Exhibitions 2008

Small Spectacle. Video Installations by Lauri Astala
5th floor
Lauri Astala’s artistic production is comprised mainly of sculptures, videos and computer-aided video installations, which deal with the topics of concepts and experience of space, and the cultural structures that form and frame them. In this exhibition, Astala presents three video installations: “Apropos of Seeing”, “Small Spectacle about Image-Semblance” and “Small Spectacle about Lightness”. All of them, in one form or another, break the reality of the traditional cinematic black cube, where the outside world becomes an absent reference, mediated by the moving image.

Swedbank Art Award 2008
5th floor
Since the year 2000, Swedbank (formerly Hansapank) has given an art award for the best artistic accomplishment of the year. The works of five candidates from five countries will be exhibited: Taavi Piibemann (Estonia), Miks Mitrēvics (Latvia), Kristina Inciuraitė (Lithuania), Alexander Vaindorf (Sweden), and the duo Igor Makarevich and Elena Elagina (Russia).

Elephant Bullet. International Video Art Project
Staircase, A-wing
The project is a cooperative effort of groups of Estonian, Lithuanian and Danish artists, displayed on the screens in Kumu hallways. According to the project leader Gorilla, “Elephant Bullet was conceived by Danish, Lithuanian and Estonian artists in Berlin, more specifically in a Vietnamese restaurant in the Prenzlauer Berg district. The year, I think, was 2006. During that dinner, we discussed whether we should deal with the past 15 years or the following 15 years and 1 second.”

Sabotaging Reality. Surrealism in European Photographic Art, 1922–1947
The Great Hall
Surrealistic photographs from the collections of the Pompidou Centre.The exhibition has been put together from the collections of the Pompidou Centre and the display includes more than 150 works displaying different photo techniques. Among the most celebrated artists, the exhibition includes works by Man Ray, Dora Maar, Brassaï, Eli Lotar and Claude Cahun. The aim of the exhibition is to go far beyond the celebrated members of different schools of surrealism, and to try to discover the surreal spirit that is expressed in the works of other artists who were more or less influenced by the surrealists in Paris, the spirit that can also be traced to Germany and England in the same era.

Utopia of freedom. Young Art in Tallinn

First Rebel Years from the late 1950’s to late 1960’s
4th floor, B-wing
The exhibition “Freedom Utopia” focuses on the Tallinn School. One can study the works by Henn Roode, Olav Maran, Nikolai Kormashov, Olev Subbi, Enn Põldroos, Peeter Ulas, Herald Eelmaa, Edgar Viies and others from the period 1958 – 1969.

Grand Tour. Estonian Artists in Italy
For centuries, Italy has belonged among the most popular destinations for art journeys. In Estonian art, Italy reminds us of Julie Wilhelmine Hagen-Schwarz, Johann Köler, August Weizenberg, Ants Laikmaa and Konrad Mägi. They enjoyed their heydays, best inspiration and top emotional state while working in the country.

Fluxus East. Fluxus networks in central eastern Europe
5th floor
Fluxus is well-known as an (anti-)artistic, international network with centres in the USA, Western Europe and Japan. But what about this “intermedia” art – encompassing music, actions, poetry, objects and events – beyond the “Iron Curtain”? What echo did Fluxus find in the states of the former Eastern Bloc, which contacts between Fluxus artists and local artists emerged, and what parallel developments existed there?

Eerik Haamer – On Both Sides of the Sea
The Great Hall
The works expressing the nature and destiny of man in Eerik Haamer’s homeland period became classics long ago. The beginning of the artist’s creative work dates back about ten years before the war, but the normal development of his artistic life was disrupted by social devastation. In 1944, Estonians were faced with difficult choices that split up the small nation and its culture.

Concept of Play. Archives in Translation
4th floor, B-wing
The exhibition spotlights the birth of the first happenings in Estonian art in the 1960’s and their relations with the Western counterparts, but also the different connotations of the general idea of playing in the art of Western and Eastern Block countries.

Struggle in the City
Although the subject of the summer project of Kumu is not of highest priority, as far as directing the audience and choosing the works to show are concerned, the participating artists have urban environments in common, as well as ways of interacting with it. The city is a challenging and limiting environment for art, it manifests a certain routine, simultaneously forcing to relate, cope and act.

Degree Works from Estonian Academy of Arts

4th floor

Gerhard Richter
5th floor
Gerhard Richter belongs among the best internationally recognized modern German artists next to Sigmar Polke and Georg Baselitz. German Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) has gathered 27 characteristic pieces from Ricter’s all periods for display.

Strawberry Eaters. Naive Paintings of Paul Kondas
4th floor A-wing, Project Space
The subjective universe of paintings of Paul Kondas (1900–1985) allows us to count him among the most interesting Estonian naive artists. The non-professional approach and the resulting spontaneous manner of depiction, often described as sincere childishness, rank as the most essential criteria for defining naive art. The works of Kondas are often cheerful indeed but not childish. Even the strawberry eaters with transparent faces, seem to be just sweet-toothed and thrilled at the first glance, but a closer inspection reveals a devilish glare in their eyes.

The Golden Age of Finnish Art. Masterpieces form the Turku Art Museum
The Great Hall
Kumu and the Turku Art Museum have launched a long-term cooperation project, the first stage of which will be the exposition of the most valuable part – items from the permanent display – of the Turku museum collection in the great hall of the Kumu Art Museum beginning on 28 March, 2008.

North by North-East: The Continental Unconscious. Contemporary Art and the Finno-Ugrian World
5th floor
The exhibition’s title refers to the geographic location of the Finno-Ugrian World, but also to the fact that some territories and nations are exiled from mainstream consciousness and erased from the mental map of contemporary culture. They might even be compared to the content of the Unconscious, which Freud once famously called ‘an aboriginal population of the Mind’. The title also alludes to the pronounced interests in psychic practices among Finno-Ugrian artists and intellectuals.

The “Free Art” Workshop in Moscow 1957. Archives in Translation
4th floor, B-wing
The exhibition “The “Free Art” Workshop in Moscow 1957. Archives in Translation” tells the intimately personal tales that took place behind the curtains of big politics, about the self-myths of the artists and their becoming into political acts. The festival that seemingly took place as a “historical mishap” is reconstructed via photos, documents, press reflections and documentaries.

A Trip to the Country. Ethnographic Types in Photography
3rd floor, B-wing
The exhibition “A Trip to the Country. Ethnographic Types in Photography” displays ethnographic photos taken in Estonia, with main emphasis on pictures taken by Johannes Pääsuke in Setumaa (1911–1915) and Saaremaa (1913), supplemented by amateur and professional shots taken in the same places, sometimes even of the same persons.