Mikoff. Sculptures

The exhibition of the works of Mare Mikoff “Mikoff. Sculptures” which opens on Friday, the 10th of June, is Tartu Art Museum’s greatest event of the year. Exhibition is accompanied by educational program, workshops, sharing game in Instagram and work sheets in museum. The exhibition will remain open until the 18th of September.

The retrospective exhibition passes through the artistic career of one of the most important Estonian sculptors, giving a comprehensive overview Mikoff’s development as an artist, her aesthetic convictions and witty worldview. Mikoff’s show conjointly keeps on with Tartu Art Museum’s tradition of presenting legendary and respected female artists. With Mikoff’s works and activities as a background the exhibition draws special attention to sculpture and monumental art in public space which has been a hot topic in Estonian recent history.

Mare Mikoff (born in 1941 in Tallinn) has been active as a sculptor since the beginning of the 1970s. She studied sculpture in the Estonian State Art Institute between 1961 to 1971 and for a while history in Tartu University (1962–1964). Mikoff has been a freelance artist most of her life, though she has also worked as a restorer of medieval coats-of-arms, as an artistic director of the ARS monumental sculpture studio and as a Chief Artist of Tallinn City Government. Since 1997 she has been a teacher of sculpture in the Estonian Academy of Arts and since 2007 a teacher in the University of Tartu’s Viljandi Culture Academy. The exhibition includes artist’s top works spanning from five decades, many of which are established in the Estonian art history. In addition to her well-known portrait busts of public figures, experimental and somewhat forgotten installations from the 1990s and latest politically charged installations will be exhibited.

Mikoff who has always kept pace with the time, has created two new works for the exhibition. Characteristically both of them are sharp and humorous comments on the surrounding artistic and social reality. Mikoff’s best known public sculptures arePaul Keres in Pärnu, 100 000th resident of Tartu and Country Women in Tartu andDusk in the centre of Tallinn. The exhibition presents a drone video of the sculpture which helps to give the viewer the best view of its form – as form has always been the most important aspect of sculpture for Mikoff.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 240-page bilingual (Estonian-English) catalogue, which gives a complete overview of Mikoff’s oeuvres from the years 1971 to 2016. The artist’s creative path is analysed in depth by art critic and curator Reet Varblane. Vladimir Frolov, an architectural historian and critic from St. Petersburg, has contributed with an essay about the notion of realism in socialist and post-socialist art. Mikoff’s curator and the compiler of the catalogue Gregor Taul focuses in his essay on the specific medium of sculpture: compared to painting and graphic arts, sculpture has historically been more a matter of architecture, public space and politics. The textual part ends with Taul’s comprehensive interview with Mare Mikoff. The catalogue (ISBN 978-9949-9766-5-2) is designed by Jaan Evart.

The exhibition goes hand in hand with a coherent educational programme involving an artist talk, curator’s tours, sculpting workshops for school children and a day-long conference on public art. For a detailed information about the educational programme please visit www.tartmus.ee.

Exhibition’s team: Gregor Taul (curator), Arthur Arula, Edith Karlson (design), Jaan Evart (graphic designer), Heiti Kulmar (coordinator), Hedi Jaansoo, Elise Kasak (photographers), Sten Ojavee (public relations).

The exhibited works come from private collections, the artist’s collection, Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn Art Hall’s collection.

The museum wishes to thank: Rael Artel, Karl Feigenbaum, Mare Hunt, Bruno Kadak, Elise Kasak, Juta Kivimäe, Anne Lass, Maanus Masin, Urmas Luik, Jukko Nooni, Mart Laul, Tamara Luuk, Vahur Lõhmus, Urmas Puhkan, Emil Urbel, Valmar Voolaid, Emer Värk.