“Estonian glass strongly fits in its type into the country from which it originates. It is robust as well as vulnerable, it radiates a sense of calm and sometimes restlessness“, the extraordinary art of glass of her native country is described in this way by Mare Saare, one of the most popular Estonian artists.
When we were confronted with Estonian glass for the first time a few years ago we were immediately fascinated from its expressiveness and clear speech of shape – and we were extremely surprised that in the small Baltic country an independent glass culture has developed at high level almost unnoticed from the West European art scene.
Estonia’s glass scene is still young: It could only freely develop itself in the course of the nineties. During the Soviet period from 1940 thru 1991 there were scarcely any possibilities to work artistically with glass neither conceptionally nor technically. The former glass workshops which were founded in the third of the 20th century were characterized by the mass production to refine imported glass and crystal goods with cold techniques like cutting and engraving. Therefore, the studio glass movement reached Estonia rather late: In 1991 the first furnace was erected by Viivi-Ann Keerdo and Kai Koppel in Tallin. Works of these two pioneers can be seen in the new exhibition. Even though traditionally the cold techniques as well as optical glass play a big role as before the young generation prefers today the work on the furnace that enables almost endless artistic experiments.
With our new exhibition we give an insight into this unusual, young glass scene of Estonia, which is still scarcely known in these parts. Thanks to the great commitment oft he Estonian artists and the curator Kati Kerstna we can present nearly 40 unconventional works which to some extent have been created for our exhibition. It involves 22 Estonian glass artists – renowned personalities who have established themselves in the international scene in the meantime, but also young, creative artists who are going their own particular way.
Rait Prääts, Round table, 2012 – Photo AHH
Mare Saare, Double Fragile, 2013 – Photo Mare Saare
Piret Ellamaa, Do you hear, 2013 – Photo Horst Kolberg
Kati Kerstna, Drums 1+2, 2014 – Photo AHH