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Collection highlights

Exhibition Views 2019

December 6, 2019–April 26, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
Starting in the second half of the 20th century, more attention started to be paid to the works of female artists throughout the world. Prior to that, for various historical and social reasons, the works of female artists had often been viewed as secondary. Therefore, far fewer works by female artists than by men were included in art collections or exhibitions. And yet, the biographies and creative paths of many female artists confirm that women have not necessarily been the passive victims of social conditions, but have created opportunities for self-development. They have used art to express their ways of experiencing the world. By examining various themes and eras, the Kumu exhibition provides a survey of female artists’ areas of activity and the changes that occurred in their self-awareness and living environments between the mid-19th century and the 1950s.

Curators: Tiina Abel and Anu Allas
Exhibition design: b210 Architects
Graphic designer: Aadam Kaarma

November 1, 2019–March 8, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
The project space on the 4th floor of Kumu is a mobile extension of the permanent display of Soviet Estonian art. One of its intents is to create a dialogue between artists from different generations. On this occasion, the exhibition in the project space focusses on the oeuvre of the Tartu art teacher and artist Silvia Jõgever (1924–2005) created in the 1960s and 1970s.
The two different contexts – the Soviet era and the present day – are bridged by the oeuvre of Kadi Estland (1973). Estland’s politically charged absurdist images and works, in which she has appropriated and redefined the tranquil and traditional world of historical embroidery patterns, have a kind of therapeutic effect.

Curator: Eda Tuulberg Designer: Kadi Estland

October 11,2019–June 28, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
The title of the exhibition is a quote taken from the legendary Estonian TV series Õnne 13 (translates directly as “13 Happiness Street”): this is how the shoemaker Johannes, a classically jovial and wise old man, used to greet any guest knocking on his door. This essentially friendly utterance expresses openness and hospitality even before the host has seen the newly arrived acquaintance or stranger. Today, years after the TV series became a classic, such trust in the unknown seems unexpectedly relevant, almost like a political statement, and is therefore worth recalling. But, within the context of this exhibition, it is also an absurd invitation: you are asked without any guarantee whatsoever to enter a distorted-mirror environment which is rooted in things mundane or personal and aims to take a more general stand on contemporary neuroses and tensions.

Curator: Triin Tulgiste
Designer: Arthur Arula
Graphic designer: Tuuli Aule

September 19, 2019–January 6, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
It is virtually impossible to overestimate the importance of images in the history of colonialism. The start of the colonial conquest of new territories coincided with the invention of the art of printing: Columbus reached America in 1492 and Gutenberg had invented the printing press in the 1440s. The art of printing made the written word accessible to wide audiences, and it also meant an explosion in the spread of images on a global level. The images not only reflected and described the course of conquests and novel territories and their peoples, but also actively participated in conceptualising these and creating stereotypes of the “Other”, thus contributing to the belief in a radical difference between primitive natives and civilised Europeans. An emphasis on cultural differences helped to justify both the conquests and the domination of Europeans over native populations. Thus, images of the colonial territories tellingly highlight the close ties of visual culture with power.

Curators: Linda Kaljundi, Eha Komissarov, Kadi Polli
Design and graphic design: AKSK

August 23, 2019–Januray 5, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
Maire-Helve Männik (1922–2003) was one of the most outstanding Estonian sculptors to have worked abroad during the decades after World War II. She was a member of the French Union of Sculptors (Syndicat national des sculpteurs statuaires professionnels créateurs), as well as the International Art Medal Federation (Fédération Internationale de la Médaille d’Art – FIDEM). In Paris in 1952, she made the acquaintance of Ossip Zadkine, an internationally renowned modernist sculptor. From 1953 to 1956 she studied with Zadkine at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and between 1950 and 1960 her works appeared repeatedly at the innovative, open-air Le Salon de la Jeune Sculpture exhibitions.

Curator: Juta Kivimäe
Designer: Isabel Aaso-Zahradnikova
Graphic designer: Külli Kaats

July 5–November 10, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
The curator sent invitations to participate to 25 Estonian and international artists, who have helped celebrate the centennial of the Art Museum of Estonia by creating added value and a more diverse cultural context for the museum’s collection with their own works. The exhibition is meant to inspire a dialogue between contemporary artists and artistic heritage and to highlight the increasing role of contemporary art in the formation of new art historical concepts.

Curator: Eha Komissarov
Designer: Neeme Külm
Graphic designer: Tuuli Aule

May 17–October 27, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
The exhibition combines a Soviet-era photo archive with a contemporary photographic research. The starting points for the exhibition were the photo records of the home garden of the writer Friedebert Tuglas and his wife, Elo Tuglas, which are both aesthetically and contextually fascinating source materials. The photo representation of the Tuglas garden (which currently belongs to the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre), the garden itself, and the garden as a general symbol have been examined in the period 2016 to 2019 by Tanja Muravskaja through various methods of contemporary photographic art.

Curator: Elnara Taidre
Designer: Villu Plink
Graphic designer: Külli Kaats

May 3–September 15, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
The exhibition at the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn displays both the individual works of Tommy Cash and Rick Owens, as well as their jointly executed artworks for the show. Although different in practice and background, Cash’s and Owens’s interests overlap considerably.

Curator: Kati Ilves
Designers: Mihkel Ilus, Tõnu Narro and Anna Tumaini
Graphic designer: Tuuli Aule

April 12–August 25, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
During the First World War, dozens of young Latvian artists attended art schools in Russia and fought in riflemen units. Those who returned to their homeland are known today as the generation of Latvian modernists.
Gustav Klucis (1895—1938), after the October Revolution of 1917, decided to stay in Soviet Russia, and therefore he is recognized internationally as one of the leading Russian avant-garde artists, the co-creator of Constructivism and a pioneer of photomontage.

Curator: Iveta Derkusova (Latvian National Museum of Art)
Designer: Terje Kallast-Luure
Graphic design: Mari Kaljuste

March 15–August 4, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
Can the Soviet era provide inspiration for art and fashion? Could the Eastern Europe that emerged after the fall of the Iron Curtain have its own post-Soviet chic? The exhibition Sots Art and Fashion brings together two original art movements that emerged in the region and that have generated considerable international interest: the Sots Art of the 1970s and 1980s in visual arts and the post-Soviet aesthetic of the 2010s in fashion. What unites them is a search for inspiration from local histories, and their symbolic and material legacy, whether a red star, a flower-patterned smock or the Berlin Wall.

Curator: Liisa Kaljula
Designers: Raul Kalvo and Helen Oja
Graphic designer: Tuuli Aule

February 22–June 8, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
The starting point of the exhibition is the show Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect, which was originally arranged in 2017 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, and was later on display at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and at the David Zwirner Gallery in London. Kumu’s version of the exhibition was created in dialogue with the Estonian artist Anu Vahtra.
The American artist Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978) became known for his radical urban spatial practices, which fundamentally changed our understanding of the role of architecture in the lives of people today. Matta-Clark belonged to the artistic community centred on the alternative art space at 112 Green Street and the restaurant FOOD in SoHo, and he created the concept “anarchitecture” (a conflation of the words “anarchy” and “architecture”). “Anarchitecture” referred to the creative practice that involved shifts, voids and non-places in the urban space.
Anu Vahtra (1982)is interested in spatial and architectural environments, including specific aspects of gallery and museum spaces. Through barely perceptible shifts and changes, her installations reveal the usually unnoticeable parts of rooms. At the Kumu exhibition, Vahtra has created an installational environment for Matta-Clark’s works based on the design of the preceding exhibition in the Great Hall, Wild Souls. The vertical cuts in temporary walls reflect Matta-Clark’s architectural interventions, revealing the underlying spatial structure within the walls and all six pillars of the hall from one vantage point.

Curators: Sergio Bessa (the Bronx Museum of the Arts), Jessamyn Fiore (the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark) and Anu Allas (the Kumu Art Museum)
Designer: Anu Vahtra
Graphic designer: Indrek Sirkel

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