Epifanio
Epifanio 1 Epifano 2 Epifanio 3 Epifano 4 Epifanio 5 Epifanio 6 Epifanio 7 Epifanio 8 Epifanio nr 9 Epifanio nr 10 Epifanio nr 11 Epifanio 12
Epifanio 13 Epifanio 14 Epifanio 15 Epifanio 16 Epifanio 17              
All kinds of feedback is welcome. CONTACT: augustkunnapu@gmail.com
800

Eestikeelsed artiklid

EDITORIAL

EPIFANIO RECOMMENDS

RARITIES IN MY RECORD COLLECTION
Rhythm Doctor

A FEW WORDS ABOUT DIGITAL GRAPHICS OF SINDY ILVES

FIELDS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Mait Vaik

PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST. JUKA KÄÄRMANN
Mehis Heinsaar

INTERVEW WITH JÜRGEN-KRISTOFFER KORSTNIK
August Künnapu

SHAKING OFF THE SHACKLES OF PREJUDICES IN ART
Vilen Künnapu

LIFE AND WORK OF KALJO SIMSON
Helen Kooviste

INTERVIEW WITH JAMES JOHNSTON
Harry Pye

TEAM

LIFE AND WORK
OF KALJO SIMSON (1929 – 2017)

Kaljo Simson

Kaljo Simson. 1960ies, 2016

Kaljo Simson was born in Kuressaare in the family of Emilie Louise Simson and the prominent wrestler of Saaremaa Island, Aleksander Sannik. In 1930, Kaljo had a sister, Evi-Marte. Father did not stay with the family. When war broke out, mother and children settled in Pärnu. After mother's death in 1942, Kaljo and Evi were adopted by schoolmaster Leppoja's family. In 1944 they emigrated to Sweden. Kaljo never got used to his foster parents. He left Sweden, had the adoption annulled and took back his mother's name Simson. Sister Evi remained with her foster parents in Sweden.

In 1949, at the age of 19, he tried to return from Sweden to Estonia. He was detained in Leningrad oblast, suspected of espionage, and sentenced to 10 years in a prison camp. Kaljo Simson spent those years in the steppes of Kazakhstan in the GULAG's hard labour camps Jekibastuz and Steplag. Hardships suffered during the best years of his youth left a trace for the rest of his life.

After his release in 1956 Kaljo Simson lived in Pärnu, where he worked in construction and finished secondary school. In 1963 he started at the faculty of physics and mathematics at the Tartu State University, but in 1966 became a student of architecture at the State Art Institute in Tallinn, which he graduated in 1970.

He showed great talent in drawing already in his childhood and took part in school exhibitions both in Estonia and in Sweden. According to the artist, about 500 drawings, watercolours and oil paintings were destroyed during his arrest in 1949. He managed to work as an artist in the camp, accepting commissions. Works from that period include postcard designs, sketches and portrait drawings. Simson developed a keen interest in depicting human faces and nature, which continued later throughout his creative career.

Hobbi

Kaljo Simson. Hobby.
Oil on cardboard. 100 x 132 cm 1980ies

Tehislindude vabrikus

Kaljo Simson. In a Factory of Artificial Birds.
Oil on cardboard. 100 x 131 cm 1977

His first personal displays happened when he was a student of architecture. Between 1967 and 1972 Kaljo Simson displayed his works on several occasions under the joint name “Man and Nature”. Kaljo's work differed considerably from the average art trend of the time and evoked conflicts with general art public. The exhibition in cinema ''Kosmos'' in 1972 was allegedly taken down by the Artists' Union after just one week.

Kaljo Simson only rarely managed to display his work at art exhibitions organised by the Artists' Union, although he presented his works to all big spring and autumn exhibitions. Simson participated in the overview display in Finland called ''Estonian art. Eestiläisen taiteen myyntinäyttely’' (1977) and ARS ESTONICA 88 (1988). Magazine “Estonian Woman” published a photograph of Kaljo Simson's ''Suspicions” on the inside page of the front cover of its first issue 1991. In 1998 Simson's 11 paintings were displayed in the Pärnu Chaplin Art Centre's exhibition "People and Giraffes" along with Mark Kostabi, Navitrolla and Van der Blut.

Probleem

Kaljo Simson. Problem. Oil on cardboard.
100 x 131 cm 1980ies

At the same time with his artistic efforts, astrophysics, chemistry and other sciences found practical outlets in his experiments, inventions and research. Simson has several patents to his name. He invented drawing charcoal, called simsoniit, was extensively used in his own portraits, and was much appreciated also among Art Institute teachers and students. Another of his invention was the equally popular soft eraser.

In 1971 Kaljo Simson married an art student Sirje Tohver. They had two children, Hüllo-Kristjan (b. 1971) and Helen (b. 1973). They divorced in 1975. In 1992 the artist met an exile Estonian Tiiu Holldén. Both were fascinated with art and nature, and moved in together, first in Tallinn and then in Sweden, in the town of Västervik. In 2003 Simson decided to settle in Sweden.

Simson continued with his art until 2014, painting portraits in summer months in Västervik's holiday resort area. A number of small-format nature motifs also date to that period from his travels and outings with Tiiu.

In 2014, supported by the Estonian National Culture Foundation, Kaljo Simson's daughter Helen Kooviste began cataloguing the artist's works with the aim of bringing it back to Estonia. She visited him in Sweden in summer of 2015 and 2016. In summer 2016 Kaljo Simson returned to Estonian because of his deteriorating health. Here his life came to an end. Daughter Helen continues promoting her father's work.

HELEN KOOVISTE
(text abridged by A.K.)

KALJO SIMSON ABOUT HIS ART:
Right art is the only healthy art, where all creatures and things of the world operate boldly – my artworks are like that too.

The criterion of art, like of any other science, is the perfection of abilities. Art is a skill achieved by work, by training the talent to convey a theme and content chosen to be displayed.

Face is sanctity.

Tiivasirutus ookeanil

Kaljo Simson. Spreading Wings Across the Ocean. Oil on cardboard. 100 x 132 cm 1980ies