Painting in Process

May 14 – October 10, 2010
Kumu Art Museum (5th floor)


Participating artists include: Antonio Claudio Carvalho, Kaido Ole, Kristi Kongi, Marta Stratskas, Holger Loodus, Lauri Eltermaa, Merike Estna, Flo Kasearu, Jaan Toomik, Mart Vainre, Sven Parker, Tõnis Saadoja, Gints Gabrans, Mall Paris, Carmen Landsberg, Katrin Piile, Jasper Zoova, Neeme Külm and Alice Kask. Eclecticism: Art Security, Mihkel Ilus, Martiini, Barthol Lo Mejor, Frindo Kveiks, Mihkel Kleis, Marko Kompus, Novekta.Avi, Anon Porx, Erkki Luuk and Kiwa.


The exhibition has grown out of the fact that painting continues to be the most popular art medium in Estonia: professionals, outsiders and art lovers are all involved. This flood of painting is not regulated by any norms, since the different subcultures cultivate their personal painting codes. The galleries that operate alongside them have generated the production of a large number of beautiful paintings during the last 10 years, but one cannot say that the Estonian art market has determined developments in Estonian painting. There are a lot of paintings, there is a lot of talk about painting, and from time to time a need develops for an overview. The Painting in Process exhibition is intended to inform the public, and it focuses on introducing the possibilities of contemporary painting.


Several of the large installation projects have been created especially for this exhibition. The large wall surfaces of Kumu provide a great background for murals and this opportunity has been seized by a group of students from the Estonian Academy of Arts: Kristi Kongi, Marta Stratskas, Holger Loodus and Lauri Eltermaa, who, under the direction of Antonio Claudio Carvalho (Brazil/Great Britain), have produced a 19-meter-long mural, by synthesizing the current ideas circulating in urban space with traditional points of departure of classic mural painting. A collaborative work by Carvalho and Kaido Ole is also included in the show. Their painting The Bridge grew out of the kindred thinking and personal friendship of the two artists.


In recent years, the boundaries between interiors, design and painting have blurred. The extensive space installation of Merike Estna, who lives in Brussels, is based on the wallpaper-theme that is currently topical in international exhibitions and provides a dialogue between background, design and painting. Estna’s installation juxtaposes two opposing approaches to painting as a representation in space. In the first, the wallpaper encompasses the entire space, and overshadows the painting. And, as a contrast, in the second, large-format oil paintings are displayed, with depictions that reveal themselves at first glance, and which can be approached in the usual way. Estna’s choice of images connects nudes and landscapes as popular themes in painting through the ages. The nudes are based on documentary material that was photographed by the girls who were the models or their friends. Through the documentary source material, Estna searched for the answer to the question: what is the role of nude paintings in today’s media- and information-filled world? The landscape and seascape in Estna’s project originate from Plato, who laid the foundation for the idealistic world-view which holds that objects are not genuine; the thoughts and ideas that introduce these objects are more genuine and enduring.


The main line of the exhibition is formed by artists who employ a classic mode of painting. Tõnis Saadoja is represented by a project that was on display in 2009 at the Swedbank Art Prize exhibition in Riga, and which is based on an elaboration of a still-life that Saadoja completed while he was attending the Children’s Art School, and that forms a beautiful space installation that speaks of the artist’s eternal striving for perfection. The joint work of Neeme Külm and Alice Kask is a site-specific installation that deals with painting’s departure from its prescribed place on the wall. The project treats the possibility of transforming painting into a part of the spatial structure and examines the subsequent behaviour of painting in the new location provided for it.


The Latvian artist Gints Gabrans, who is well-known in Estonia, started his discussion of the subject of the aesthetic characteristics of painting at the beginning of 2000, and a series of paintings that he produced with the help of explosives (which was displayed at an overview exhibition of modern Latvian art at the Rotermann Salt Storage in 2005) is followed by abstract structures that take us into the world of computers.


The following students from the Estonian Academy of Arts continue the subject of painting installations: Mart Vainre combines painting with animation; Sven Parker‘s works are inspired by astrology websites on the Internet that predict the dates of people’s deaths; and Lauri Eltermaa installs an architecton in the design-painting-object mode, comprised of works that have been produced by students of painting for exams.

Jaan Toomik‘s new series of paintings originates from a dialogue with art history and the classic past of painting, although the rules of this cultural trip are established by Toomik. The characters in Flo Kasearu‘s figurative painted compositions are people who became unemployed in Tallinn in the winter of 2009. The works of Mall Paris, Carmen Landsberg and Katrin Piile represent different points of departure for aesthetic painting.

Eclecticism is a project that has been organized by Kiwa, and primarily includes works by painters with Tartu backgrounds. The point of departure for Eclecticism is conceptual. While, according to the prevalent understanding of good aesthetic painting, eclecticism is seen to result from the lack of skill and dilettantism, Kiwa’s project produces eclecticism as a conscious, systematic and purposeful activity. The visions of several subcultures and local art centres of painting, as an extension of the author’s obsessive fantasies and projects for world improvement, are related to this. Eclecticism is comprised of Art Security, Mihkel Ilus, Martiini, Frindo Kveiks, Barthol Lo Mejor, Mihkel Kleis, Marko Kompus, Novekta.Avi, Anon Porx, Erkki Luuk and Kiwa.

The curator of the exhibition is Eha Komissarov; the designer is Urmas Muru.

The exhibition will be open until 10 October 2010.