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Collection highlights

Exhibition Views 2009

November 27, 2009 – April 11, 2010, Kumu Art Museum, Great Hall 
An overview exhibition of the trends and different ideologies of Estonian Pop Art since the late 1960s. The exhibition focuses on the powerful coming of Pop Art into the Soviet cultural sphere and its continual mutations through several generations of artists until the present day.

Curator of the exhibition: Sirje Helme

October 16, 2009 – January 10, 2010, Kumu Art Museum, 3rd floor, B-wing 
Normandy holds a significant position in the history of modern art. In the beginning of the 19th century, the region became a place of interest for artists whose work heralded the birth of modern art – Impressionism and Fauvism. Normandy was the meeting point of the best French landscape painters. Inspired by the local landscape, reflections of light and shimmering air, the artists tried to express universal truths through captivating, fleeting impressions. To create, one had to paint en plein air, to explore the sparkles on the coastal waters and the hues of inland Normandy, the sea and the sky. The artists searched for sources of creative inspiration from Trouville and Dieppe, Ėtretat and Rouen, Le Havre and the banks of the Seine. In the paintings carried out in these same locations and under the very eyes of the observer – Impressionism is born.

Curator of the exhibition in the Kumu Art Museum: Tiina Abel

October 2, 2009 – March 28, 2010, Kumu Art Museum, 4th floor, B-wing 
The exhibition introduces Harro Koskinen's (born in 1945 in Turku) work from his Pop Art period. Harro was one of the wittiest and most sharp-sighted artists in Finland in the 1960s and the 1970s, and his artistic production caused active opposition both by the conservative public and the bodies of power. Harro's criticism aimed at the middle-class life style irritated censors and judges alike.

Curator of the exhibition: Mia Haltia (Turku Art Museum)

September 11, 2009 – January 17, 2010, Kumu Art Museum, Contemporary art gallery 
I Love Malmö introduces the Malmö Art Museum collection, one of the largest and most remarkable in Sweden (outside Stockholm) primarily because of the museum's policy of focusing on Nordic art. The exhibition was conceived, and the works selected, by Kumu curators Eha Komissarov and Maria-Kristiina Soomre, who sought the particularities of Nordic art through its more famous narratives. Kumu shows the work of 49 artists and groups, most of whom are internationally acclaimed and have significantly influenced the developments of contemporary art.

Curators of the exhibition: Eha Komissarov and Maria-Kristiina Soomre

June 19 – November 1, 2009, Kumu Art Museum, Great Hall 
Even at the present time, the creation of Ülo Õun (1940–1988) seems exceptional in Estonian art. He has influenced a whole generation of Estonian sculptors, although he has never worked as a teacher. Ülo Õun introduced excitement, passion and confusion into the Estonian art exhibition, traits which nobody associated with sculpture – regarded as the most boring form of art – in the quickly changing art life of the era. He brought something substantially new to Estonian sculpture in the 1970s: a friendly grotesque, which was expressed both in the portraits of the sculptor and in his figural free creation.

Curator of the exhibition: Juta Kivimäe

April 17 – October 4, 2009, Kumu Art Museum, 3rd floor, B-wing 
In April 2005, the Estonian Committee in Stockholm presented the Art Museum of Estonia with a significant part of Eduard Wiiralt's legacy – 323 engravings, 919 drawings and sketches, 84 engraving plates and, in addition, an archive of the artist's diaries, correspondence, photos, documentation, books, exhibition catalogues and journalistic material reflecting the reception of his works.

Curator of the exhibition: Mai Levin

May 16 – September 27, 2009, Kumu Art Museum, Courtyard 
Mindaugas Navakas (born 1952) as a sculptor – an architect of capacities and spaces – has always been into a postmodernist dialogue, developed in the process of restructuring between a chosen environment (public, institutional or alternative) and associative cultural meanings and active plastic capacities of his artwork. In it there lies an amalgamation of metaphysical threat, existential anxiety and playfulness, accompanied by irony. Every time he confronts challenges of a creative or production-based nature, the author seeks for "a bit of fun for himself".

The exhibition was compiled by Elona Lubytė, the curator of the contemporary sculpture collection of the Lithuanian Art Museum.

May 29 – September 20, 2009, Kumu Art Museum, 4th floor, B-wing 
After the 1956 'thaw', avant-garde art was tolerated in Poland, and the Foksal Gallery was one of its most important strongholds from its founding in 1966. The gallery remains active and regularly organises exhibitions; it also has a large archive documenting its activities to date. The exhibition We See You. The Activities of Foksal Gallery 1966–1989 presents documentation of the gallery's major events, which have become part of the history of Polish art, and a collection of works donated by artists after their exhibitions.

Curator of the exhibition: Karolina Labowicz-Dymanus (Galeria Foksal)

May 16 – August 23, 2009, Kumu Art Museum, Contemporary art gallery 
The exhibition State of Affairs at the Contemporary Art Gallery of the Kumu Art Museum assembles the most notable artists' works in Estonian contemporary art and its immediate sphere. A crisis is running rampant around us; the government is probing the limits of its actual existence; values are being reassessed; radical measures are being implemented; resources are being cut and taxes increased – nothing is as before. Without meddling in day-to-day politics, it is also time for the current state of affairs on the modern art front to be reviewed and for works that are appropriate for the times to be taken out of repositories and artists' back rooms, and to be lifted onto a virtual pedestal in the exhibition hall.

Curators of the exhibition: Eha Komissarov and Maria-Kristiina Soomre

May 16 – August 23, 2009, Kumu Art Museum, Contemporary art gallery 
The exhibition by the US contemporary artist Paul McCarthy and Benjamin Weissman, an author of horror stories, is comprised of works created cooperatively by the two artists in 1997–2008. The works were completed during conversations between the two men, in which they handed the drawings back and forth across the table and each made their additions. The title,Quilting Sessions refers to the informality of the cooperation and the connection between the subconscious and free expression that became possible thanks to improvisation and repetition.

March 13 – May 17, 2009, Kumu Art Museum, 4th floor, B-wing 
The starting point of the exhibition is the traditional easel painting portrait of the artist. The other themes arise from the desire for presentability. A separate subdivision was born from works that spring out of the idea of analogy and repetition. Although Paul Burman and Johannes Saal may have felt greater interest in the changing conditions and tempers of the self because of the heightened sensitivity caused by their illnesses, the designation "manic" doesn't necessarily arise from illness or unhealthy egocentricity. In several cases it is, rather, derived from the extreme amount of work and time sacrificed to art. What often characterises the choices of artists from different time periods is that the self is used above all as the handiest model, or as a tool, either to keep in shape or to perform uncomfortable actions.

Curator of the exhibition: Kädi Talvoja

March 1 – April 26, 2009, Kumu Art Museum, Contemporary art gallery 
Ars Fennica is a Finnish art award that has been given out since 1991 by the Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation to foster Finnish fine arts and to build international contacts. The competition will be held in two parts: the award committee of the Foundation will name the candidates and an international art expert selected by the committee will choose the award winner from among the candidates. This year, the winner of the award will be chosen by Hou Hanru, a Chinese critic and curator working in the San Francisco Art Institute.

February 6 – May 31, 2009, Kumu Art Museum, Grand Hall 
Floromania is an exhibition devoted to flowers, to the love of flowers, and to interest in botany throughout the centuries. Above all, artists have been attracted to the beauty of flowers, and thus flowers have been painted as a part of still-lifes, and on products of applied art; flower motifs have been carved into stone and added as illustrations in scientific editions.

Curator of the exhibition: Tiina Abel

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