The Tartu Art Museum is pleased to present the solo exhibition “Verbarium” by Krista Leesi. Visitors will be greeted by a world of patterns inspired mainly by Tartu but also by Paris and Tallinn. As the title suggests, the author uses nuanced wordplay to offer new interpretations to the Leaning Building of Barclay de Tolly, where the museum is located, the two-storey sheds, or “kallerei”, that are so characteristic of the city, the graffiti covered traffic signs of Tartu and Paris and other elements from urban environments.

Krista Leesi (b 1966) is an Estonian textile artist and designer whose oeuvre is characterised by a clever conceptual union of language and visuals. Leesi’s interventions offer new and pointed meanings to familiar objects, images and environments. She finds an original way to join together the historical methods and practices of textile art, different materials and contemporary ideas. Her works lead the viewer to discover hidden meanings, to create connections between various narratives and to indulge in playful contemplations.

The technically adept execution and striking design language of Leesi’s oeuvre offer aesthetic experiences and practical aspects in parallel with gripping content. This is a magnificent example of the way the boundaries between design and contemporary art have become vague. Leesi’s works are made unique by the fact that both art and design are equally important: they are highlighted successfully and with intensity.

Krista Leesi’s exhibition joins together two directions that are important to the Tartu Art Museum: exhibiting significant contemporary authors and presenting notable examples of design and applied arts to the public in southern Estonia. It is made even more noteworthy by Leesi’s skill and interest in approaching the exhibition with location-specific ideas, by joining Tartu to the wider context of her oeuvre and thereby adding it to her “world map”.

Curator: Joanna Hoffmann

  window dressing

  Photos by Hedi Jaansoo, Jüri Seljamaa, Heino Prunsvelt, Anu Lemsalu, Krista Leesi