The Space Around Me

Tartu Art Museum’s main summer exhibition is titled The Space Around Me and concentrates on the theme of home interior in Estonian art. At the exhibition works belonging to the treasury of Estonian art history will be exhibited alongside the works of contemporary authors.

The exhibition takes under observation our closest and most intimate environment, that is the space around us when we withdraw from the ‘open space’ and step across the threshold into the ‘closed space’ of our homes. Until now no separate attention has been paid on the theme of home interior in Estonian art history and no exhibition has been put together of works of that kind. Home interior and the theme of homeliness offer interesting sets of works and possibilities of interpretation. The theme of home became first popular in Estonian art in the 19th century in connection with the ideas of Biedermeier, which respected cosiness, comfort, morality, family, and family values. The change of lifestyle of the 19th century brought along a situation that, according to Walter Benjamin, for the first time separated living space from the place of work for the private person. And so the former constituted itself as interior and the other as an office. While in the office the private person had to regard the reality, the interior had to support his illusions. Interior became the universe of the private person.

The exhibition views the developments of that home universe from the Baltic German art till contemporary Estonian art. Nineteenth century artists and Estonian modernists mainly depicted the real space – the salon-like manor interior, the farmhouse and the town apartment are shown. Since the 1970s the space is not linear any more but has become twisted and is often seen from different angles full of reflections and reflexes. Here we can see the outer and the inner space in one and the same painting both in the spatial and the metaphysical meaning.

The range of artists represented at the exhibition is wide: beginning with the Baltic German artists of the 19th century Johann Köler, Kristjan and Paul Raud, Andrei Jegorov, and August Jansen; it continues with the Pallas art college painters Elmar Kits, Endel Kõks, Karl Pärsimägi, Karin Luts, Linda Kits-Mägi, Nikolai Kummits, Ida Anton-Agu, and Ferdi Sannamees; more recent art is represented with the works of Olev Subbi, Jüri Palm, Ludmilla Siim, Jüri Arrak, Tõnis Vint, Andres Tolts, Marge Monko, Maria Kapajeva, Marko Mäetamm and others.

The exhibited artworks are from Art Museum of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum and private collections.

The curator of the exhibition is Tiiu Talvistu.
Designers are Madis Liplap and Maarja Roosi.
Supporter: Estonian Cultural Endowment.