Exhibition > Past > Haus Gallery

Haus Gallery 16.12.2008-30.01.2009

Out of the blue

Malle Leis has been considered to be one of the pillars of Estonian pop-art. It was namely her clear and delightful colour surfaces, optimistic carelessness, large images and youthful dash that paved the road for the local pop-art. However – as was the case with many of her colleagues – Leis was not fascinated by the same things as the Western authors. She was not inspired by the modern artificial environment, urban milieu, everything-for-sale mentality or the invasion of pop-culture. Already in the 1960ies Leis rather focused time and again on the opposite of it all – nature, harmonious world, feel of the living.

The older part of Estonian art history is mainly the history of nature depiction. If we put Konrad Mägi, Nikolai Triik, Ado Vabbe’s late works, Aleksander Vardi, Johannes Võerahansu, Eerik Haamer or Richard Uutmaa side to side, we see that nature is always their main motif. Also human figures can be seen, sometimes more, sometimes less, but in its core it concentrates on admiring nature (of the homeland) in impressionist colouring. It is said that the 60ies altered all that. A generation had grown up that did not have its roots so deep in Estonian rural society any more and their childhood has passed not on the fields and tending grazing sheep but taking tram-rides and wandering in slums. Their outlook on the world was different altogether and therefore altogether different values are manifested in their works.

However, it can be noticed in case of both Leis and several others that to a certain amount they feel foreign to the urban artificial environment. So, for example, Rein Tammik repeatedly leaves various technological elements to rust in the middle of a lush meadow, thus contrasting the things alien to life and the ones living. And Malle Leis, too, is never enthused about machinery but consistently conveys admiration for nature in her works. Yet she is indeed different in her approach than the whole earlier Estonian art history. Her joy is pure, images clear; she is not ashamed or vague but straightforward, even full of bravura. This interesting combination – bold form and romantic message – has been the essence of Leis’s creative work for years already.

The current exhibition reveals yet another side in Malle Leis’s art. We can see that the artist is still not “ready” – she continues to experiment with formats, colours, form, motifs. It is not experimentation in the bad sense of the word, but seeking. On one hand she has, of course, found her theme and approach but still she keeps searching. One could say that with the current display Leis is pursuing the familiar – she knows already what she wants to find but the important thing here is the way how it is being searched for. And this exploring mind makes Leis’s works as passionate and thirsty as before. Every new picture is a discovery for her. The discovery that the nature and the art of painting can reveal themselves from that angle as well.

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Teema mustas
Malle Leis
Teema mustas
2008. oil on canvas 90 x 90 cm (framed)
price 2 493
Variatsioon sinises I
Malle Leis
Variatsioon sinises I
2008. oil on canvas 35 x 140 cm (framed)
price 2 047
Variatsioon sinises II
Malle Leis
Variatsioon sinises II
2008. oil on canvas 35 x 140 cm (framed)
price 2 047
Variatsioon sinises III
Malle Leis
Variatsioon sinises III
2008. oil on canvas 35 x 140 cm (framed)
price 2 047
Variatsioon sinises IV
Malle Leis
Variatsioon sinises IV
2008. oil on canvas 35 x 35 cm (framed)
price 960