NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Vilen Künnapu who is known as an architect and artist presents his new display of paintings on exhibition throughout the two floors of Haus Gallery from the 20th of January. Predominantly large-scale acrylic paintings have been created with a characteristic Künnapu-esque stylization and provocative use of colours. These are expressive works with a unique geometrical and symbolistic system that have consciously emphasized naivism, like a sign of the artist’s genuine and pure energy, happily spreading across the paintings.

As for shapes, Künnapu utilizes the same problem-solving and work ethics as with architecture – bold colour schemes and a stylish eclecticism of various architectural elements. Egyptian pillars, palladium friezes, gothic-roman window verticals and arches that become amazingly similar in Künnapu’s interpretation. The architect as well as the artist has halted their origin, creating a new space of thought free from temporal restrictions. To walk within the rooms of Künnapu’s bright-coloured houses is as if to walk along the roofs, corridors, roads and landscapes on his paintings…

„These are world-stopping landscapes“ says Vilen himself when we talk about his exhibition at Haus Gallery. I look at his almost delirious, colorfully enhanced pictures: neon yellow, vivid green, pink, purple, orange, blue, red landscapes, always with a little round sun in the corner – seems like usually on the top left. A few human figures, Vilen’s son August or Vilen himself wearing amber-coloured glasses, standing in front of colorful arcs of paysage lines, looking peacefully at the viewer. The picture and the viewer are one, what you see is what you are – it is as if Vilen is saying from his painting’s edge, then just flying away with a bird from his other picture. The bird looks like a white horse galloping across the painted sky with the artist. Small picture but the sky within seems far and wide, inviting all thoughts to fly along with Vilen, further and further over painted spaces. Only a few clouds here and there. They do not shade the sun at all. Vilen calls out: look down, those are zig-zag Tuscan roads and Tuscan trees, look now, there are Santorini roofs, look – Rome, St Peter’s Cathedral, look – Tallinn and look, look, this is the city of Future, it could be like that, right?! I look at the futuristic city – colorful, very colorful, good-spirited, like music to the beat of round towers – what is this song, it seems familiar but also not… and I find myself standing in front of Vilen’s picture of the future in the gallery. Vilen is also here, landed beside me and saying hey what should I name this picture – I was thinking „City of Future,“ there could be a city like that in the future, right? Or let’s just call it „Future“? I agree. Just future – good and bright…

Vilen Künnapu as an architect and artist in somewhere between all eras and worlds, hints of the past, joys of the present, and ideas of the future. Scurrying about quite happily and creating his own universe out of the three, still connected to the vast and comprehensive universe itself which is important to fathom according to Vilen. As if he wants to shake the viewer loose from routine thoughts, expected solutions, and encourage us to see things much more broadly and freely – more colorfully, both literally and figuratively. Colours are nice! Aren’t they?! Yes, colours are good, he positively affirms.

Vilen Künnapu has written about his paintings and exhibition:

„The world consists of descriptions and many programs, but what a chaos those programs have brought the world to! If we could stop them everything would change. At the moment certain cessations are happening and the human mind has been expanding, but unfortunately by the power of tsunamis and pandemics, etc. Still, we can stop harrassing and at times violent programs by meditating, listening to music or enjoying good art. Going into an energy field to experience something calming and even healing. I try to inspire this state of mind with my art. There is a sense of reality and the arousing scent of timelessness in my seemingly unrealistic landscapes, these bizarre ultra-colorful cubist edifices which the viewer could recognize, delve into, and draw strength to their energy.

My colours, these bright fundamental tones originate from 17 000 year old cave paintings and ancient southern cultures, which are still used today, for example in African womens’ clothes. My colorite is actually just as timeless as any ritual atributes the forest folk have used – flags, drums, body paint, charms, jewellery and even temple interior patterns. I have transferred these colours to the roofs and walls of Tallinn as well as Santorini. Yes, it might seem unexpected but I visualize the energetics of familiar buildings, towns, terrains and seas rather than their precise actuality. I hope the viewer gets a kick out of this different kind of reality, one that changes them in a good way after recovering.

My son August Künnapu does the same on his paintings – just through human figures. He depicts them in completely everyday scenarios – young girls at gym, nurses at a maternity ward, old-fashioned man pole vaulting between some houses – factually not anything special, but August amplifies the occasion through painting the energy of characters and circumstances – concentration, dedication, and focus on a seemingly unimportant yet actually relevant moment – this makes his paintings an expression of magical human existence.

It is important to me that in the current ever-changing world creators present works with purified energy that can fill the public with kind and healthy emotions. May it be paintings, houses or music. I want to convince the viewer to believe in that side of the world which is good, safe, infinite and enduring.“

Text and artist’s edit by

Piia Ausman

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: 20.01.2021 - 28.02.2021