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Collection highlights

Exhibition Views 2015

December 11, 2015-February 28, 2016 
Ryoji Ikeda’s (b. 1966) exhibition project supersymmetry is the artist’s vision of the physical nature of our world.
Ikeda’s installation is based on the theory of supersymmetry, originating in particle physics.

Coordinator: Kati Ilves
Graphic design: Tuuli Aule

October 9, 2015-March 20, 2016, Kumu Art Museum 
Similarly to Estonian culture, professional Icelandic art has its roots in the mid-19th century. Since then, Icelandic art has mainly been influenced by literature, as can be seen from the works of Iceland’s most outstanding modernist painter, Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885–1972), as well as from the art of Erró (1934), who has acquired international fame working in surrealism, pop art, comic strips and science fiction. Those two artists provide an introduction to the display, which includes, for example, works by Björk (1965), who is known all over the world as a musician, and by Ólafur Elíasson (1967), an internationally renowned contemporary artist.

Curators: Norbert Weber and Halldór Björn Runólfsson
Designers: Eve Arpo and Grete Veskiväli
Graphic designer: Külli Kaats

September 11, 2015-February 17, 2016, Kumu Art Museum 
Ants Laikmaa (1866–1942) was one of the most colourful personalities in Estonian art history. From his multiple travels, he brought back a fresh look that supported his ambitious efforts aimed at enhancing cultural life in his homeland.

Curator: Liis Pählapuu
Designer: Liina Siib

August 13-December 31, 2015, Kumu Art Museum 
The early drawings of the printmaker couple Concordia Klar (1938–2004) and Peeter Ulas (1934–2008) predicted the growing interest in Surrealism in Estonian art in the 1960s and 1970s. These extraordinary early drawings were never developed into engravings, yet they are vital from the point of view of understanding the oeuvre of both artists.

Curator: Anne Untera
Designer: Inga Heamägi

July 3-November 11, 2015, Kumu Art Museum 
The exhibition is dedicated to the idea of closeness to reality, which was prevalent in the 19th century, with a focus on the oeuvre of influential Estonian artists who studied and worked at the Düsseldorf Art Academy: Eduard von Gebhardt, Eugen Dücker, Oskar Hoffmann, Paul Raud and others.

Curator: Tiina Abel
Designers: Mari Kurismaa and Tuuli Aule
Graphic designer: Tiit Jürna

May 29-September 13, 2015, Kumu Art Museum 
The exhibition brings together two artists who live on opposite sides of the globe: Raymond Pettibon from California and Marko Mäetamm from Estonia. It shows a divided world in a divided medium. Pettibon, like Marko Mäetamm who shows in the next door rooms, uses drawing and text.

Curator: Alistair Hicks
Designer: Mari Kurismaa
Graphic designer: Kätlin Tischler

May 15-August 30, 2015, Kumu Art Museum 
The group exhibition centres around the pioneer of Czech avant-garde photography, Jaromír Funke, who was an excellent example of a radical and constantly evolving artistic type. His works includes both Cubist experiments with form and “emotional photography”.

Curator: Antonín Dufek
Co-ordinator: Eha Komissarov
Designer: Tuuli Aule

April 17-August 16, 2015, Kumu Art Museum 
The point of departure is the exhibitions that took place in Tallinn and Tartu in 1966, in which the works daringly abandoned the official Soviet art canons and revealed new ideas and strategies for the art of that era: a spring exhibition by Tartu artists, the exhibition Painting. Graphic Art. Photography in the lobby of the Academy of Sciences library, a young artists’ exhibition in the Tallinn Art Hall, Ilmar Malin’s exhibition in the Art Salon, and an Elmar Kits exhibition at the Tartu Artists’ House. The combined effect of these exhibitions was a shifting of the boundary between what was permitted and prohibited in the art of the period, and a broader range of the kind of art that could be considered realist.

Curator: Anu Allas
Designer: Kaido Ole
Graphic design: Külli Kaats

March 20-August 9, 2015, Kumu Art Museum 
Exhibition in the Cabinet of Prints and Drawings of the Kumu Art Museum is a modest homage to Kazimir Malevich on the 100th anniversary of his iconic 20th-century painting Black Square. Without any pretensions to exhaustive treatment, it offers an intriguing and multifaceted selection of various interpretations of Black Square in the works of the artists of Estonia.

Curator: Elnara Taidre
Designers: Raul Kalvo and Helen Oja
Graphic design: Külli Kaats

March 13-June 7, 2015, Kumu Art Museum 
Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) was one of the few female artists in her time who dared to pursue untrodden paths. Based on the education she received from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, af Klint’s early creative years were spent painting naturalist landscapes and portraits; in time, she became increasingly more interested in alternative movements, such as spiritualism, theosophy and anthroposophy. The encompassing aim of her approach was to expand the understanding of the ties between humanity and the universe, and to convey unity that surpasses the visible, dual world. In the years 1906–1915 af Klint painted the central cycle of her oeuvre, The Paintings for the Temple, which is comprised of 193 works of art. Despite being an artist from Sweden, the periphery of the contemporary art world, Hilma af Klint’s works established the first landmarks in the history of abstract art. Unlike the other abstractionists, af Klint kept her work secret during her lifetime, as she felt that the audience was incapable of understanding her.

Curator: Iris Müller-Westermann
Coordinator: Liis Pählapuu
Designer: Tuuli Aule

February 20–May 10, 2015, Kumu Art Museum 
The exhibition deals with dark, Gothic themes in art and visual culture, and analyses their relationship with the world of beauty, advertising and glamour. Although Gothic culture is rooted in the Middle Ages, many of the art styles that came after it used Gothic and added new layers and concepts to it. This is true of Romanticism in particular, but also of art trends and subcultures of the 20th century. oday, Gothic can be seen as a platform from which various approaches that combine horror, beauty and supernatural phenomena have risen, along with its dissonant and ambivalent aesthetic code referring to carnal desires and complex psychological states.

Curator: Kati Ilves
Designers: Helen Oja and Raul Kalvo
Graphic design: Kaarel Nõmmik

January 30 - April 26, 2015, Kumu Art Museum
Printmaking is a field in which Estonian artists started to be noticed internationally as early as the 1930s and again starting in the 1960s, when, with its innovative spirit, it was the leading art form. If we do not include August Clara, who was active in the early 19th century and blended into Baltic German culture, the first Estonian graphic artists appeared in the second half of the 19th century and studied outside Estonia. In 1914 the Estonian Art Society founded the Tallinn School of Arts and Crafts (later called the State School of Arts and Crafts, the forerunner of today’s Estonian Academy of Arts), and in 1919 the Pallas School was founded in Tartu (as of 1924 the Higher Art School Pallas), which also educated graphic artists – each according to his/her objectives. The development of printmaking in this period has been dealt with thoroughly in Eesti kunsti ajalugu (History of Estonian Art) (vol. 1, II, 1977). However, it is one thing to read about art, another to see it in the original, to have the opportunity to experience its changes and to make comparisons between the different schools and individuals. Many know the name Eduard Wiiralt but, along with this printmaking genius, more than 80 other artists are represented in this exhibition, some of whom have found a worthy place in art history, while others are still awaiting research. Although printmaking is a reproductive art, pictures printed on paper are often treated carelessly, but fortunately at least single copies exists of some of the works exhibited here. Perhaps exhibition visitors will discover the charm of traditional printmaking techniques and learn to appreciate their complexity and mastery, and start to better understand this art form of a more metaphorical idiom than painting.

Exhibition curator: Mai Levin

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