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Collection highlights

Exhibition Views 2020

August 28, 2020–February 21, 2021, Kumu Art Museum  
Ado Vabbe’s (1892–1961) diverse oeuvre is presented through its various themes in the largest overview exhibition ever of his works. Vabbe is mainly known for the avant-garde works of his youth, which constantly transformed and developed. These were raised in the 1920s to the pinnacle of the forming Estonian art life by the members of the literary group Siuru, many of whose books were illustrated by Vabbe. The writer August Gailit called him a passionate cornet who dancingly walked at the head of the echelon.
The career of the young artist, who had first shown his works at an exhibition in 1914, went ever upwards. He had the chance to study art in Munich and to supplement his artistic knowledge on a thrilling journey to Italy. During World War I, he lived in Moscow and St Petersburg, the centres of Russia’s artistic life, established himself as a fertile illustrator and was one of the founders of the Pallas Art Society in 1918. Vabbe’s knowledge of the new art trends of Europe was therefore not merely based on his reading material but because he had grown up in the middle of the teeming art world. After the birth of the Republic of Estonia, Vabbe was linked to the Pallas Art School and was a legendary teacher until its closing during the Soviet era. He taught many of the later luminaries of Estonian art: Karin Luts, Karl Pärsimägi, Elmar Kits, Endel Kõks et al.

Curators: Tiiu Talvistu and Mary-Ann Talvistu
Designer: Tõnis Saadoja
Graphic designer: Tuuli Aule

August 18–October 4, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
The coronavirus pandemic, which took the world by storm in the spring of 2020, has caused a crisis in our current way of life all over the globe: in addition to extensive restrictions on people’s movement, almost all public buildings (such as schools, theatres and art museums) had to be closed. The contemporary art gallery of Kumu was also forced to stop all planned exhibition activities; nevertheless, the museum’s inaccessibility to the public made the museum employees think of alternative practices and come up with new ideas.
The Kumu Art Museum set up a collaboration with the artist Flo Kasearu (born in 1985), whose earlier work had stood out for its responsive and poignant approach to people and institutions. Working mainly with performance, installation and video art, and by combining fact with fiction, the artist creates telling and timely images. In this project, she focussed on the museum as an autonomous ecosystem and examined the changes in the daily operation of the museum by recording the new daily routines of the museum’s most visible employees: invigilators.

Curator: Kati Ilves
Designer: Tõnu Narro
Graphic designer: Kätlin Tischler

May 22–September 13, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
From the earliest phases of Ando Keskküla’s (1950–2008) activity, two leading motifs can be observed, which seem to pursue him, thus forming the main poles of his art.
The first is the impact of the artificial environment and new technologies on our sense of reality, which, in the context of this exhibition, is called technodelia. The term, which is a creative combination of the concepts of technology and psychedelia, could in the context of Keskküla’s work define his exploration of how the technological tools for communication, seeing and perceiving alter both the ways of perceiving the world and the processes of subject formation.

Curator: Anders Härm
Designers: Anders Härm and Neeme Külm
Graphic designer: Tuuli Aule

February 14–August 9, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
The works of Vello Vinn (1939) form a noteworthy example of the oeuvre of an Estonian printmaker from the late 1960s and early 1970s, and they boast a holistic and emphatically unique image system. Vinn’s highly original visual world is grounded in his mastery of various printmaking techniques, delicate treatment of images and witty associations. The artist’s play with space and images, his ability to notice details and different levels of meaning offer the public unique viewing experiences. Besides playful images, his works present witty wordplay and warm absurd humour. Through original imagery, the artist has addressed all of the topical issues of his time, including global military conflicts, the environmental impact of a technology-centred world, and the estrangement accompanying urbanisation. He has done this through major philosophical generalisations which still ring true.

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

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