The launch of Konrad Mägi's major retrospective exhibition at the Lillehammer Art Museum in Norway has received considerable public and critical attention. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (Norsk Rikskringkasting AS) selected the exhibition as one of the eight most important art events in Norway and called it the biggest surprise of the year.
"When I saw his paintings, I knew they had to be exhibited in Norway," said Nils Ohlsen, the director of the Lillehammer Art Museum and a German art historian.
"The use of color and composition in his paintings is superb. He interpreted nature in an entirely unique visual language," Ohlsen said.
Several reviewers of the exhibition have also praised Mägi's distinct and unique painting style, unconventional and daring use of colors and his oscillation between reality and poetry. Mägi's landscapes are especially highlighted and described as mysterious and rich above all else.
Konrad Mägi's work was widely acclaimed even during his lifetime. For a time during the Soviet era, exhibitions of Mägi's work were prohibited, but by the end of the 1970s, he had become an icon of Estonian art history. The Mägi phenomenon has recently spread to Western Europe. A personal exhibition was held in Rome, and several of his works were displayed at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
The exhibition in Norway features dozens of paintings from each of Mägi's periods of creativity. The artworks are drawn from the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia, the Tartu Art Museum, Enn Kunila's art collection and a number of private collections.
This retrospective exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Art Museum of Estonia, the Lillehammer Art Museum in Norway and the EMMA Museum of Modern Art in Finland.
Pilvi Kalhama, exhibition curator at EMMA, said that Mägi's painting style is surprisingly independent and unique, adding that "his work is also influenced by international art movements of the 1910s and 1920s, such as Neo-Impressionism, with its inherent painting techniques, Expressionism and Cubism, and it is due to this diversity that his work remains fresh and intriguing even today."
The exhibition is organized by the director of the Lillehammer Art Museum, Nils Ohlsen, and Pilvi Kalhama of EMMA.
The Konrad Mägi retrospective in Norway is on display until April 2.
Editor: Kristina Kersa