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Evi Tihemets and August Künnapu. Happiness and Everything Else

Curator: Tamara Luuk

From Friday, 6 May, Tallinn City Gallery will host the exhibition Happiness and Everything Else, which brings together artists Evi Tihemets and August Künnapu, professionals and dreamers who are both picturesque and graphic at the same time. The curator of the exhibition is Tamara Luuk.


“August Künnapu’s fragility and the vulnerability of his being fully engaged in culture seem to be in sharp contrast to the bold self-awareness and natural power of Evi Tihemets. Künnapu creates, trusting what is given, Tihemets, on the other hand, shapes according to her will. Nevertheless, the work of art in progress brings happiness to both. And when there is happiness, everything else will fall into place,” says Tamara Luuk, the curator of the exhibition.


Both artists speak in everyday terms and select their imagery from the glorious or not so glorious everyday life and history, yet their attitudes differ. Evi Tihemets’ creativity and playfulness are expressed in masterful techniques and colourful imagery, whereas in August Künnapu’s work they manifest in a child-like and cheerful approach to colour and figures.


Tihemets’ development as an artist aligns with the styles and ways of thinking of the current times and she also draws on her experiences across many decades. She was trained to perform almost all genres of art: portraits, landscapes, still- lives, realistic and abstract compositions. Künnapu, on the other hand, does what he loves and trusts, just what feels true to him and what he knows. He has no interest in still-lives or views of nature; instead, he focuses entirely on people and the world of culture and art. Both artists perform their duty to life and art calmly and without a struggle. Künnapu does it “as thoroughly and accurately as possible”, typical of naïve artists, whereas Tihemets works as a professional who knows how to harness the possibilities of her profession. They do it in different ways, as indeed they should be, both freely following their vocation.

Evi Tihemets (1932) graduated from the State Art Institute in 1958 as a book designer and has worked as a freelance artist ever since. In the 1960s she took an active part in the Estonian art innovation movement, being among the first to introduce colourful abstract images into our print art. Tihemets has had many solo and group exhibitions and received prizes from print art triennials in Estonia and elsewhere. She has also received the Eduard Wiiralt Award (2011) and is a two-times recipient of the Kristjan Raud Prize (1992 and 2013).


August Künnapu (1978) studied at the Estonian Institute of Humanities (1996-1997), which was followed by architecture studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts (1997-2001) and a summer course at the Slade School of Art in London (2000). In 2005-2011 and again since 2018 he has been the editor of Epifanio, the timeless cultural newspaper for readers of all ages. In 2007, Künnapu’s paintings were recognised with the Konrad Mägi Medal and Art Award, and in 2018 with the Kristjan Raud Prize.


On Saturday, 7 May at 2 pm, a curatorial tour with Tamara Luuk will take place at the exhibition. Happiness and Everything Else will remain open at Tallinn City Gallery until 3 July 2022.