On 12 November, Tartu Art Museum’s Project Space opens an exhibition about the influential art collector Matti Milius (1945–2015). The exhibition primarily focuses on his network of contacts outside Tartu. Many stars of the 20th century avant-garde from Milius’s collection like Ilya Kabakov and Leonhard Lapin are included. The exhibition “Milius the Explorer” will remain open until 31 December.
The aim of the exhibition is to shed light on Matti Milius as a curator, collector and a personality inside Estonia and abroad. The title “Milius the Explorer” references his ambition to extend the geographical limits of his collection. He was active both as a collector and curator already during the Soviet Era and also during later years. Most of the works he collected were by artists from Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and other communist countries. After Estonia re-gained its independence, Finnish works were also included. Matti Milius’s collection was one of the largest in Estonia: at its height it included over 150 paintings and about 2000 prints and ex-librises. During his lifetime, he received works from hundreds of artists and usually free of charge. Milius was mostly interest in his contemporary avant-garde and the unofficial art of the Soviet Era.
The stories about Milius, that can be seen and heard at the exhibition, form the history of his collection. Milius’s relationship with an artist was personal and therefore the collection mostly consisted of works by his friends and acquaintances. His pseudonym Moguči and Milius’s participation in various happenings have also been included to introduce him as a natural performer: a characteristic that is always useful for a collector. The exhibition includes many photos, interviews, texts and artefacts connected to Matti Milius. Many significant avant-garde works from Milius’s collection have also been included that he received on his journeys to Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia.
The present exhibition is part of the archive project Tartu’88 that maps the art life in Tartu over the last 25 years.
Participating artists: Elena Balsiukaitė-Brazdžiūnienė (LT), Ilmārs Blumbergs (LV), Gleb Bogomolov (RU), Haralds Elceris (LV), Toomas Griin, Aime Hansen, Jorma Hautala (FI), Danutė Jonkaitytė (LT), Ilya Kabakov (RU/US), Linas Leonas Katinas (LT), Raivo Kelomees, Lauri Kulpsoo, Leonhard Lapin, Tõnu Noorits, Miervaldis Polis (LV), Ain Protsin, Eduard Šteinberg (RU), Raivo Tasso, Malev Toom, Reiu Tüür, Silver Vahtre and Toomas Vint
Curator: Ruuda Liisa Malin
Co-ordinator: Peeter Talvistu
Exhibition team: Nele Ambos, Merli-Triin Eiskop, Joanna Hoffmann, Mare Joonsalu, Hanna-Liis Kont, Kadri Mägi ja Ago Teedema
Thanks: Renna Ali, Mati Aun, Inese Baranovska, Lilija Dinere, Viktor Gurov, Pikkar Joandi, Tiiu Kimber, Kaisa Kivimaa, Mart Lepp, Jane Liiv, Harry Liivrand, Jaan Malin, Vladimir Pavlov, Tiina Piikmann, Olga Pole, Margus Punab, Kristjan Raba, Inga Rätsep, Aet Sorokolet, Riho Suurmets, Toms Zvirbulis, Peeter Urbla and Andris Vitolins
The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.