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PRESS RELEASE 06.07.2011



ceramics and graphic art



Imbi Ploompuu (nee Karu, a name she used until 1958) was born on 19 June 1926 in Tallinn. Both her parents worked for the daily Eesti Päevaleht.
Her studies began at the Nõmme basic school (grades 1-6) and continued at the prestigious Tallinn Girls’ School of Commerce. In 1946, she entered the Tallinn State Institute of Applied Art, which was known by the acronym ERKI – Estonian State Art Institute – already by the time she graduated in 1952 with a degree in ceramics.
Even before she received her diploma, Ploompuu became a teacher of drawing, in 1951, followed by a post as a teacher of sculptural anatomy. In 1967, she was promoted to associate professor. She taught students until 1996.
Ploompuu has been a member of the Artists Union since 1958.
Cemented her reputation as a lifelong teacher, Ploompuu also had a long stint at the Tallinn University of Culture teaching drawing and painting fundamentals.
Imbi Ploompuu’s field of interest is not confined to just ceramics or drawing or painting. She has also designed books and woven carpets. Quite a substantial part of her oeuvre consists of graphic small forms, ex libris and illustrations.
Her multifaceted nature as an artist has not gone without recognition.
In 1962, she won a silver medal from a ceramics exhibition in Prague.
Three certificates are from the Łódź small graphic forms exhibition (1981), the Frederikshavn ex libris exhibition (1983) and the Lubin miniature graphic art biennial (1987).
During the 1950s, Ploompuu primarily worked in the field of porcelain painting and designed a number of ceramic framed wall compositions in a style befitting the era, but from the 1960s to the 1990s, she was drawn by various hollow forms, primarily the possibilities of the use of texture on the surface of vases, and nature in all its primal meaningfulness. Starting from the 1970s, her ceramics were characterized by her signature textural style that could be dubbed Ploompuuian, which varied in fineness. Hand-sculpted vessels with thick walls – primarily vases – are graced by details borrowed from nature. Her works – both the material-based and more workaday ceramics as well as her fine art – often display an easy, heartfelt romanticism.
The subtle, sensitive richness of detail of Ploompuu’s graphic art allows her to distil an intense message onto a tiny surface, which compels an attentive viewer to repeatedly look deep within.

Although the Soviet regime made an attempt to wean an entire generation from thinking aloud freely (to quote Ploompuu directly: “Wisdom has arrived: a mouth is for eating, not talking!”), Ploompuu was an artist who speaks, and quite spellbindingly, in at least two artistic dialects at the same time – ceramics and graphic art.
Neither the Soviet occupation nor her heavy workload as a teacher could wean her from that.
Now, right after Imbi Ploompuu’s 85th birthday, it behoves us to join in with her many adherents and students in celebrating her life work and wishing her continued perseverance.


Airi Ligi

+372 627 4605


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