EKA Museum presents: Nature and Abstraction

EKA raamatukogu

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Nature and Abstraction
Designs for Monumental Paintings from the 1970–1980s

Monumental painting emerged as a significant medium in Estonian art during the 1960s. However, formal instruction in this area gained momentum at the art academy over the subsequent two decades. During this period, the ideas of several painting students progressed from concept to completion in various materials. Examples include the stained glass works of Urve Dzidzaria and Heli Tuksam, which originated from their diploma projects. The preliminary work of these projects is also displayed at the current exhibition.

While Soviet official art typically featured propagandistic content in works intended for public spaces, neither our professional monumental painting nor the students’ works adhere to this approach. Guided by the enthusiastic mentorship of Dolores Hoffmann, students developed universally human and aesthetic solutions in monumental painting. One noticeable trend is the oscillation between nature-inspired, realistic design creation and the abstract style, where recognisable figures have been lost. This selection presents various personal approaches, ranging from a slightly stylised manner to completely abstract expression. In each case, the artists have carefully considered the future technique of execution, whether it be fresco, sgraffito, mosaic or stained glass.

Several artworks that were removed from the old EKA building on Tartu Road before its demolition have been subsequently reinstalled and showcased in the new academy building. Furthermore, contemporary pieces have been introduced, as instruction in monumental painting continues under the guidance of Heldur Lassi at the Estonian Academy of Arts, albeit on a more modest scale today. Present-day students are not constrained by traditional boundaries – they do employ classical techniques but boldly blend them together as dictated by the content. This exhibition provides viewers with the opportunity to establish conceptual links between different approaches from various periods, prompting them to seek out the completed monumental paintings, both old and new, within the public spaces of the EKA.

The artworks showcased in the exhibition were initially featured at the comprehensive exhibition Invisible Monumental Painting at the EKA Gallery in 2020, offering a vibrant display designed by Kristi Kongi.

Reeli Kõiv
curator of the exhibition

Passepartouts: Kristi Kongi
Graphic design: Pärtel Eelmere

125F_K.Kaljo (2) (2)
K. Kaljo
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Posted by Andres Lõo

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