Konrad Mägi’s biggest solo exhibition is being opened in Finland

Meditation (Lady in a Landscape). 1915–1916. Oil on canvas. Art Museum of Estonia

The exhibition Konrad Mägi – The Enigma of Painting is being opened at the EMMA museum in Espoo, Finland today, on 28 September.

Pilvi Kalhama, the director of the EMMA and the exhibition curator has written:

The exhibition presents a broad selection of works by Estonian pioneer of modernism Konrad Mägi (1878–1925). It includes a significant number of Mägi’s surviving paintings, some 150 works in all. In addition to landscapes, the show includes a selection of Mägi’s finest portraits.
Mägi created his first canvases in Åland, having previously studied in St Petersburg. He also briefly studied at the Ateneum in Helsinki. His later travels took him to France, Norway, Germany and Italy and back to Estonia. Mägi was a cosmopolitan who painted what he saw, felt and learned on his travels. He used different forms of expression freely, always using different ways to paint different natural scenes. Mägi differs from many of his contemporaries through his bold use of colour. The idiosyncratic Mägi has, in fact, no comparison in the history of European modernism. Today we are ready to include talents from the periphery to such accounts of the past, thereby widening our understanding of the art of modern era.
Nature was Mägi’s primary inspiration. It was a source of strength and a tool for exploring the potential of painting, the human condition and the mystery of life beyond visible reality. Instead of creating a likeness of the real world, Mägi focused on how to paint and how to express things that could only be communicated in painting. In his fascinating portraits, Mägi’s primary objective was to create a compelling painting. Mägi’s paintings forces portraiture out of the genre’s dusty cabinets.
It has been a pleasure to curate an exhibition that, for the first time and to this extent outside Estonia, showcases the uniqueness of Konrad Mägi’s art. The artist’s ties to Finland have also been a powerful motivator for making Mägi accessible to Finnish audiences.

The exhibition has been organised in partership with the Art Museum of Estonia. The works on display are from the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum, Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Enn Kunila art collection and private collections.

Curator of the exhibition is Pilvi Kalhama, project managers are Pilvi Kalhama and Inka Laine, exhibition designer is Milla Rissanen. The marketing and advertising of the exhibition is supported by Konrad Mägi Foundation in cooperation with the media agency Inspired.

The exhibition Konrad Mägi – The Enigma of Painting will be open until 23 January 2022.