Open Wed-Sun 11.00-18.00 / 17 Lai Street Tallinn, 10133 Estonia


PRESS RELEASE 02.11.2007



Ellen Hansen started creative work at the end of 1940s and her works completed in the period of more than 50 years are a remarkable reflection of our culture. In spring 2007 for the first time in Estonian National Museum in Tartu and at the current exhibition in Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design it is possible to see an extensive collection of textile designs.

The idea to organise an exhibition of Ellen Hansen’s designs was formed already a few years ago. The importance of designs in creative work has been emphasised by the author herself and is also visible from the abundance of designs. ”It has always been so that making designs is the most enjoyable work for me”, explains Ellen Hansen in an interview recorded in the spring of 2007. An earlier interview reveals in addition that her secret wish was to study at the State School of Arts and Crafts decorative painting instead. Ellen Hansen has woven carpets herself and in cooperation with weavers, but she has also designed numerous applied textiles as an artist in Tallinn Art Production Factory ARS. The awe-inspiring collection – 62 works – is preserved today in Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design.

The archive of Ellen Hansen’s designs contains dated designs since 1947. The present exhibition offers a sample of works accomplished from 1966 until the end of 90s, when the author worked as a freelance artist in her atelier in Tallinn Art Hall. The main principle behind the choice is to display important themes from different periods. Extra value is added by the abundance of designs; images changing with playful lightness offer a possibility to take part in the design process. This is a part of artist’s creation that so often remains invisible although it is precisely in designs that the author’s specific characteristics, preferences and changes in time are revealed.

The author considers her carpet ”Time” (1990) as one of the most important works for her. This carpet is also on display here and it has given the title to a movie produced as part of the exhibition. The 20-minute movie creates a feeling that the author herself is present and gives explanations – about her studies, colour preferences and important works. Key words of the movie are consistency and continuation of traditions. The time perspective, retrospect to last recordings more than ten years ago in the movie made in Estonian National Museum were possible due to the work of Kadi Alatalu and Estonian television.

Interviews and conversations with the 97-year-old Ellen Hansen recorded in the process of organising this exhibition contain a lot more interesting materials. Also, there are only a small number of designs on display at this exhibition. The author remains modest when commenting on the non-accomplished designs – this is only a design, an idea... In fact, these designs are a treasure which could the basis of creating even more carpets.

This project has come into being owing to the cooperation of Estonian National Museum and Tartu Art College. It is supported by Cultural Endowment of Estonia. The works on display contain items from the collections of Estonian Museum of Applied Art And Design and Liiv Museum, also from private collection.


Curator of the exhibition,
Aet Ollisaar


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