Publications by Kumu 2016

Between the Archive and Architecture. Neeme Külm, Krista Mölder and Taavi Talve

72dpi esikaas Arhiivi ja arhitektuuri vahelThe catalogue accompanies the exhibition “Between the Archive and Architecture. Neeme Külm, Krista Mölder and Taavi Talve” at the Kumu Art Museum (17.09.2016–19.02.2017). Neeme Külm, Krista Mölder and Taavi Talve work mainly in Tallinn, and they all use different media in their art. All three artists share a common focus on space, on the various ways of experiencing it and the possible ways of approaching it.

Neeme Külm (1974) is an installation artist whose art is characterised by site-specific works that manipulate space.

Krista Mölder (1972) is an artist whose works are mainly camera-based. Her highly sensitive and detailed approach brings out the cognitive and poetic qualities of the environments she captures.

Taavi Talve (1970) has been active in the media-critical art group Johnson ja Johnson, and has made use of archival and referential source material in his solo works before.

“Space is a doubt: I have constantly to mark it, to designate it.” (G. Perec)

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Conductors of Colour. Music and Modernity in Estonian Art

72dpi_esikaas_varvide_dirigendidWritten by Bart C. Pushaw
Designed by Kätlin Tischler
136 pp.
In Estonian and English, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Kumu Art Museum
Tallinn 2016
ISBN 978-9949-485-58-1

This book accompanies an exhibition of the same name at the Kumu Art Museum (18.11.2016–27.08.2017). The man behind the idea for “Conductors of Colour: Music and Modernity in Estonian Art” is the young American art historian and curator Bart C. Pushaw. As a person who has for a while been interested in the art of Nordic and Baltic countries, he is fascinated by early 20th century Estonian art, the nature of our visual culture and our archetypes. The subject matter of the exhibition and the book thus stems from one of the more powerful narratives in Estonian mythology and Estonia’s international image: Estonia as a country of music, singing and song festivals. The outsider’s view of Estonia is often honest and fresh, bringing new breezes to locally established ideas and shining new light on familiar topics. “Conductors of Colour”, which looks at the classics of Estonian art through the prism of music and sound, leaving aside the usual chronological approach, as well as the issues of nationalism and style. Under such subtopics as “Coloursounds”, “Musicians and Modesty”, “Ancient Sounds”, “Singing Landscapes”, “Jazz” and so on, the book accompanying the display offers a variety of subjective, inventive and emotional image analyses, which deal with the melodious allegories of form and colour as well as opening up the sociocultural context of the included works of art.

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Cold Look. Variations of Hyperrealism in Estonian Art

EH_Kaaned_820x280+5mm.inddWritten by Anu Allas
Designed by Külli Kaats
96 pp.
In Estonian and English, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Kumu Art Museum
Tallinn 2016
ISBN 978-9949-485-53-6

The book accompanies the exhibition “ Cold Look. Variations of Hyperrealism in Estonian Art” at the Kumu Art Museum (13.05.–09.10.2016). The purpose of the exhibition and the book is not to serve as a comment on international photorealist art, but rather to study Estonian hyperrealist art as a separate phenomenon rooted in local circumstances and spatial experiences. In the middle of the 1970s, youth exhibitions in Estonia began to display works that were painted in a very realistic manner, but there seemed to be something different about them. The trend soon came to be called, appropriately, hyperrealism. It spread fast in youth art, and in a short time acquired the significance of a school of art. The imitation of photographic two-dimensional depiction and the novel choice of motifs brought a completely different experience of viewing art into realism-loving Estonia. At first glance, this art seems particular and representational but, on closer inspection, it is clear that it abandons reality and uses mediated and processed information instead, becoming surprisingly mundane and somewhat bleak, as well as distanced from the romantic artist’s position.

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Kumu Hits. Contemporary Art from the Collection of the Art Museum of Estonia

Kumu_hitid_kaaned_FINAL_FINAL.inddEdited and written by Kati Ilves, Eha Komissarov and Annika Räim
Designed by Indrek Sirkel
138 pp.
In Estonian and English, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Kumu Art Museum
Tallinn 2016
ISBN 978-9949-485-52-9

The exhibition and the catalogue “Kumu hits. Contemporary Art from the Collection of the Art Museum of Estonia” are based solely on works that belong to the museum (exhibition at Kumu Art Museum 08.04.–28.08.2016). The exhibition serves many purposes, and attempts to fulfil several tasks in cooperation with the viewer. Firstly, by mapping the contemporary art acquisitions made by the Art Museum of Estonia, the exhibition assumes the role of a guide, leading the viewer to processes and movements in the world of art that are often ambiguous. The acquisitions made by the museum reflect the dynamics of developments in art: the explosive increase in the use of new media and quiet periods of low tide, changes in trends, big hopes and vivid first appearances. By displaying works that have reached the “terminal station” of the art scene – the museum – the exhibition presents an overview of developments on the local art scene in the last few decades. Secondly, the viewer may look at the exhibition as an alternative exposition of Estonian contemporary art, and contemplate the choices the curators have made. Thirdly, with the help of the word “hit”, the exhibition serves as a mediator between art and the audience; the display includes contemporary classics, as well as a selection of less known works, and viewers are encouraged to become involved in making a selection of their own.

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Conflicts and Adaptations. Estonian Art in the Soviet Times (1940–1991)
The 4th-floor permanent exhibition of the Kumu Art Museum

untitledEdited and introduction written by Anu Allas
Texts by Anu Allas, Sirje Helme, Liisa Kaljula, Juta Kivimäe, Eha Komissarov, Anu Liivak and Elnara Taidre
Designed by Tuuli Aule
112 pp.
In English, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Kumu Art Museum
Tallinn 2016
ISBN 978-9949-485-51-2

The new permanent exhibition on the 4th floor of the Kumu Art Museum is the most extensive project undertaken by Kumu to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2016. The exhibition tries to map the developments and diversity of Soviet art, without pretending to present a strictly art-historical overview. In addition to actual works of art, the exposition includes abundant documentary material providing background information for those who have a deeper interest in a particular piece of art or a particular phenomenon.

This book has been compiled along the lines of the permanent exhibition’s main and side topics. For the sake of fluent reading, the book follows a more strict chronology than the exhibition, where certain spatial requirements have caused minor interruptions in the linear time axis, and some topics have been combined with one another, while others spread across several exhibition halls. In each subdivision, the most characteristic, interesting or intriguing works have been highlighted, and their contents and backgrounds have been explicated in more detail. The fact that the book has seven authors, and hence different types of texts, does make the overall impression somewhat fragmented, but it also highlights the fact that there are numerous ways of looking at and speaking of Soviet art.

Published also in Estonian:
Konfliktid ja kohandumised. Nõukogude aja Eesti kunst (1940–1991)
Kumu 4. korruse püsiekspositsioon
ISBN 978-9949-485-48-2

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Force majeure. The Destroyed and the Disappeared in Estonian Art

force_majeure_kaas_.inddWritten by Liis Pählapuu
Designed by Liina Siib
244 pp.
In Estonian, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Kumu Art Museum
Tallinn 2016
ISBN 978-9949-485-50-5

The book accompanies the exhibition “Force majeure. The Destroyed and the Disappeared in Estonian Art” at Kumu Art Museum (04.03.2016–26.06.2016).

In addition to the visible side of Estonian art, there is another, hidden one. It consists of individual works of art that have been destroyed or lost over time, and of whole periods of artists’ lives which have not been examined in detail. The fate of lost artworks has largely been determined by the force majeure of randomness and historical events. The surrounding reality has become part of the story of these objects. In the best cases, information about the works of art has reached us via old reproductions; however, the “black-and-white” history of art deserves more than just the acknowledgement of their loss. Our familiarity with Estonian artists and their oeuvre should not be limited to only the parts that have survived through the haphazard winds of history. Gathering fragments of information about the twilight area brings to light new facts about the lives of artists, the conditions they lived in, personal relationships with works of art, the role of various institutions in the choice of what to preserve and, naturally, the works of art themselves.

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Romantic and Progressive. Stalinist Impressionism in Estonian Painting in the 1940s−1950s

KAANED_KUMU_Stalinistlik_impressionism_849x280_5mm.inddWritten by Eha Komissarov
Designed by Kätlin Tischler
136 pp.
In Estonian and English, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Kumu Art Museum
Tallinn 2016

ISBN 978-9949-485-49-9The focus of this book is Estonian painting during the decades following World War II. The exhibition Romantic and Progressive. Stalinist Impressionism in Painting of the Baltic States in the 1940s−1950s at the Kumu Art Museum (22.01.–01.05.2016) also includes Latvian and Lithuanian art from the same period. In paintings from the Baltic countries, generally during this period, works that displayed an attitude typical of Stalinist Impressionism occupied a significant position, since they provided a self-realisation opportunity – although an illusory one in many ways –for the artists who had developed in the 1930s under the influence of the Late Impressionism of the “Paris School” and who now were suddenly confronted with the art policy of a totalitarian state.

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