Karen Huber Gallery presents The Past, the Present, the Future. It is like Indigo, Lilac, and Magenta, Kristi Kongi’s second solo show at the gallery. The Estonian artist creates a vibrant and colorful site specific installation for the gallery, which occupies both the Main Room and the Project Room.
For their last exhibition this 2023, they continue with their commitment to show case and support contemporary painting in all its formats. A painter with a remarkable sense of spatiality, Kongi will intervene the gallery space in order to expand the boundaries of painting by creating a vibrant oasis of color within the the gallery's walls. Her work redefines the pictoric experience by merging her paintings with the physical space they inhabit, thus turning the act of painting into an architectural expression. In addition, in The Past, the Present, the Future. It is like Indigo, Lilac, and Magenta Kongi uses color as a tool to document her quotidian.
A regular visitor to our country, she has participated in artistic residencies such as Casa Lü (2023) and DEDAZO (2018). Since 2017 Kongi is the Head and Associate Professor of the Chair of Painting at the Faculty ofFine Arts of the Estonian Academy of Arts. There, she thinks, organizesand defines the curricula of the Painting Faculty.
Kongi’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at aninternational level. Her most recent exhibition being Colours reminded me that life can get so interesting that we forget to be afraid, a solo show at roam (Berlin, Germany). Next year, Kongi has a solo show at Gallery Kogo (Tallinn, Estonia) and aresidency at Ceramica Suro (Guadalajara, Mexico). The artistis currently working ona solo exhibition at Kumu Art Museum (Tallinn, Estonia).
She has been awarded the Estonian Cultural Fund Annual Prize (2020),the Konrad Mägi Prize in (2017), the Young Artist Prize (2011), the SadolinArt Prize (2013) and was nominated for the Köler Prize in 2016. Between2022 - 2024 Kongi is one of the recipients of the national grant for Estonian artists.
Throughout her career Kongi has shown a commitment to the artistic field, thus becoming a reference for contemporary painting. The dynamic and changing character that Kongi confers to her work makes us think of painting as away of documenting different spaces and objects of personal importance in order to capture time. Her works, often reconstructions of specific places, are closely related to the mechanisms of emotional memory, and offer the opportunity to experience the light that colors past situations.
Kristi Kongi Tallinn, Estonia, 1985Lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia.
Kristi Kongi (Tallinn, 1985) is an Estonian painter and installation artist whose work focuses on colour, light, and space, often in paintings which take the form of installations created for specific settings. In her most recent projects Kongi used colour and light as a way to collect and preserve memories, by creating immersive, colourful spatial installations. These works relate to the space where they’re located as well as exploring the memories of the spaces the artist has visited.
Kristi Kongi emerged in the art scene during the 2010s. Her works are characterised by bright colours and the use of personal narratives that have become increasingly abstract. The personal subjects of a young girl’s life, such as love, loneliness, partying and popular culture characterised her first exhibitions –Transformer(2010, Draakon gallery) andHEAVEN(in collaboration alongside Marta Stratskas, 2010 at Vaal gallery).
Her visual language became more abstract during the exhibition Androgynous Mind Machines (a collaborative exhibition alongside Raoul Kurvitz,2013 at Kunstihoone gallery) and with the installation There is Silence Between the Trees at the group exhibition Merike Estna and I’m a Paint-ing (2014, Kumu art museum). It was at this moment when she moved from canvas to immersive spatial installations. In the autumn of 2017 Kristi Kongi held a personal exhibition at Vaal gallery, titled Aberration. Exercises with light and shadow where she used small-scale photographstaken on her research trip to Mexico City as a base for the paintings. Anartist book accompanied the exhibition. In her newer works, Kongi hasbecome even more tied to space and landscapes – using performative elements to explore the topics.
Kristi Kongi studied painting at Tartu Art College (BA, 2004 - 2008) andgraduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts painting department (MA,2008 - 2011). She’s been awarded with Young Artist Prize (2011), Sadolin Art Prize (2013) and was nominated for the Köler Prize in 2016. Kongiwas awarded with the Konrad Mägi Prize in 2017. She is an associate professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts painting department. Kristi Kongi is among the recipients of the national artists’ salary between2022 - 2024. She was awarded with Estonian Cultural Endowment’s an-nual award (2020).
— Karen Huber Gallery