“To Sense the Light, You Must Close Your Eyes” by Kristi Kongi & Mare Vint


On Friday, 11 November at 6 p.m. the exhibition “To Sense the Light, You Must Close Your Eyes”, with the works of the painter Kristi Kongi and printmaker Mare Vint, opens in the large gallery of the Tartu Art House.

At first glance, the handwriting of these too very individual authors seems almost contradictory. Mare Vint’s metaphysical, nearly black-and-white landscapes demand that their discreet tension be quietly contemplated. Kristi Kongi, however, yanks the viewer into her endlessly colourful world, where deep dark tonal gradients are interspersed with pastel variations and, by including the space surrounding the works of art, she emphasises the comprehensive nature of her oeuvre.

But colour and its (almost complete) lack have something in common: light. Both artists have used it in their works directly and indirectly. Although light is a shared theme, they offer viewers different ways and opportunities to perceive it. As a result, a wandering rhythm of different times and places is created in the gallery, where colour and colourlessness start to highlight each other in unison.

The curator Peeter Talvistu proposed a joint exhibition to the artists way back in 2018 and both authors enthusiastically agreed. “For me, both of them have a similar immersive approach and I have never felt that their works would compete in the gallery space. Instead, I saw this as an experience where two sides would support each other. Unfortunately, Mare’s health deteriorated and she is no longer with us to shape the final outcome. Kristi, however, has had many years to contemplate Mare’s oeuvre and has been inspired to make new works and to compose the actual exhibition.”

Kristi Kongi (b 1985) has studied in the Tartu Art College and the Estonian Academy of Arts. She has been awarded the Sadolin Art Award (2013, currently the AkzoNobel Art Award), the Konrad Mägi Award (2017) and the Annual Award of the Visual and Applied Arts Endowment of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (2021). During the period 2022–2024, she is one of the receivers of Estonia’s artist’s salary. Although Kongi has recently had exhibitions in Tartu in the Kogo Gallery, her works last appeared in the Tartu Art House in 2013.

Mare Vint (1942–2020) graduated from the Estonian State Art Institute as a glass artist but is primarily known as a printmaker and drawer. Besides the Kristjan Raud Award and the Fifth Class of the Order of The White Star, in 2019 she received the lifetime achievement award from the Visual and Applied Arts Endowment of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia. In 1987, she held a joint exhibition with Andres Tolts in the Tartu Art House.

The exhibition’s graphic design is by Tuuli Aule.

Thanks: Ahti Lill, Gristel Mänd, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Akzo Nobel and Eventech.

The exhibition takes place in dialogue with the Kogo Gallery project “Laura Põld with Andres Tolts. Common Threads, Polar Bear and Elephant” (25.11.2022–28.01.2023, curator Šelda Puķīte). On 10 December at 3 pm a walk and talk between the artists and the curators will begin in the Kogo Gallery and conclude in the Tartu Art House.

“To Sense the Light, You Must Close Your Eyes” will remain open until 11 December.

Additional information:
Urmo Teekivi
Tartu Art House producer
Tel: +372 5562 1192
E-post: produtsent [at] kunstimaja.ee

Tartu Art House
Vanemuise 26, 51014 Tartu
Wed–Mon 12.00–18.00

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