Every Estonian has probably heard about or read Andrus Kivirähk’s novel “Rehepapp AKA November,” which was first published in 2000. For the publication’s 20th anniversary an illustrated version has just been launched. The book has been illustrated by local artist Jüri Mildeberg who has created pictures for numerous publications before and is known for his extraordinary characteristic style. The exhibition in Haus Gallery showcases the latest illustrations in all their glory.
Working on “Rehepapp” the artist noted that he could finally create all kinds of grimaces, as weird as he wanted. The vast arsenal of characters displayed on the gallery walls is truly worthy of a saga. It is as if every Estonian can recognize another Estonian and for outside viewers it becomes clearer how Estonians allow themselves to be depicted through a historical and literary prism.
The exhibition is displayed at the end of the year and during the month of Christmas festivities, and is entitled “Rehepapp AKA December” to paraphrase Kivirähk’s novel. All together 20 original illustrations and 9 others works by Jüri Mildeberg are brought to the public. These sculpturesque works of art made of wood and other combinations of materials have been created simultaneously with picturing “Rehepapp,” a bit before and a bit after. These depict objects of fertility, defense, and mischievous magic.
Jüri Mildeberg’s great fantasy and artistic skills are always enjoyable. His works offer humorous, light, and unpretentious insight into being human, but not only. His gallery of characters is very diverse where a seemingly simple man or woman figure intertwines with the characteristics of an animal, bird, fish, or some other friendly creature from the author’s own mythological storyline.
Next to “Rehepapp” characters you can also find the infamous Imbi and Ärni from the exhibition display, although perhaps not like we are used to seeing them, their liveliness is uncanny. Among them is Läsna man from the same village Mildeberg has long since moved to. Side by side on the walls characters inspired from kitchen cutlery pose for visitors. The author has named this couple “Samal ajal härrastemajas I and II” (meanwhile in the manor house), and you are welcome to interpret their relationship according to your own fantasy. Mildeberg today at Haus Gallery is as Mildeberg always is, sharing his pure joy of being oneself with the viewers – the surprising figurative heroes and quirky inklings of their lives on display yet left open for everyone’s own enjoyment.
Haus Gallery curator
Gallery name: Haus gallery
Address: Uus 17, Tallinn
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:00 - 18:00, Sat 11:00 - 16:00
Open: 05.12.2020 - 09.01.2021