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Indepth Arts News:

"Peeter Mudist: Third Retretti Winter Exhibition"
2005-03-12 until 2005-04-17
Kunsthalle Helsinki
Helsinki, , FI Finland

The third winter exhibition of the Retretti Art Centre in Kunsthalle presents work by Peeter Mudist, one of the top names in Estonian art. Known especially for his portrayal of moods and inner landscapes, Mudist belongs to the 1970s generation of artists who introduced a distinctly individualistic emphasis in Estonian art. Mudist is currently one of Estonia's the best-known and most idiosyncratic artists, who has earned the esteem of both the art world and the public at large. The exhibition features close on a hundred paintings and sculptures from the 1970s to today. Some of the works have never before been publicly exhibited.

Peeter Mudist (b. 1942) studied painting at the Estonian State Art Institute from 196367, when the atmosphere in Estonia was relatively relaxed and optimistic, in keeping with the general mood of the 1960s. Although living under Soviet rule imposed restrictions on artistic freedom, it was easier to get information about the development of art abroad than in earlier decades. At its clearest, intellectual protest against the prevailing political system was reflected in painting as an aesthetic emphasis. Everyday life was portrayed poetically and with a flamboyant palette, and the paintings often contained a great deal of symbolism. Like many other artists, Mudist too withdrew into his personal visual world. Mudist has remained faithful to his early style, and he has never allied himself with trends or groups. Over the years, his work has acquired greater personality and maturity, reflected in the intensity of colour and his choice of subject matter, technique and media.

Mudist's art has a childlike zest for life and powerful expressiveness. The works are suffused with lyricism and a dreaming quality, but also nostalgia, sorrow, longing and tragic allusions. Mudist has become known above all for his portraits of inner moods and landscapes, yet his paintings are figurative and often depict known persons and places. Quite often Mudist chooses as his models cultural luminaries from his own inner circle in Estonia.

Mudist has Parkinson's disease, which limits his mobility and social interaction. But he has turned his physical disability into mental strength: he directs all his energies into his creative work, which apart from hundreds of paintings also includes graphic works and sculpture, as well as countless notebooks containing his observations of life and creativity. "Art for me is identification, the recognition of oneself in the surrounding world," says Peeter Mudist.

Earlier works in the show are on loan from the Art Museum of Estonia, the Tartu Art Museum and the Tallinn Art Hall. Works made in the 1990s and later are from private collections in Finland and Estonia.

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