“There are two paths for art to embrace life. The convenient path is that of the mind, which embraces life only in its randomness, in its sad and foolish routineness. The steep path leading over abysses is the path of the soul, for whom life is a deep sleep and a tormenting premonition of different relationships and different depths than the ones our pathetic minds are capable of penetrating.” Konrad Mägi
The exhibition of landscape paintings by Konrad Mägi (1878–1925) displays more than forty paintings from the artist’s various creative periods, with a focus on his dramatic pieces of intense colours and sensitivity to nature.
Konrad Mägi, who grew up near the ancient forests of south Estonia, always viewed painting as an attempt to penetrate the secret and mystical forces of nature. For him, both nature and capturing it on canvas offered nearly sacred experiences, as the artist, who was extremely sensitive by nature, was always looking for a way to contact the unreal.
Konrad Mägi’s oeuvre was widely acclaimed even in his lifetime. During the Soviet times, the exposition of Mägi’s oeuvre was forbidden for a while, but in spite of that he had become a canonical author in Estonian art history by the end of the 1970s. In recent years, the Mägi phenomenon has reached Western Europe as well: a personal exhibition was held in Rome, and some of his works were on display in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Foreign critics have also emphasised Mägi’s extraordinary sense of colour and unique relationship with nature. The exhibition in Kumu is not a retrospective and does not include all of the genres that Mägi experimented with; instead, it focusses on his landscapes, and paintings from the Italian period, completed on the Isle of Capri, in Rome and in Venice.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue in Estonian and English. A comprehensive audio-guided tour is available and visitors can watch a newly released introductory film about the significance of Konrad Mägi’s oeuvre.
The Konrad Mägi (1878–1925) exhibition is part of the international programme of festivities organised in honour of the centennial of the Republic of Estonia, consisting of more than a hundred events all across the world.