Saturday, May 13, 2006

KUMU: the sparkling new Kunst (Art) Museum of Estonia

On Friday, I finished five days of straight training: talking for almost 6 hours each day, repeating the same seminar (and jokes....just hilarious!). I spent Saturday wandering around Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia. It is a beautiful city, with a large, incredibly well-preserved Old Town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I started the day by heading to KUMU, the sparkling new Kunst (Art) Museum of Estonia. It is a remarkable building with an excellent array of creativity. Whenever I visit a city for the first time, I always seek out the main art museum/gallery. I believe that one of the most human (that is, beyond mammalian) acts is to create, and art (a creation that is generally not tied to concrete purpose or objective, as compare to, say, an automobile or microwave machine) is the most direct expression of the mind (of course, functional objects often are works of art as well). I feel so fortunate to have been able to visit places like the Prado, London's National Gallery, Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, and many more over the years.

The most striking of all the works I saw at KUMU was Ever is Over All by Pipilotti Rist. Here is a description of the work: "In Ever Is Over All, a young woman in a light blue dress merrily walks along the street with a huge, colorful, long-stemmed tropical flower in her hand. She smashes the flower into the windows of parked cars as she passes them."

That sort of captures a part of the work. At KUMU, it was projected onto two walls of a large room (each wall perhaps 25 feet in length). One wall shows the woman strolling down the street and occasionally and clearly with great exuberance smashing a car window. The other wall shows a field of the flowers the woman is holding (not that it could really be one of those flowers, as it pretty smoothly breaks through car glass). As and after she breaks a window, the woman is enraptured. A policewoman walks by at one point and salutes her. And rolling over all the action is very melodic, slightly haunting music.

I found it very exhilarating. I hope at some point it will be fully viewable from the web; do check out her website to see some of her other pieces. I took a fifteen second clip of the piece, but I don't want to post it without her permission.

OK, it is now 7:45 PM, and the sun is still very high in the sky. Time to venture forth once again from the Radisson and wander the Old Town.

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