Ülo Õun. Artist Interrupted
June 19 – November 1, 2009
Kumu Art Museum (Great Hall)
Even at the present time, the creation of Ülo Õun (1940–1988) seems exceptional in Estonian art. He has influenced a whole generation of Estonian sculptors, although he has never worked as a teacher. Ülo Õun introduced excitement, passion and confusion into the Estonian art exhibition, traits which nobody associated with sculpture – regarded as the most boring form of art – in the quickly changing art life of the era. He brought something substantially new to Estonian sculpture in the 1970s: a friendly grotesque, which was expressed both in the portraits of the sculptor and in his figural free creation. Also, his free modelling indirectly resembling the later creation of Alberto Giacometti was surprising.
In sculpture, Ülo Õun was fascinated by colour, the flowing and variability of forms. He offered so many new possibilities which previously had not been associated with sculpture in the closed and confined cultural space of Estonia that the public could not be disinterested. His works at exhibitions were fervently admired, as well as being detested. Õun’s creation treated the subjective spiritual essence of man. It could be said that he was fixated on deeply human conditions which previously nobody had tried to portray in Estonian sculpture. Due to Ülo Õun’s work, Estonian sculpture became much more communicative.
The exhibition is accompanied by films, photos related to the era, and Õun’s drawings. The exhibition will be open until 1 November 2009.
The curator of the exhibition is Juta Kivimäe, the designer is Isabel Aaso-Zahradnikova, and the graphic designer is Tuuli Aule.
The research and restoration works related to the exhibition have been supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment and the Estonian Cultural Heritage Fund.