Popkunst Forever - Estonian Pop Art - Sirje Helme

Kumu Art Museum


Popkunst Forever: Estonian Pop Art at the Turn of the 1960s and 1970s by Sirje Helme / ISBN 9789949908639 / 220-page paperback with flaps, 8.75 x 10.25 inches, bilingual English and Estonian


The Sixties saw the arrival of Pop Art in Estonia. The turnaround that reformed the understanding of high culture and low culture, professionalism and creativity, copying and kitsch, could today be called a paradigm change. Although initially it was just a marginal phenomenon in art life, the principles introduced into art by young artists began to appear in the work of their older colleagues, as well as in applied art, fashion, interior design and film. The aesthetics and ideology of Modernism were exchanged for pop culture.

Pop Art as a separate art form reached the public via two exhibitions: SOUP’69, held in 1969 in the Pegasus café in Tallinn, and Progressive Estonian Artwork in 1970, in the same venue. The organizers were Ando Keskküla, Leonhard Lapin and Andres Tolts, who were studying design and architecture at the time at the Estonian State Art Institute. Most of the exhibits were assemblages and pop-objects. The work did not correspond with the accepted notion of professionalism, but it was defiantly confident, and contained everything: clumsiness, experimentation, playfulness and stretching the limits.

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