The Konrad Mägi medal and art award has been awarded by the Estonian Artists Association, the Estonian Cultural Endowment and the Estonian Painters Association since 1979 in commemoration of Konrad Mägi’s birthday on 1 November and his important contribution to painting in Estonia.
The award is given for a painting, series of paintings or art project that has enriched Estonian painting and been publicly exhibited during the previous year between 1 November of the previous year and 1 November of the current year. Artists are eligible regardless of connections with a specific art movement, style or technical process, or whether their work is traditional or innovative in character. The award can only be awarded once to an artist. The medal that accompanies the award is the work of the metal artist Enn Johannes.
The Estonian Artists Association, the Estonian Painters Association, the Visual and Applied Art Fund committee of the Estonian Cultural Endowment, Tartu Art Museum, the Centre for Contemporary Arts Estonia, Tallinn Art Hall and other art galleries and art institutions have the right to present nominees for the award.
The three institutions awarding the prize delegate two representatives to the judging panel. The panel selects a chairperson whose vote is decisive if the votes are equal. The discussions of the panel are confidential and minutes are only taken in regard to the final decision and only the result is made public.
RECIPIENTS OF THE KONRAD MÄGI AWARD 1979–2021
2023 René Kari
2022 Ludmilla Siim
2021 Anne Parmasto - for her personal exhibition “Spring Exhibition” held in Evald Okas Museum in Haapsalu. According to her colleagues, Anne Parmasto's exhibition was an undeniable proof of the excellent state of the art of painting. Parmasto, who has long practised expressive abstractionism in her work, has depicted works that reflect power and clarity, freshness and novelty, plenty of energy and desires just like an auspicious female demon relying on her yearnings. Anne Parmasto's artwork is the archetype of the connectedness of life and art – while having accepted this world and its methods, another world will open up, where even larger world fits in and where no rules are applied to creative action
2020 Mall Paris - for developing, perfecting and maintaining her unique conceptual painting language. According to the jury, Mall Paris is one of the purest practitioners of abstract and minimalistic painting in Estonia.Her paintings approach geometric discourse but most of the times there is also something else included, something undefinable. Paris' paintings have traces of minimalism and poetic Arte Povera. In her emphatic way, the arist poeticizes lifestyle and art that have grown out of the most scarce means, and yet, her paintings always involve the best characteristics of professional art of painting.
2019 Urmas Pedanik - for his solo exhibition Artificial Landscapes at Haapsalu City Gallery. According to the jury, Urmas Pedanik is an innovative painter who emerged in the second half of the 1970s with a hyper-realistic approach to painting. His oil paintings based on electronics belong to the Gold Fund of Art History, and today his works can be found in the collections of the Estonian Art Museum, the Artists' Union and the Tartu Art Museum. Urmas Pedanik studied design which was called industrial art at the Estonian National Institute of Art in 1974–1980. His first solo exhibition took place in 1981, but from 1986 there was a break of almost a quarter of a century in his work, which lasted until 2010.
2018 Jüri Kask – for his painting Hits the ceiling (Lööb lakke) shown at the EAA 18th annual exhibition Jubilee spring 2018 at the Tallinn Art Hall and his large-scale exhibition Slow and steady (Pikalt ja pidevalt) at the Tartu Art House.
According to the judges, Jüri Kask is an intellectual painter whose aesthetic visualisations are clearly contemporary and demonstrate a refined wit. Jüri Kask’s work is based in the modernist tradition and he imparts the values of modernism to a postmodernist viewer. His uncompromising approach and distinctive yet evolving style of painting has continued to hold its place in the frontline of local painting since the 1970s.
2017 Kristi Kongi – for her solo exhibition Aberration. Exercises with light and shade (Aberratsioon. Harjutused valguse ja varjuga) at Vaal Gallery, Have you seen yourself? (Kas oled end näinud?) at Hobusepea Gallery and participation in numerous group exhibitions.
According to the judges Kristi Kongi is a painter whose work extends the notion of painting as an art medium. She has a conceptual and research-like approach to the discourse of painting. Her works focus on the analysis of shade and light, the narrative of the nature of colour, and the relationship between colour and space. Kristi Kongi’s dedication to relationships between colour, light and space is noteworthy and warrants recognition.
2016 Sirja-Liisa Eelma – for her solo exhibition Whatnot (Tühi tähi) at Vaal Gallery.
According to the judges Sirja-Liisa Eelma is a painter whose skill and perseverance in analysing and interpreting the optical aspects of picture structures using the medium of painting is noteworthy. Eelma’s works are about the image of emptiness, halted moments and the use of meaningless space as a motif. She opposes and compares spatial dimensions in painting, often stepping outside recognised boundaries of traditional painting. Observing and analysing the effect of her own work on the viewer she makes her works initiators for philosophical ponderings.
2015 Tõnis Saadoja – for his solo exhibition Etudes for piano and canvas (Etüüdid klaverile ja lõuendile) at the Tartu Art Museum.
According to the judges Tõnis Saadoja is undoubtedly one of the strongest representatives of Estonian contemporary painting and has managed to create a unique, intellectually captivating and technically skilled means of expression.
2014 Merike Estna – for her solo exhibition Blue lagoon (Sinine laguun) and the curated exhibition Merike Estna I’m a painting (Mina kui maal) at Kumu Art Museum.
2013 Enn Põldroos – for his solo exhibition Credo at Tartu Art Museum, Alpha and omega at the Tallinn Art Hall Gallery and the exhibition Enn Põldroos. Companions (Enn Põldroos. Kaasteelised) at the Tartu Art Museum.
2012 Kaido Ole – for his site specific painting installation Lovely hero and heaps of still lifes (Kena kangelane ja küllaga vaikelusid) at the Kumu Art Museum, which showed the artists at his peak, his international exhibitions – the retrospective exhibition 2003–2011 at the Saint Petersburg New Museum and the exhibition at the Tartu Art Museum Three lessons in painting P. Lubowski (Poland), J. Gasiunas (Lithuania), K. Ole (Estonia) (Maalimise kolm õppetundi. P. Lubowski (Poola), J. Gasiunas (Leedu), K. Ole (Eesti)).
2011 Uno Roosvalt – for keeping alive a traditional style of painting, and his solo exhibitions in the Dome Gallery of Eesti Pank, Hobusepea and Draakon Galleries and the Museum of New Art in Pärnu.
2010 Lembit Sarapuu – for his exhibition of paintings at Vaal Gallery in August and September 2010 where his series of mythology-based paintings that he has been painting for decades was augmented with works painted in 2010.
2009 Andres Tolts – for the successful aesthetic direction he has pursued for a long time in painting, and his exhibitions Exhibition (Näitus) at Tallinn Art Hall and Things (Asjad) at Hobusepea Gallery.
2008 Lola Liivat – for her retrospective exhibition Course (Kulg) at Viinistu Art Museum and Collection (Kogu) at Tallinn Art Hall Gallery, which provided overviews of her brilliant decades-long practice of working in an abstract expressionist style.
2007 August Künnapu – for his passionate and distinctive paintings in his solo exhibition Family pictures (Perekonnapildid) at Hobusepea Gallery and Person (Inimene) at Vaal Gallery.
2006 Mari Roosvalt – for her painting practice that synthesises painting with photography and for creating her own emotional and personal space.
2005 Jaan Toomik – for his neo-expressionist painting practice addressing existential concerns, which were shown in solo exhibitions in 2005 at the Tallinn Art Hall Gallery and Vaal Gallery.
2004 Lembit Saarts – for upholding the tradition of painterly painting in the contemporary painting scene and his birthday exhibition at the Kivisilla Picture Gallery, Tartu Art Museum.
2003 Alice Kask – for her serious and penetrating series of neo-figurative paintings in her solo exhibition at the Tallinn Art Hall Gallery
2002 Erki Kasemets – for his work Life-file which was valued for his daily dedication to painting in a life-long artwork.
2001 Peeter Allik – for his painting I saw this (Ma nägin seda), which ironically proclaims social processes by describing the return of realism in a grotesque manner.
2000 Jaan Elken – for his powerful retrospective exhibition Back to hyper-reality (Tagasi hyperreaalsusesse) at the Adamson-Eric Museum and solo exhibition of new works that are interpretive of his art practice at the Tallinn Art Hall Gallery.
1999 Laurentsius & A.D. – for his excellent, intensely social large-scale paintings The End, Adam and Eve shown at the Tallinn City Gallery.
1998 Urmo Raus – for his solo exhibition at Vaal gallery, which enriched and opened the boundaries of Estonian painting.
1997 Jüri Arrak – for his solo exhibition at the Tallinn Art Hall.
1996 Sirje Runge – for her dedicated pursuit of the absolute in painting.
1995 Olev Subbi
1994 Aili Vint
1993 Valeri Vinogradov
1992 Tiit Pääsuke
1991 Peeter Mudist
1990 Kersti Rattus
1989 Agu Pihelga
1988 Johannes Uiga
1987 Toomas Vint
1986 Linda Kits-Mägi
1985 Alfred Kongo
1984 Arnold Akberg
1983 Olga Terri
1982 no data
1981 Luulik Kokamägi
1980 Kristiina Kaasik
1979 Juhan Muks