Contributions by Ott Metusala,Michiel de Cleene, Nicolò Scatola and Márk Redele. Photographs of the object are directed and made by Fan Liao.


Documentation poster about the self-initiated research on the pantograph tool and how the programmaric shifts in scale (through the hands of the user) enabled by the mechanism encouraged an understanding of the alphabet as a flexible system divorced from its calligraphic original. Produced for Suva Type Foundry (Tallinn), 2018.

Failed to Sync

Exhibition promo for Failed to Sync Punt WG (Amsterdam), 2016. curated by Anna Frijstein. Artists: Dovilė Aleksandravičiūtė, Dina Danish, Anna Frijstein, Lieven Lahaye, Cindy Moorman.

Heaviness of Things and Stuff
by Lieven Lahaye.

The Best Dutch Book Designs 2015, Student Jury.

Constructed Languages

Object about artificially built language systems and their designed functions. The outcome is presented as a series of engraved and colored brass plates, referencing to the Voyager Golden Records that were included aboard both Voyager spacecrafts (1977). Produced in edition of 6, 2017.

Dawn Mission
by Katja Novitskova

Edited by Bettina Steinbrügge.Texts by by Lucy Chinen, Nora N. Khan, Venus Lau, Katja Novitskova, Tobias Peper, Bettina Steinbrügge, Agatha Wara. Published in conjunction with the exhibition Katja Novitskova - Dawn Mission at Kunstverein in Hamburg. April 23–July 3, 2016. Images by Mousse Publishing.

Flyer for group show Clean Music in Kunstbunker, Düsseldorf. Curated by Mitchell Thar

Throat and Column
by Claudia Pages

Index for the project Untitled A2 by artist Mitchell Thar