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PRESS RELEASE 14.12.2012



In November 2012 it was twenty years since the death of Vello Soa. The Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design is commemorating the anniversary by presenting Jüri Kermik’s virtual installation ‘To a Friend’.



Vello Soa, Estonian glass artist, studied in Tartu Art School (1970-74), Estonian State Art Institute (1977-79), and in the Monumental Glass Studio of Prof Stanislav Libensky at the Higher Applied Art School, Prague (1979-81).

During the 1980s, Vello Soa emerged as a leader establishing a new direction in Estonian glass by extending his creative and technical range towards architectonics in glass. This involved working mainly with the ‘cold’ technique, using laminated sheet glass, cutting, grinding and polishing to create interesting aesthetics of internal spatial arrangements within the minimalist form (“Triangular”, 1986; “Spruce”, 1987) and resulting optical effects (“Life in the Tower”, 1989). In collaboration with glass artists Eve Koha and Ivo Lill, Vello Soa created monumental glass objects which were exhibited as part of the ground-breaking Estonian glass exhibitions “Belvedere” (Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, 1989) and Finnish Museum of Glass (1990). Vello Soa’s work is part of permanent collections in the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design and Finnish Museum of Glass.


Jüri Kermik: TO A FRIEND - Vello Soa, 11.6.1955 – 8.11.1992




I took this picture of Vello in the summer of 1979 in Kõpu, Viljandi. We were spending a worriless week in Vello’s parental home enjoying the hospitality of his family. High blue skies of the Southern Estonia seemed to have endless capacity in accommodating our future plans and creative ambitions. Vello was preparing to start his studies in Professor Stanislav Libensky’s glass studio at the Academy of Arts in Prague, I was about to continue my degree in interior design in Tallinn. During the week spent in Kõpu we carried out a spatial installation contrasting the dilapidated environment of the village hall with the purity of geometric forms and the passing of light and time. This became our first joint project, recorded as a series of photographs which have remained unpublished.

Thirteen years later it was my turn to leave Estonia. In September 1992, I moved to London to continue my design studies at the Royal College of Art. Vello died two months later.


Last year before Christmas, while visiting the Academy of Arts in Prague, I paused for a moment in the glass studio where Vello studied. I was told that nothing had changed there since. While standing in this quiet space which seemed as if stopped in time, I realised that in November 2012 it will be twenty years since he died.

The trip to Prague became a starting point for a commemorative project which is launched today with the support from the Estonian Museum of Applied Arts and Design. I would like to thank Merike Alber and Kai Lobjakas for their endorsement and for opening the museum’s virtual space for its launch.


‘To a Friend’ is a project where three-dimensional object space is combined with additional dimensions of the material, language, time and sound. Soundspace is designed by a musician software developer Thor Magnusson.


You are invited to enter the project here:


To Vello


With best regards,


Jüri Kermik


December 2012

Further information:

Jüri Kermik  

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