Art Museum at the Airport: Sculptor Mati Karmin
Location: Tallinn Airport, Old Terminal
The exhibition in collaboration between the Art Museum of Estonia and the Tallinn Airport of the sculptor Mati Karmin‘s artworks takes place at the airport’s Old Terminal.
Mati Karmin (1959) has been one of the principal personalities on the Estonian art scene for more than 30 years. He graduated from the Academy of Arts as a sculptor in 1986 and continued to teach there for almost ten years. In addition, he has taught at the Tartu Art College, as a professor and director of the Sculpture Department. Karmin’s activities as an artist and intellectual are extremely diverse. He has been the president of the Estonian Artists’ Association (1992–1995), a member of the Tartu Toome Rotary Club and a member of the Council of the EELC Congregation of the Tallinn Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. He has also been awarded many important prizes as an artist.
Estonians know Mati Karmin as the creator of large-scale sculptures, and more than 20 of his works decorate the cities and settlements of Estonia. His public works include the Charles Leroux memorial in Tallinn (1989), monuments dedicated to the victims of the Estonia disaster in Hiiumaa (1995) and Pärnu (1997), the fountain sculpture Kissing Students (1998), as well as monuments to Jaan Tõnisson (2001) and Juri Lotman (2007), in Tartu, the equestrian monument St. George Fighting the Dragon in Tori (2003) and the monument to Marie Under in Tallinn (2010). Mati Karmin has brought majesty, dynamism and stylisation to Estonian sculpture. His fine art sculptures, with their experimental materials and thematic approaches, have always been eye-catching.
One of the grandest undertakings executed by Karmin has been his sea mine project, which he started at the end of the 1990s. After the departure of the Soviet Army, large quantities of military equipment could be found on the Estonia’s northern coast and islands, including rusted sea mine shells, some of which date back to World War I. The spherical mine shells, with their ideal form, seem beautiful and dangerous at the same time. Their initial destructive function is apparent even when the artist has given them new life as fireplaces or furniture. They are connected to Estonia’s recent violent past, which has always interested the artist. In recent years, Mati Karmin’s relationship with the mine shells has become more abstract in nature. The spherical shapes have been presented as spatial modules and universal decorative forms..
Curator and exhibition design: Juta Kivimäe