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Collection highlights

Press Materials 2019

November 2, 2019–March 8, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
The social contexts of Silvia Jõgever’s and Kadi Estland’s works are very different but the issues that are dealt with create telling dialogues. Both authors’ works deal with women, what surrounds them and shapes their lives, and the environments that affect women and their choices. The works of art at the exhibition are partly absurd but always emphatic; they sometimes contain elements of self-portraiture and deal with problematic relationships between the individual and the society. In the works of these artists-anglers, complexities and problems from the deep currents of society have been caught and made more visible.

Curator: Eda Tuulberg


October 11, 2019–March 29, 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.
The exhibition consists of works by three artists who, despite working in different media and completely dissimilar aesthetics, speak somewhat similar languages. The art practices of Edith Karlson, Eva Mustonen and Mary Reid Kelley can, in the broadest terms, be characterised as narrative art that uses fiction as a method. In their works, this takes the form of allegorical, autobiographical or mythological narratives and is also manifested through the creation of strong characters (people as well as objects) and mostly dramatic events. In other words, all three artists are essentially type-wise storytellers who use both words and visual images, often combining the two, to tell their stories.
The exhibition, mixing well-known pieces by the artists with their newest works, stretches out in front of the viewer as a loosely integrated set of stories, gradually unfolding through four keywords which play with ideas related to openness, entry or border: “monster”, “body”, “home” and “explosion”.

Curator: Triin Tulgiste


September 19, 2019–January 26, 2020, Kumu Art Museum 
The exhibition focuses on Lisa Reihana’s powerful video work In Pursuit of Venus, which represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale in 2017. The point of departure for In Pursuit of Venus is formed by the visual materials of the 19th century and the colonialist view of nature and colonial populations. Similar examples exist in the Baltic-German pictorial legacy.

Curators: Kadi Polli, Eha Komissarov and Linda Kaljundi


22.08.-05.01.2020 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.
Maire Männik participated in art exhibitions organised by exile Estonians from 1946 until late in her life. In 2002, she was awarded the Order of the White Star, 5th class, for her work promoting Estonia in Paris.

Curator: Juta Kivimäe


August 7–August 31, 2019, Valga Museum 
The Art Museum of Estonia will be touring the country with a travelling exhibition of valuable 17th to 21st century artworks from its collection. The display illustrates the development of artistic genres and motifs in time and space, compares and contrasts works from different eras, and includes examples of portrait, landscape and genre painting. Visitors can admire the artists’ interpretations of daily activities and family occasions, as well as their depictions of urban environments and light. In the selection of artworks, classics have been mixed with modern pieces and foreign art with the local Estonian art. Exhibition includes works of Felix Randel who was born in Valga.

Curator: Eha Komissarov


July 5-November 10, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
On the occasion of the centenary of the Art Museum of Estonia, an examination of the museum’s collection will be organised in the Kumu’s Great Hall, the geographic and temporal dimensions of which extend from the international to the local, from the Middle Ages to the present day. All of the popular approaches to art history owe their emergence to the museum. But what happens when artists intervene and provide their own versions of an era, a work or a movement, when an artist functions as a curator?

Curator: Eha Komissarov


May 17–October 27, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
When they were in disfavour during the Soviet era, the literary figures Elo and Friedebert Tuglas found refuge in their garden: gardening helped alleviate their bitterness. The photographic artist Tanja Muravskaja searched in the garden of the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre for the Tuglas’s presence and the meaning of the garden exile today.

Curator: Elnara Taidre


May 3–September 15, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
The saturnine style of the American fashion designer Rick Owens and the creative work of the Estonian grotesque-rapper Tommy Cash share a fascination with the destructive and slightly deformed body. Diabolical in fashion shows and shocking in music videos, this neo-goth trend is represented at the exhibition by Rick Owens’ exceptional costumes and Tommy Cash’s videos, complemented by new works that unite the practices of the two artists.

Curator: Kati Ilves


April 13.–June 2, 2019, Haapsalu Townhall 
The Art Museum of Estonia will be touring the country with a travelling exhibition of valuable 17th to 21st century artworks from its collection. The display illustrates the development of artistic genres and motifs in time and space, compares and contrasts works from different eras, and includes examples of portrait, landscape and genre painting. Visitors can admire the artists’ interpretations of daily activities and family occasions, as well as their depictions of urban environments and light. In the selection of artworks, classics have been mixed with modern pieces and foreign art with the local Estonian art. One of the contemporary artists participating in the exhibition is Elis Saareväli, from Haapsalu.

Curator: Eha Komissarov


April 12–August 25, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
A retrospective of the work of the Latvian artist Gustav Klucis (1895–1938), one of the greats of Constructivist and Russian agitprop art. The exhibition provides a survey of the artist’s experimental work, which employed innovative graphic design and photo montage in the service of both propaganda and the avant-garde.

Curator: Iveta Derkusova (Latvian National Museum of Art)


March 15–August 4, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
Sots art developed in Moscow in the early 1970s, when for the first time in the history of unofficial art, artists drew inspiration from previously despised Soviet visual culture. During the later years of perestroika, the ironic Soviet style unexpectedly blossomed in East European fashion.

Curator: Liisa Kaljula


February 22-June 8, 2019, Kumu Art Museum 
Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978) was an American conceptual artist, who fundamentally changed the understanding of architecture. His site-specific works revealed the chaos and anarchy behind the seeming order of the urban space. Anu Vahtra’s project in the Kumu Art Museum courtyard is inspired by Matta-Clark’s activities.

Curators: Sergio Bessa (The Bronx Museum of the Arts), Jessamyn Fiore (Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark) and Anu Allas


 
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