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Collection highlights

Exhibition Views 2020

October 30, 2020– February 21, 2021, Kumu Art Museum 
Our senses are only capable of accessing a tiny part of the world we live in. The underlying nature of the universe, including unthinkably small actions which dictate the ways in which our world works, remains elusive. Thanks to new technological devices and scientific breakthroughs in physics, we are now more able than ever to understand the nature of this hidden realm.
But nature as described by modern physics often defies common sense: basic principles seem to contradict one another, language is utilised in unfamiliar ways, and seemingly complex theories are tested and proven possible. In recent years, CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, has fostered novel models of collaboration between the arts and science within the context of the lab. Artists are invited to spend time in the lab establishing significant dialogues with physicists, engineers and the staff of the laboratory, and they become members of the unique fundamental science community.
Breakthroughs in science have often inspired artists. This exhibition brings to the viewer interpretations by artists of the complex and intriguing field of particle physics. All of the works displayed originate from artist residencies at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Curators: Mónica Bello and José-Carlos Mariátegui
Designers: Mark Murphy and Tõnu Narro
Graphic design: Stuudio Stuudio and Thoghtful

October 10, 2020–March 21, 2021, Kumu Art Museum 
Estonia’s first major exhibition of ancient Egyptian art features objects that are thousands of years old from one of the world’s most important ancient Egyptian collections: the Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum) in Turin, Italy. Simultaneously with the exhibition at the Kumu Art Museum, the treasures of the Egyptian Museum will also be on display at the Amos Rex Art Museum in Helsinki. The large-scale joint project of the three museums provides a unique opportunity to discover the ancient world of ancient Egypt without having to travel very far.

Curator: Paolo Marini (Museo Egizio)
Co-curator: Jaanika Anderson (University of Tartu Museum)
Design: Valge Kuup Stuudio
Graphic design: Asko Künnap

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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