NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The programme of the Tartu Art House has always included anniversary exhibitions of Estonian artists. Mati Karmin (b 1959), who first started participating in exhibitions in 1987, is one of the great names in the history of Estonian sculpture. In 1986, he was awarded the annual Youth Prize and in 1992 the Kristjan Raud art award.

“Mati Karmin LX” will include Karmin’s earlier works from the collections of the Tartu Art Museum and the Art Museum of Estonia. In addition to mythological and religious characters, they also represent cultural figures and artists who are contemporaries of the author. They highlight his experimental and playful use of form and a deeply cognitive Nordic style, which are often spiced up by sharp wit. Besides the masterpieces from museum and private collections, Karmin has made a central conceptual work for the exhibition that partially grew out of his popular exhibition “My Father” in the Gallery Sammas (1994) and expands his last exhibition project, “Believed”, in the Vabaduse Gallery (2018).

The central gallery invites us to experience the beauty and youth of the people of the Estonian countryside. It focuses on an installation of horse cart wheels whose rims have run over innumerable kilometres of roads that are now travelled only by a handful of people. This journey is accompanied by Karmin’s friends and relatives who have received a timeless treatment through the artist’s hands and sensibility in permanent materials.

Monumental works have an important place in the oeuvre of the sculptor. He has managed to enrich the urban space of Tartu, Tallinn, Pärnu and many other towns in Estonia and abroad. This time, in addition to the booklet accompanying the exhibition and introducing eleven public monumental works in Tartu, people can also see the designs sent to competitions: today we know the outcomes, but the original ideas can sometimes be surprisingly different.

We thank the Tartu Art House and Tartu Artists’ Union for the opportunity to bring this exhibition to the public, and the Cultural Endowments of Estonian and Tartu and the Tartu Art Museum for their support.

Curator: Heiti Kulmar

Graphic design: Tnxalatte design collective

Exhibition team: Richard Adang, Tanel Asmer, Indrek Grigor, Dagmar Miil, Anti Saar, Peeter Talvistu and Markus Toompere

The artist thanks: his wife, Lemmi Karmin, the curator Heiti Kulmar, his friend Tõnis Tooming, the woodworkers Avo Tragel and Rein Erdel, and the metalworker Kalvi Tenno.

Gallery name: Tartu Art House Big Hall

Address: Vanemuise 26, Tartu

Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 12:00 - 18:00

Open: 14.02.2019 - 10.03.2019