The Friends of Kiasma in Tallinn

The Friends of Kiasma arranged an art trip to Tallinn in May. 24 Friends of Kiasma attended the trip. Pirkko Arstila reports on the journey.

The greatest hit in the Tallinn art world in May was the Ich bin ein Maler exhibition. 32 leading Estonian artists had painted their works directly on the walls of Tallinn Kunsthall.
We, the Friends of Kiasma, viewed the works with interest. No one can buy them or take them home. The artist Jarmo Mäkilä, who accompanied us on the trip, wondered why everyone had copied their painting onto the wall but never utilised the vast wall space. They would have had an excellent opportunity to create graffiti, frescos or whatever. Nevertheless, the works were exquisite. What a pity that they will disappear.
Our guide was the textile artist Peeter Kuutma. He took us through the Old Town in Tallinn and wanted to take us to all his favourite spots in his hometown. We had to admit that Tallinn is getting greater and greater every year. Old buildings are being renovated with style and skill.

Some of us had a chance to visit the atelier of Leonard Lapin, a celebrated artist also in Finland. Naturally all of us wanted to visit there, but there was only room for five. Nice and cosy, said those who managed to get in.
With Peeter, we popped into small galleries. The Floor, which was a musical play in Erki Kannus’ exhibition, turned us into children again. When we stepped on the grey fitted carpet, the floor began to play new tunes as we walked on it, while the video projector reflected new images on the wall.

In their exhibition Piktogram, the artists Bruni Lillemets and Kärt Maran had set their tiny glass and metal works on white platforms on the floor. We picked our way among them just like one does when picking berries in the forest. We also found beautiful pastel works, designed by Märje Uksinen, a prominent artist in Estonia.

Our one-day trip culminated in the Old Salt Chamber. It featured the works of the leading 60s ’Op’ artist, Bridget Riley of Britain. Mathematical, geometric and refined, they brought echoes of the early days of Marimekko, Mary Quant’s clothes and many other nostalgic things. The works date from the time when there were no computers, so designing optical illusions and eye deception plays demanded quite a skilful artist. Riley must have been a maths wizard! The works were good exercise for the brain. We stood for a long time before three works which had utilised the same harlequin line but on differently coloured bases. Finally we were unsure what to believe. Was the red in the works the same or not?
We also visited the Finnish Embassy – quite a tourist attraction in itself. The balcony gave a terrific view over the rooftops and churches. It must be the most magnificent balcony in town.

When we finally began our journey back as night was already falling, we were quite dizzy having seen and experienced such a lot. We felt the Tallinn cobblestones on our feet, actually we still felt them the next day! Although we do not meet otherwise, in these trips the group is like old pals. Our love for Kiasma and interest in the contemporary art of our neighbour is a great bridge builder.