Kaido Ole (b. 1963) lives and works in Tallinn. He studied design and painting at the Estonian Academy of Arts from 1982 to 1992 and has worked at the Academy as a drawing and painting teacher and as a professor in the painting department (2003-2010). He has been a freelance artist from 2010 onwards, having been featured at exhibitions since 1989. In 2003, he represented Estonia at the 50th Venice Biennale, appearing together with Marko Mäetamm under the alias John Smith.
Conceptual painting is at the centre of Kaido Ole’s work. Even though his large paintings are intricately calculated and even seem machine-made, he is in fact also interested in mistakes that occur during the handicraft and painting process. Ole’s theatrical and controversial plots always combine techniques from different painting styles, from geometric abstractionism to pop art and nouveau réalisme.
Instead of directly tackling current events, Ole’s paintings speak about the general power dynamics between people or the artist and the artist’s work, but these positions of power are always ambiguous, absurd and even humorous. He uses different characters to act out the conflicts in the plots – besides his own figure and the comicbook-like bubblehead-man, different surrealist assemblage-creatures have appeared since 2012.
Kaido Ole is a member of the Estonian Artists’ Association. He has received the Kristjan Raud (1998), Konrad Mägi (2012) and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (1999 and 2005) annual art prizes and the Order of the White Star III class amongst other awards. Ole’s works are held in the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum, Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, the European Parliament, the ABLV Bank collection for the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art and the Angerlehner Museum.
(Text by Anneli Porri)
A selection of recent and upcoming solo and group exhibitions includes "A Sparrow in the Hand" with Benjamin Badock in Tallinn Art Hall Gallery (2020); a solo retrospective "Dance at the Lonely Hearts Club" in Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (2019); “Related by Sister Languages. Estonian-Hungarian Contemporary Art Exhibition”, Ludwig Museum, Budapest (2018); "Blind Date", Triumph Gallery, Moscow (2017); "Nogank Hoparniis", Tallinn Art Hall (2016); "The New Building", Tartu Art Museum; "The Meaning of Life", with Marko Mäetamm, FUGA, Budapest (2015); "Freaks", Tallinn Art Hall Gallery; "Typical Individuals", Tartu Art Museum; "100 Painters of Tomorrow", One Art Space, New York (2014); "...oh, and also...", Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn (2013); "Archaeology and the Future of Estonian Art Scenes", KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn; 2003-2011, Novy Museum, Saint Petersburg; "Handsome Hero and Plenty of Still Lifes", KUMU Art Museum; "Collection of Desires. Privatized Art", Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn (2012).