Art > Painting > Jaan Elken
Jaan Elken (b. 1954) graduated State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR as an architect in 1977. He taught painting in the same institution from 1988 to 1997 and became a professor at University of Tartu Department of Painting in 1997. He has been an emeritus at the University of Tartu since 2017. As a young artist, he got popular as a hyperrealist and later moved on to abstractionism, which shouldn’t be considered a radical change of direction, however. The absence of recurring “ingredients” is the recurring ingredient of the artist’s work, his travels on cityscapes and mnemonic maps focus on seizing fragments of texts and objects found from everyday experience, often through pain or irony. This might not be him aestheticizing the mundane, but neither is it anything less.