1 November 2023 marks the passing of 145 years since the birth of Konrad Mägi (1878–1925). Numerous events will be held at the initiative of the Konrad Mägi Foundation over the course of a month to mark this occasion. You will find further information on these events below.
A musical excursion to Konrad Mägi’s painting locations in Norway, Italy, France, and Estonia will be presented at the Estonian National Museum Library on 1 October at 12 noon. Works by Jean Sibelius, Albert Roussel, Fartein Valen, Ottorino Respighi, and Eduard Tubin will be performed in a programme put together by Mihhail Gerts. The performers are Heili Rosin-Leivategija (flute) and Mihhail Gerts (piano). Eero Epner will speak about the paintings Mägi painted in those places.
The exhibition Konrad Mägi. Unseen Paintings will be opened at the Estonian National Museum on 12 October. In recent years, the Konrad Mägi Foundation has found dozens of hitherto unknown works by Mägi from his various creative periods. They were first displayed at the Mikkel Museum in Tallinn in August of last year, yet the current exhibition is an expanded exposition where paintings that have come to light in recent years and even in the last few months will be on display. The works have been discovered in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Canada, and Australia. They include both the largest and the smallest known paintings by Konrad Mägi, in addition to the only known work from Mägi’s Copenhagen period, a seascape that has been folded up and hidden behind a closet for years, one of the first watercolours by Mägi from Helsinki, and so on. Visitors will also have the chance to read stories in the exhibition hall about the disappearance of Mägi’s paintings. The exhibition has been put together by the Konrad Mägi Foundation, designed by Mari Kurismaa, and its graphic design is by Mari Kaljuste.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that tells the stories of the disappearance and rediscovery of the paintings. The designer of the catalogue is Angelika Schneider.
The exhibition will be open to the public from 13 October 2023 to 7 January 2024.
Joonas Sildre’s voluminous graphic novel Värviline Mägi (Colourful Mägi) will be published in mid-October. This novel was completed as a product of many years of work. It pictorially sums up the more important turning points in Mägi’s life and oeuvre, stressing various colour schemes in Mägi’s art. Joonas Sildre is the author of a biography of Arvo Pärt, which has earned international recognition. Sildre explores Konrad Mägi within the network of Mägi’s own internal tensions and quests, the international context, and conditions in Estonia in the first half of the 20th century. ‘I have always been interested in what that force is that activates an artist,’ says Sildre. ‘Konrad Mägi appeared to be a prime example of the complicated path of an artist, altogether an archetype, whose life span would be interesting to examine. Yet I knew that to solve the enigma named Konrad Mägi, I would also have to study the deeper colour layers situated beneath the surface and shed light on them.’
The project room exhibition Konrad Mägi in Close-up will be opened at the Kumu Art Museum on 19 October. The exhibition is based on the master’s thesis of Darja Jefimova, the keeper of the painting collection of the Art Museum of Estonia. Nearly thirty Konrad Mägi paintings were documented through technical examinations in the course of that thesis. The exhibition reveals to visitors layers of Mägi’s paintings that cannot be seen with the naked eye: underdrawings, overpaintings, corrections, and changes. Various technical means are used. The exhibition’s designer is Villu Plink and its graphic designer is Külli Kaats.
The exhibition will be open to the public from 19 October 2023 to 14 April 2024.
The Theatrum premiere of Konrad Mägi kirjad (Konrad Mägi’s Letters) will take place on 31 October at the Estonian National Museum. Konrad Mägi’s life story, human relationships, and world view are brought before the audience through Mägi’s own words in Ott Aardam’s musical production. Mägi’s confession-like correspondence allows us to glimpse the development of an artist and his inner attitudes. Theatrum actors read Konrad Mägi’s letters. Georg Jakob Salumäe has composed original music for the production, which will be performed by a string quartet. The next performance of this production will take place on 1 November at the Theatrum theatre hall in Tallinn.
An international conference on Konrad Mägi will be held on the 145th anniversary of the birth of Konrad Mägi on 1 November at the Heino Eller Music School in Tartu. The conference speakers are Pilvi Kalhama, Directress of the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Timo Huusko, Senior Curator at the Ateneum Art Museum, Nils Ohlsen, Director of the Lillehammer Art Museum, and Eero Epner of the Konrad Mägi Foundation. Konrad Mägi’s oeuvre will be placed in various international contexts and his works will be considered from new angles. Pilvi Kalhama will give a presentation entitled ‘Breaking Canons. The Power of Dissidence in Konrad Mägi’s Oeuvre’. In his presentation, Nils Ohlsen will analyse parallels in how Konrad Mägi and members of the Die Brücke art movement went to the seashore on islands and how they found new creative impulses there. Timo Huusko will consider the emergence of Romanticism and Modernism in Konrad Mägi’s landscapes. Eero Epner will speak about the activities of the Konrad Mägi Foundation. All the speakers will also engage in a panel discussion. The conference will be in English with translation into Estonian.
On that same day, the traditional Konrad Mägi Foundation Award will be presented to a person who has done a great deal to popularise the life and work of Konrad Mägi. Hitherto, the painter Tõnis Saadoja, the film director Marianne Kõrver, and Directress of the Espoo Museum of Modern Art Pilvi Kalhama, among others, have earned the award.
A postage stamp from the treasures of the Art Museum of Estonia will be presented – this time the stamp depicts Mägi’s painting of Marie Reisik (1916). Marie Reisik was a suffragette and Mägi’s good friend. Mägi created an extraordinary portrait of her, where a convincing result is achieved using scant painting devices. This is one of the most personal and psychological portraits in Mägi’s oeuvre.
The first episode of a television series on Konrad Mägi will be broadcast on Estonian Television (ETV) at 22:05 on the evening of 1 November. Mägi’s path to art and the importance of people, nature, and colour in his works will be discussed through four episodes. Kristi Kongi, Lola Annabel Kass, Marek Tamm, Tiit Hennoste, Kadi Polli, Kaido Ole, Linda Kaljundi, Tiit Pääsuke, Daniele Monticelli and Tõnis Tatar will analyse Mägi and his era. Shots of locations where Konrad Mägi painted and of his paintings add expressiveness to the episodes. The director of the series is Erle Veber, and the editor is Kai Väärtnõu.
Starting in September, the television series Kunstihetk (A Moment in Art) will be broadcast on ETV on Thursdays after the OP! telecast. Each episode of this series created by Marianne Kõrver brings a painting from Mägi’s oeuvre to viewers and expands upon the backgrounds of each painting and the contexts in which they were created.