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ESTONISHING! Estonian contemporary jewelry artists will exhibit their artwork at the group exhibition FOGSPEAK / UDUJUTT

March 29 - April 18

March 29, 2019 – April 18, 2019


From March 29 to April 18 at Art Gallery PUTTI is going to be ESTONISHING!

Estonian contemporary jewelry artists will exhibit their artwork at the group exhibition  FOGSPEAK / UDUJUTT

The dense fog reduces visibility but strengthens beauty. It warns our insecurities but opens new perspectives. Fog is volatile though tangible. It allows us to feel the ethereal un gives us space to breath. Gray-toned verticals and foggy conversations will be created by a group of contemporary jewellery artists from Estonia at Art gallery PUTTI.

ESTONISHING!: 13 Estonian artists with a collective national identity background, folk traditions and history, yet they all are so distinct from one another – each with their own individual identity and character. They are like a metaphor that unifies discrete individualists, each with his or her own signature style. The only true thing that unites them is their desire to unlock their own imaginative world using jewellery as the key.

Tanel Veenre: ‘Our artisan culture is rooted in the forest. It sounds simple, but it is exactly in this feature that there is magic. The archaic yet clean wooden style is at the base of all abstraction. There is no need for noise here; whispers are loud enough.’ Estonian is the only language in the world in which the word for jewellery and sincerity is one and the same – EHE.

Thomas Cohn, a prominent Brazilian gallerist representing Galeria Thomas Cohn in San Paolo, as a bright meteor came to Tallinn to see, get to know the contemporary Estonian jewellery he had heard about. Falling in love with it, he arranged to bring it back to Brazil. Galeria Thomas Cohn premiered the ESTONISHING! jewellery exhibition at Schmuck 2016, the contemporary art jewellery event at the Munich International Skilled Trades Fair.

When asked about the title of the exhibition, Tanel Veenre, its curator, explains: ‘We had come up with several ideas, but then Thomas suggested ESTONISHING! It seemed the best fit because it was immediately clear that the participating artists came from Estonia, plus, a word written in the wrong way instinctively draws attention.’

At the core of the group are two pillars of contemporary Estonian art: Kadri Mälk, internationally renowned jewellery artist and a professor in the Jewellery Department of the Estonian Academy of Arts; and Tanel Veenre, the collective’s mouthpiece, who is also a professor in the Faculty of Design at the Estonian Academy of Arts as well as a photographer, lecturer, and member of many international exhibitions.

Each artist showing work in the exhibition is one of a kind. The artists are both united and contrasting at the same time. When looking at the jewellery that they have created, one senses that when making their pieces, these artists focus on spiritual qualities; the works on view have an introverted quality, perhaps even a touch of darkness to them – features that, just like a fixation on details, are so very characteristic of Northern peoples.

People speak about spiritual endeavors, the wish to be active outside the realm of physical reality. The ability to create noise and scraps while retaining a clear surface. The closeness of nature, the sensitivity of a fingerprint, and even if your ears are not within your field of vision, you cannot escape them.

A piece of contemporary jewellery illustrates a feeling of magic and temptation; much like a cult, nature is an intrinsic part of contemporary jewellery. It is safe to say that, having attracted the attention of the world, the jewellery artists of today’s Estonia form the foundation of the contemporary art jewellery platform. Of course, it is impossible to completely abandon form and context, yet make no mistake – an artist creates not only objects, but also the space for communication between the artwork and the person.

The works displayed in the gallery are available for purchase.


Exhibitions Curators:

Thomas Cohn 1934-2018;

Tanel Veenre

Supporters: Estonian Cultural Foundation, Estonian Ministry of Culture


Kadri Mälk – works with precious metals, and she makes no compromises – either in choice of material or her interpretation of it in the form of a piece of jewellery. Malk’s work gives off impressions of melancholic verse as it expresses her interest in the beauty of the darker passions.

Nils Hint – artist and experimental blacksmith, makes art from wrenches that he has found in scrapyards and then flattened with an industrial heavyweight hammer.

Julia Maria Künnap‘s- jewellery is like a binding agent that glues shut the gap between the instantaneous and the infinite. Her pieces are practically a miracle that has come to life; technical obstacles do not frighten her. Künnap uses time-consuming, labour-intensive and extreme techniques to create jewellery from a myriad of different materials and in just as many different shapes.

Ketli Tiitsar‘s – material of choice is wood, a popular and abundant material that is ripe with potential; yet it is not without risk – one must be careful of not slipping into the prosaic. The question that Tiitsar contends with (and ostensibly beats): Can centuries-old wood dictate style?

Kristiina Laurits – poses the slippery and recurrent question of what is jewellery? – a miniature work of art, or a functional object?

Maria Valdma – is known for her lyrical processing of cosmic objects. Space and its memory are her focal points as she stages fictive encounters and meetings, then randomly picks numbers and events that go on to form new territories, future worlds, utopias. Gender, nationality and profession transform – due to fire, they have become more equal. Valdma works with materials such as fire-treated wood, concrete, paint, and silver.

Darja Popolitova – when she puts together a collection, she concentrates on psychological and philosophical trains of thought, and how a person’s inner emotions are projected into reality. Her work exhibits definite feelings: self-assuredness, pride, and zeal.

Villu Plink – distances himself from the decorativeness. He makes his jewellery from both metal and decidedly less permanent materials (paper, vinyl, cardboard, fabric), placing them into play with light and shadow and giving them an almost human character.

Tanel Veenre – jewellery,whether it consists of an oyster shell painted blue as the sea, or wood, sap, sea horses, a heart, a cross, or a stone – everyone who views it or wears it imbues it with their personal feelings and experiences, thereby making it their own. Moreover, unlike in spoken language, there are no linguistic barriers in a tactile form of communication. Everyone can speak it, their vocabulary consisting of one’s personal experience. ‘Symbols – the heart, a cross, the sun – can be understood without words, which is why I like to use them,’ explains Veenre.

Tanel Veenre, brooch “Midnight” – Ebony, silver 925. Photo – Tanel Veenre

Maarja Niinemägi – creates simple yet elegant brooches with materials such as engraved stone. Clean and sleek lines. Other materials used include milk opal, bison horn, pearls, silver and gold.

Maarja Niinemägi, brooch “Black Ink” – Ebony, silver 925. Photo – Maarja Niinemägi

Sofia Hallik – The aesthetic code found in the artworks of Sofia Hallik includes symmetry of form, the synthetic nature of the material, the latest digital technologies, and use of a visually monochromatic palette.

Sofia Hallik, necklace – 3D printed resin, pigment, oxidized silver. Photo – Sofia Hallik

Piret Hirv‘s – jewellery can be likened to abruptly cut-off gestures that avoids giving away too much… leaving all the subsequent interpretations for the viewer’s/wearer’s imagination.

Piret Hirv, brooch “Gaze” – silver 925. Photo – Piret Hirv

Eve Margus – Villems – A master at working with bone, Eve Margus-Villems surprises with the fragility of her emotional expression and the delicateness of her execution.

Eve Margus-Villems, earrings “Checkhers” – carved horn, silver 925. Photo – E.Margus-Villems

Exhibition display:

The exhibition opening night:

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March 29
April 18