Raul Meel / News

Raul Meel’s ‘poetry-text-pictures’ at Vabaduse Gallery

On Thursday, 28 March at 6 p.m. Raul Meel, one of the living classics of Estonian art, opens his solo exhibition Letters from Estonian Songbirds at Vabaduse Gallery. The exhibition will remain open until 24 April 2024.
Since the late 1960s, Meel started to write poetry text-pictures (a term coined by the artist himself) using the sounds made by various Estonian birds. Combining concrete poetry, visual poetry and sound poetry, Meel has transcribed birdsong and presented them as systematic series characteristic to his work. To create his visual and vocal poetry, the artist has turned to the descriptions, transcriptions and hearings of bird sounds. In addition to the information found in ornithological handbooks, he has reminisced what he himself had noticed, seen, heard, experienced and reflected upon, while in nature.
Raul Meel:
“Despite all the research efforts I had made, gaps remained in my imaginary-soon to be born book/books. To fill these, I wrote poetry, produced sounds, and sang myself, instead of the birds. In this way, I persuade the potential viewers-readers to regard my books as living poetry and art, rather than any other kind of collections of text-forms. [– – –]  I think that ornithologists, while trying to make real observations, always also wonder, yearn, imagine, poetize and love birds – because how could one approach them without poetry and art?” – From the introduction to the first edition of the artist’s book Letters from Birds (1974).
The Vabaduse Gallery exhibition presents Raul Meel’s series of text-pictures Letters from Estonian Songbirds which is part of a larger series of albums Letters from Estonian Birds. Its first printed edition, black and white at the time, was published as part of the artist’s book Letters from Birds in 1974. In 2004, the series was reissued in the artist’s book The Chicken Flies, and in 2013, it was presented as an artwork consisting of 32 digitally printed graphic sheets as part of Margit Säde Lehni’s curatorial project While Walking on Salads in the framework of the exhibition Afterlives of Gardens at the Kumu Art Museum. The texts displayed in the exhibition are accompanied by Fred Jüssi’s sound recordings of birdcall captured in Estonia.
Raul Meel (b. 1941) is one of the most recognised Estonian avant-garde artists who has been participating in exhibitions since the beginning of the 1970s. He is known as a pioneer of concrete poetry in Estonia, a printmaker, painter, sculptor, installation and fire performance artist, author of numerous artists’ books, and also a beekeeper. Thematically, Meel has continuously focused on the relationship between nature, technology, poetry and art, his art being an amalgam of visual art and literature, language, text, word, syllables and music, sound, voice, and phonemes.
Meel has exhibited over 300 original artists’ books and albums in more than 50 languages, participated in over 600 group exhibitions and held over 100 solo exhibitions. He has received numerous art awards both in Estonia and internationally and his works belong to museums and private collections all over the world. Meel’s book Solomon’s Song of Songs (2010, edition of 100) is part of Herzog August Bibliothek’s collection in Wolfenbüttel in Germany and has been recognised as one of the most original and beautiful books in the world. He has been a member of the Estonian Artists’ Association since 1987.
Vabaduse Gallery is supported by the Estonian Ministry of Culture, Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Liviko Ltd.
Leškin, Liivia. Kevad Linnas, 2023. Akrüül, grafiit. 150x210cm / Spring in the City, 2023. Acrylic, graphite. 150x210cm
Pildi allikas / Image source: Rasvatihane, Kohlmeise, Parus major, Great Tit. Kumari, Eerik. „Eesti lindude välimääraja” (Valgus, 1984)
Vabaduse galerii
Vabaduse väljak 6, Tallinn                                                      www.galerii.eaa.ee/vabaduse
E-R / Mon-Fri 11.00-18.00                                                                     vabaduse@eaa.ee
L / Sat 11.00-17.00                                                                                 +372 5805 0009

Raul Meel & Krzysztof Piętka


The new exhibition at Tallinn Art Hall’s Lasnamäe Pavilion, Song of Songs by Raul Meel and Krzysztof Piętka, intertwines images, words and sounds into a whole that is – like life around us – horrifying and sublime at the same time. The curator of the exhibition is Tamara Luuk.

How could Song of Songs not touch the bright side of being human? After all, it is one of the most beautiful biblical texts about love? It couldn’t, indeed – despite the fact that our time adds its unpredictable alternation of hot and cold to our tender feelings, and the melodies of our songs cannot escape darkness.

Born in 1941 and garnering numerous international awards since the 1970s, Raul Meel discovered his identity as an artist in the late 1960s. Since then, he has been actively involved in creating both images and texts, functioning as both a performance and installation artist. In the exhibition at Tallinn Art Hall, Meel presents two series of images representing concrete poetry: a selection of word-images from The Song of Solomon and a work titled They Are OursPrayers, containing a list of forced labor camps taken from Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago.

Krzysztof Piętka, born in Oświęcim in 1990 and a graduate of the Art Academy in Katowice with a degree in painting, mirrors Raul Meel’s relentless creativity through his obsessive exploration of the Holocaust. Krzysztof’s paintings, characterised by laconic, mostly well-defined forms and vibrant colours, pulsate so intensely that they evoke the terrifying throb of living flesh and blood.

“Evil deeds were not confined to the Gulag. All tribulations, suffering and redemption are intertwined with us, us, us…”, Raul Meel says in the text accompanying his Gulag-themed series. Painted with a confident hand, Krzysztof Piętka’s message, tinged with anxiety, is personal and powerful, essentially conveying the same idea: the place where I live remembers horrors and cruelty, but it is still my home.

The essence of the Song of Songs exhibition lies in the shared exploration by Raul Meel and Krzysztof Piętka, despite their differences in age, recognition and artistic approach, into the coexistence and interweaving of good and evil, beauty and ugliness, horror and sublimity.

The exhibition was designed by Anu Vahtra.

The exhibition Song of Songs is open at Tallinn Art Hall’s Lasnamäe Pavilion from 9 March to 19 May 2024.


Further information
Madli Ehasalu
Project Manager of Tallinn Art Hall
+372 5621 8422

10th August 2023 in Kohila Tohisoo manor at the opening of Italian, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian graphic art

Italian ambassador  Daniele Rampazzo gave a letter to Raul Meel from the president of  Vicenza UNESCO club:


On behalf of the UNESCO Club of Vicenza, I am delighted to announce the acceptance of Raul Meele’s work, in the context of the exhibition, of prints Mirror – Face to Face 2023, held in Villa Caldogno, one of Andrea Palladio’s masterpieces inscribed on the UNESCO heritage list in Caldogno, Vicenza.


Raul Meel is regarded as one of the most distinctive and representative European artists of our time, and not just the pride of the Baltic States.


We are honoured to welcome such a powerful artist to an exhibition that aims to represent one of the Club’s main UNESCO ambitions each year: artistic dialogue and the meeting of different cultures in a spirit of brotherhood and peace. This is what inspired the founders of UNESCO.


Francesca Bressan

President of the UNESCO Club – Vicenza

Art Museum of Estonia (Kumu), exhibition “Thinking Pictures”.

An exhibition in cooperation with: Art Museum of Estonia Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (USA).

The focus of the research exhibition Thinking Pictures, which has been prepared in cooperation with the Zimmerli Art Museum in the United States since 2016, was supposed to be a dialogue between Baltic and Moscow artists in the 1970s and 1980s. A few weeks before the opening of the exhibition, Russia started a war against Ukraine, and the dialogue on recent history has acquired an entirely new context…

WHERE: Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn
WHEN:  18.03.-14.08.2022
Curators: Anu Allas (Estonian Academy of Arts), Liisa Kaljula (Art Museum of Estonia) and Jane Sharp (Zimmerli Art Museum and Rutgers University)

Tallinn Art Hall, exhibition “We’ll Be Right Back, You Just Keep Playing!”.

Having a child means dedicating a large part of your life to them. And, if you happen to be an artist, the inner child sneaks into your creation in every possible way: as a co-creator, entrusting their fantasies to you or sublimating your own tenderness and care. But not only that. Although Estonian art usually tends to be rather serious, you can indeed find joyful play in it – not only in the subject matter of the works of art, but also in their structure and development, their lines, colours and volumes. It is also found in the artist’s idea, to which the viewer adds their own experience, because it is very important for an art lover to be willing to play along! Only then can we join Raul Meel, the most venerable and one of the oldest artists in this exhibition, in saying that “the precondition for eternal life is noticing the beauty in playing” Interview with the curator Tamara Luuk.

WHERE: Vabaduse väljak 8, Tallinn
WHEN:  19.03.-
Curator: Tamara Luuk

18th Tallinn Print Triennial

Artists: ArtLeaks | Jasmina Cibic | Hubert Czerepok | Agnes Denes | Igor Eškinja | Oxana Gourinovitch | Ferenc Gróf | Flo Kasearu | Eva Koťátková | Volodymyr Kuznetsov | Irena Lagator | Olson Lamaj | Marko Mäetamm | Alexander Manuiloff | Dóra Maurer | Raul Meel | Katja Novitskova | Dan Perjovschi | Géza Perneczky | Nada Prlja | Kaisa Puustak | Driton Selmani | Slavs and Tatars | Société Réaliste | Bojan Stojčić | Endre Tót

WHERE:  Kai Art Center | Temnikova & Kasela Gallery | Põhjala Tap Room | EKA Gallery | Flo Kasearu House Museum | Liszt Institute Tallinn | Kanuti Gildi SAAL
WHEN: 22 January – 27 March 2022
Curator: Róna Kopeczky

Tallinn Art Hall Gallery, Raul Meel’s exhibition “Estonian Identities”

WHERE: Vabaduse väljak 6, Tallinn
WHEN:  13.08.-08.09.2021
Curator: Reet Varblane

St. John’s Church in Tallinn, Raul Meel’s exhibition “Banks on Both Sides”

WHERE: Vabaduse väljak 1, Tallinn
WHEN:  13.08.-08.09.2021
Curator: Erkki Juhandi


(info@vernissage.ee , tel: +372 6544940)

WHERE: Auction takes place at Hilton Tallinn hotel and online (the exhibition is opened in Vernissage gallery, Uus-Tatari 23, Tallinn)
WHEN:  Auction 21. november, 2020 (exhibition in Vernissage starting from 27. october, 2020)

The Center for Creative Industries Fabrika in Moscow, the presentation of Sergei Lotsmanov’s art project’s “”art journal” Arvo Pärt” first number dedicated to Raul Meel’s work.

CONTAINS: Raul Meel, Они Наши (Gulag prayers), see here

WHERE: Perevedenovski rada 18, Moscow
WHEN:  23 July, 2020

Creative City’s Outdoor Gallery Raul Meel’s exhibition “Truth and Justice: the elders”, Tallinn Biennial

WHERE: Telliskivi 60a, Tallinn
WHEN:  opening 3 July at 6 pm, opened until September 2020
Admission to the exhibition is free.