The recent works of Vello Vinn at the Endla Theatre – the same social criticism depicted through the prism of humour, highlighting both contemporary and timeless topics while combining witty wordplay with images. The exhibition will open at 18:30 on 24 July as part of the Printmaking IN Festival.
Vello Vinn has earned international acclaim for his delicate and detailed etchings, and everyone interested in the world of art knows who he is. After a busy 2020, his works also became well known to the wider public. Last year, a large review exhibition was held at Kumu, as well as an exhibition of pop-art reinterpretations of his masterpieces with Kiwa at Tartu Art House, and a massive urban space project on the end wall of an apartment building was completed.
‘Two-sided’ focuses on Vinn’s more recent work. It displays 50 pieces of art, most of which were created in the 2000s. In 1994, Vinn’s career took a significant turn when he moved on from detailed etchings to the drypoint technique. This new method of combining different elements and adding relief to the prints took on great importance, along with intense colour schemes.
The great symbolic language of his earlier works was replaced by refined elements, their overabundance and filled space by a clear and airy message. The exhibition features graphic works that have won a number of international awards, which are less known to the domestic audience, including ‘Leg-Handed’, which won the Golden Needle Award at the 5th International Biennial of Graphic Arts in Uzice in 2001, and ‘Stone Age’, which won the Golden Needle at the same event in 2003.
Most of the new pieces were created as series and thus function as visual wholes in a strong dialogue and specific sequence. This creates a strong narrative for the works. Vinn’s images are often multi-level, with one image turning out to form part of a larger one. Words and images are also interconnected and grow from one another.
Over the years, the artist’s symbolic language has become more decorative and colourful, but his characteristic world of wordplay and surreal associations remains the same. The environment, technology, civilisation and the global developments of humanity continue to be sources of inspiration in the artist’s world.
Vello Vinn (1939) graduated from the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR as a glass artist in 1968 but is now known as a graphic artist and illustrator. Etching and drypoint came to be his favourite techniques. He received his first prize at the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts in 1971, and his last major recognition came in the form of the Kristjan Raud Art Award in 2015 and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia in 2020.