Exhibition of installations and illustrations by Urmas Viik “Muhu Angels”
19.12.2016 – 25.02.2017
“Muhu Angels” steals a glance away from the modern mainstream and tries to blow a breath of fresh air into the approach to folk art, which can often be quite kitschy. The graphic part of this exhibit comes from the monumental, folk tradition-inspired book “Muhu Inglid” (Muhu Angels). Muhu, Estonia’s third-largest island is well known for its abundant and unique folk culture. The writer Kadri Tüür was inspired by the Muhu dialect and narrative style, and the story is about seven women called Ingel.
Images created by Urmas Viik supports on the rich ornamentation and colour range typical to Muhu. The “anchors” of the book are the patterns found in skirts, cardigans, blankets. The line structure in the images resembles embroidery. Details do not claim to be documentary and precise, but rather convey the familiar general impression.
Urmas Viik started his career as an artist at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s as a powerful representative of the new generation who defied the dominant traditions of Estonian graphic art. His large-format blue dry point prints found recognition in the Estonian art scene. However, already in the nineties he made several turnarounds, which have been characteristic of him in later years as well. The turn of the century was marked by the ultimate installation “Ruth breathes. Anna breathes” presented in the Rotermann Salt Storage Gallery. The next decade in Viik’s creative work is represented by exhibitions of large-scale spatial installations – “Rocococoo” 2004, “Mikk ja Olga Shine” 2006, “Rose.Fly.Rose” 2010, “Mr Luik’s Hummer” 2011. Since 2003, Viik’s creative work has expanded to a new area – book illustration. He has designed and illustrated dozens of books and his eagerness and productivity have won him yearly special mention in the annual most beautiful books competitions. In 2010 he was included in the IBBY Honour List of outstanding illustrators. Viik does not push hard for his brand, nor does he try to cultivate any visual attributes that are unique to him exclusively. His imagery may vary quite widely across books. Each new book is a new beginning.
This exhibition has been supported by the Estonian National Culture Foundation.