Published 16/10/2023 | 15:35

Konrad Mägi’s work is revealed from a new perspective at the Kumu Art Museum

Konrad Mägi. Pühajärv. 1918–1920. Eesti Kunstimuuseum. Foto: Stanislav Stepaško

As of 19 October, you can visit the exhibition Konrad Mägi in Close-up in the project room on the 3rd floor of the Kumu Art Museum, which reveals the works of the Estonian art classic based on the results of technical studies of his paintings.

Modern research techniques make it possible to reveal everything invisible to the naked eye. Thus, we can better understand the structure, painting technique and materials of each individual work of art and learn more about the artist’s handwriting. The exhibition at the Kumu Art Museum reveals the layers of Konrad Mägi’s paintings, including base drawings, overpaintings, corrections and changes that are not visible without technical enhancement. The exhibition includes the paintings Kasaritsa Landscape (1915‒1917), Ruins on Capri Island (1922‒1923) and Venice (1922‒1923), which can be compared to the x-ray photos made of them. On interactive screens, you will be able see how the artist’s paintings look under ultraviolet, infrared or side light.

The exhibition Konrad Mägi in Close-up, which has been organised in cooperation with the Konrad Mägi Foundation, is based on a master’s thesis by Darja Jefimova, a curator of the Art Museum of Estonia’s painting collection, which she defended in 2023 at the Estonian Academy of Arts. During the work process, approximately thirty paintings by Konrad Mägi were studied and documented. “The purpose of the technical studies was to identify Konrad Mägi’s materials and learn more about the nuances of his painting technique, and they can later be used by conservators when restoring Mägi’s works, as well as by art scholars in supplementing the history of the development of art practices at the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to the image studies displayed in the exhibition, various instrumental analyses were conducted within the framework of the research in order to find out which pigments Konrad Mägi had used,” explains Darja Jefimova, the exhibition curator.

Darja Jefimova will introduce the exhibition to art lovers on Thursday, 19 October at 6 pm. A short introduction will be followed by the presentation of Joonas Sildre’s Värviline Mägi (Coloured Mägi), a graphic novel about Konrad Mägi, in the Kumu Art Museum atrium.

To celebrate Konrad Mägi’s 145th birthday, the Konrad Mägi Foundation will be organising events throughout the month of October. On 12 October, an exhibition of hitherto unknown paintings by Konrad Mägi opened at the Estonian National Museum. On 31 October, the premiere of a Theatrum production based on the letters of Konrad Mägi will take place at the Estonian National Museum.

On 1 November, the artist’s 145th birthday, an international conference will be held at the Heino Eller Music School in Tartu, where Mägi’s creative activities will be introduced. On the same day, the traditional Konrad Mägi Foundation award will be presented to a person who has significantly helped introduce the artist’s life and work. In addition, a new stamp of the Art Museum of Estonia gold fund will be presented, which features Konrad Mägi’s painting of Marie Reisik (1916).

On 1 November at 10.05 pm, ETV will air the first part of a TV series introducing Konrad Mägi. The four episodes in the series cover Mägi’s approach to art and the importance of man, nature and colour in his work. More detailed information about all of the events can be found on the Konrad Mägi Foundation website: www.konradmagi.ee.