Kaarel Kurismaa. Yellow Light Orchestra 14/09/2018 – 23/02/2019

Kumu Art Museum
Adult: Kumu Art Museum
  • Family: Kumu Art Museum
  • Discount: Kumu Art Museum
  • Adult ticket with donation: Art Museum of Estonia
Kaarel Kurismaa. Helisid tilkuv seadeldis. 1975. Eesti Kunstimuuseum
Kaarel Kurismaa. Helisid tilkuv seadeldis (detail). 1975. Eesti Kunstimuuseum

Kaarel Kurismaa. Yellow Light Orchestra

Location: 4th floor, B-wing

Kaarel Kurismaa is one of the founders of Estonian sound and kinetic art. He is also the only artist to have kept their traditions alive since the 1970s. He is one of the most extraordinary creative figures in Estonian art history, an artist with a synergistic platform who playfully combines very different expressive means, from movement and light to sound and physical shapes, both in small and extremely large objects.

Now that a noteworthy sound art scene has evolved in Estonia, Kurismaa stands as one of its central icons. By the turn of the century, he had already achieved cult status among certain young artists.

Kaarel Kurismaa’s work is unique in terms of its metamorphosis of found materials, furniture parts and electronics, which makes the assemblies move, ring and flash. His moving and humming machines leave the impression of being alive. In various ways, Kurismaa’s oeuvre can be compared to that of Jean Tinguely, Bruno Munari, Robert Rauschenberg and Fischli&Weiss.

In the 1970s, Kurismaa dealt with sound, light and kinetic art, instilling in these the elements of Pop art. In the public eye, he was best known for his work with the progressive rock band Mess. In the succeeding decade, he turned to full and puppet animation, and designed numerous objects for the public space, including the destroyed escalator object at the Tallinn Postal Building, which caused a lot of controversy in its day. In the 1990s, Kurismaa mostly created sound installations and sculptures, turning decisively towards his current use of forms. At the start of the new century, Kurismaa re-entered the active art scene, collaborating with young artists on the experimental project metabor.

A significant share of Kurismaa’s oeuvre consists of objects for the public space, of which only a few remain. However, we must include the ideas apparent in the plans for unrealised objects as parts of the artist’s oeuvre. The exhibition includes a selection of significant designs with models and photos. For the exhibition, we have also restored several works of art, including some that have not been displayed for decades.

Curators: Ragne Soosalu and Annika Räim
Exhibition design: Mari Kurismaa