NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Kaljo Simson (1929–2017) was an artist of the universe and a colour shaman. Naive art as a phenomenon irritated him.

Kaljo Simson graduated from the Estonian State Art Institute in Architecture in 1970. However, he did not realise himself as an architect, but as a painter and an inventor. From early 1970s, Simson earned living by making portraits of children at kindergartens. In total, he made thousands of portraits over several decades.

It is difficult to view Kaljo Simson’s life separately from his creative work. His works did not fit into the mainstream Soviet Estonian art or the adapted western art, that is, alternative art.

Kaljo Simson looked for ideals elsewhere – the universe, and the perfection of skills and striving for fairy-tale beauty became his criteria. The art of the universe was reflected at its best in his philosophical series Profile of the Eye, of which nearly all works are displayed in the Kondas Centre.
This exhibition introduces the extraordinary life, the underrated works and the estranging artist’s position of Kaljo Simson, and seeks to get rid of quite a few stereotypical attitudes of the 1950s–1980s approach to art in Estonia.

The exhibition was supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment.

The Kondas Centre is grateful to Helena Trei, daughter of Kaljo Simson.

Mari Vallikivi

Gallery name: The Kondas Centre

Address: Pikk 8, Viljandi

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:00 - 18:00

Open: 11.06.2020 - 27.09.2020