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It all seemed to escape me. There were too many colours. While I only needed one. But others came around for support. And stayed

It all seemed to escape me. There were too many colours. While I only needed one. But others came around for support. And stayed

Watercolour, gel pen on paper, wooden frame, glass
28 × 24 × 2.5 cm
2022
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Introduction

Work from the series Is There Any Light and Colour Left?

During lockdown, Kristi Kongi spent a lot of time in her studio in a relatively safe space compared to other people around the world. Almost unconsciously she started to look up at the sky through her studio windows. There she found the space we all share regardless of our geographical location and political, economic or social situation. Kongi started to paint watercolours, which can be seen as diary entries made during the pandemic. These works are like modern versions of Très Riches Heures, the famous 15th century book of hours, piece by piece revealing the troubled world we now inhabit.

The series of watercolours Is There Any Light and Colour Left? began in 2020 and was first shown in the Kogo Gallery exhibition Time to Dream or Fear? and next in the Tallinn Art Hall exhibition … and Other Shades of Lightin 2021/22.
On June 13-19, 2022, a selection of works from the series Is There Any Light and Colour Left? (2020–2022) are included in the Kogo Gallery project (E)Motional Landscapes together with artists Kristi Kongi and Laura Põld in Liste Art Fair Basel.

About the artist

Kristi Kongi (born 1985) is a painter and installation artist whose work focuses on colour, light, and space. Her brightly coloured paintings often take the form of impressive installations made for specific settings creating effect that Estonian art critic Elnara Taidre described as “painting within a painting” or meta-painting. Besides painting on canvas, walls, floors and ceilings, she also uses various coloured materials such as fabric, plywood and acrylic plastic to create her installations. Her works are based on specific or imagined places, and her observations, emotions and memories. Kristi Kongi is using thorough research and experiments in painting where she trials various colours, light and shade. The artist refers to these experiments as ‘exercises with the moon’. Her work is both poetic – this is also expressed in the titles – as well as systematic and analytical.

Kristi Kongi studied painting at Tartu Art College (BA, 2004-2008) and graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts painting department (MA, 2008-2011). She’s been awarded with Young Artist Prize (2011), Sadolin Art Prize (2013), Konrad Mägi Prize (2017), Estonian Cultural Endowment’s annual award (2021) and was nominated for the Köler Prize in 2016. Kristi Kongi is among the recipients of the national artists’ salary between 2022–2024. She is an Associate Professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts painting department.

See her profile also in the artists’ database by the Estonian Centre for Contemporary Art.

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