Paintings by Endel Kõks at Tartu College
Archived Articles 21 Sep 2007 Eda SeppEWR
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In connection with the Poetry Theatre Ilutuli presentation at Tartu College on October 10, six paintings from the collection of Urve Karuks by Estonian artist Endel Kõks (1912-1983) will be exhibited. Kõks was the foremost Estonian painter in exile, best known for his large-scale abstractions and portraits, in which he combined figurate elements with non-objective colour patterns and symbols to express the sitter’s personality and interests.

In his large abstract paintings brilliant, explosive colours are masterfully controlled with an exquisite gift for nuances. Flat patterning, juxtaposed with transparent, overlapping layers of colour, create an impression of vibrating, floating space where tensions and a sense of magic seem to be buried beneath the point of visibility. In contradiction to traditional methods, where an illusion of depth and space is created within a painting, Kõks’s forms fluctuate in a dancing rhythm close to the picture plane, seemingly intruding outwards into the spectator’s space, so that the central forces of the composition almost collide with the viewer’s gaze to create a forceful emotional impact.

In Kõks’s paintings an intellectual idea or spiritual concept always looms behind the often abstract, visible forms. The artist spent much of his last years travelling to ancient cultural centres in Europe and America and combined the primordial essence of these cultures within his works – the complex, multi-levelled fusion of the mythological primitive and the present, of history and today.

Although the main focus of Ilutuli will be on the poetry of Betti Alver, the evening will present a rare opportunity to see the works of one of the greatest Estonian exile painters from a private collection.
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