Reiu Tüür’s exhibition “12 Cantos for Rainwater” is the Estonian artist’s symbolic tribute to his homeland. After 10 years spent in Lithuania – the most Southern, but otherwise not so different Baltic country – Reiu Tüür is bringing back art that is connecting the two cultures, tapping into the European heritage, common to us all.
“In Lithuanian, rain is “lietus”, and “Lietuva”, which means Lithuania, may as well be interpreted as the country of the rain. In my exhibition I am talking about the rain, which I have lived in for 10 years”, says Mr Tüür.
“12 Cantos for Rainwater” will take place in two locations simultaneously – in St. John’s Church in Tallinn’s Freedom Square, and in St. Jacob’s Church in Viimsi. Although Reiu will display works from different periods of his life, they are all in one way or another connected to the theme of celebrating the heritage, whether it is a sacral painting from Renaissance or representation of urban spaces, once alive and now forever changed.
The collection created for the St. John’s Church is consisting of 12 paintings inspired by the works collected in the oldest in the world Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. According to Mr Tüür, as the Martin Luther’s process in the 15th century has cleaned Tallinn churches from sacral paintings, his current exhibition aims to fill this gap, serving as a humble gift on the Three King’s Day.
“My oldest son is Jaan, so for me St. John is important personally, not only as one of the major saints in Christianity. St. John, with his dreams of rain in the desert, with turning water into miraculous substance through baptising ritual, provides hope to Estonia and other nations, who suffered greatly in the course of history”, says Mr Tüür.
Urbanistic ideas will be in the focus of Viimsi’s St. Jacob Church exhibition. In the place he used to work and live, the artist will display a number of paintings featuring European cities in the 15th century – from Vilnius to Paris and Mantua.
“I cannot help, but observe similar structure and patterns across different cities. When I paint Vilnius city gates, I also paint Pärnu Morning Gate – both places of worship and entrances to the city. I have a painting of a medieval bridge in Vilnius, which is similar to the Old Bridge in Florence, which, in turn, with its goldsmith ateliers and little shops, is similar to Goldsmiths’ Street in Tallinn, one of the little streets leading to the Town Hall Square”, says the artist.
The works of this part of the exhibition will also include paintings from the 12th-century churches in Gotland, made 20 years ago in Slovakia, and the Coronation of St Mary, from a private collection. In addition, the portraits of Estonian President Lennart Meri, who has been behind the idea of founding Viimsi church and the artist’s grand uncle, the renovator of landmark Estonian buildings before and after the World War II, will be exposed.
“I truly hope that my little contribution to the Estonian art scene will be like a drop of rain, which will render our culture more powerful and alive”, says Reiu Tüür.
Reiu Tüür has graduated from Estonian Academy of Arts in 1998; he has obtained Masters in Arts Management at London City University in 2001. Since 1993, Reiu Tüür has been the member of Kursi Koolkond artist group; he is a member of the Estonian Artists’ Association since 1994. Reiu has been actively exhibiting his work since 1993 in various galleries across the world. The focus of Mr Tüür’s work is celebrating the heritage – lives, which are already forgotten and cities, which can no longer be entered and art, which remains untouched through the turbulent times.
The opening is at 16.00 on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at St. John’s Church, Freedom Square 1, Tallinn