Today an exhibit by the grand old man of Estonian art, Leonhard Lapin, will be opened in the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki at 16.00. The exhibit is made up of a selection of pieces from the artist’s series of graphic works entitled “Machines” done in the 1970s. The exhibit will be opened by Estonian Ambassador to Finland Merle Pajula, and well-known Finnish artists Jorma Hautala, a friend and contemporary of Lapin, will talk about the idea of the exhibit and its parallels with today.
In Leonhard Lapin’s own words the picture series “Machines”, which can be seen at the Helsinki embassy from today until the end of March, is not just a series of drawings about technology, but a conceptual series with a philosophical subtext. The artist describes it as such: “In analysing machines, technology, and the artificial environment, I came to the conclusion in 1972 that the world of machines is a new stage of development in nature, the structure of a new reality. This reality does not only contain individual machines, but artificial objects and new technologies, structures and processes in the widest sense possible, right down to the pollution of the environment, modern hierarchies, industrial societies, and globalisation.”
Professor Leonhard Lapin works in fine arts and architecture as well as literature. He has sometimes been called an “orchestra”. Leonhard Lapin graduated from the architecture department of the Estonian Academy of Arts in 1971, but the majority of his works still fall into the category of fine arts. In occupied Estonia Lapin became a critic of the Soviet cultural policy; his art blazed a trail for an entire generation of artists. At the beginning of his career he found inspiration for his works from Russian avant-garde and constructivism and from American pop art.
Together with his colleagues, in 1968 Lapin formed the SOUP 69 artists’ group, which organised exhibits that tried to push the envelope. The boundaries were found very fast. The headstrong artist wound up on a blacklist; museums and other official circles no longer bought his works. Lapin began to design private homes, which provided him with enough financial resources to create art. After the opening of the borders, Lapin formulated the central facets of his art instruction in Finland. He has worked at the Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts and the Kankaanpää Art School. Since 1995 Lapin has been a professor of general design and colour instruction at the Estonian Academy of Arts.
Lapin is one of the best-known Estonian artists internationally. His main themes are taking note of language and space as well as the relationships between nature, machines and people. He works very systematically and frequently creates large series of works. In recent years his materials have included one of the most well-known contemporary symbols—the bar codes printed onto packages. Last year the Finnish art public was able to see a retrospective of Lapin’s works from the 1960s to today at the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum in Turku and in the Hämeenlinna Art Museum.
You can visit the Estonian Embassy to see the exhibit on workdays from 9.00-17.00 at a time agreed upon with the embassy secretary. The secretary can be reached at (358 9) 622 02 60 of by email at .
Leonhard Lapin Exhibit Opened Today in Estonian Embassy in Helsinki