Kristi Kongi (1985) is an Estonian painter and installation artist whose work focuses on colour, light, and space, often in paintings which take the form of installations created for specific settings. In her most recent projects Kongi used colour and light as a way to collect and preserve memories, by creating immersive, colourful spatial installations. These works relate to the space where they’re located as well as exploring the memories of the spaces the artist has visited.
Kristi Kongi emerged in the art scene during the 2010s. Her works are characterised by bright colours and the use of personal narratives that have become increasingly abstract. The personal subjects of a young girl’s life, such as love, loneliness, partying and popular culture characterised her first exhibitions – ‘transformer’ (2010, Draakon gallery) and ‘HEAVEN’ (in collaboration alongside Marta Stratskas, 2010 at Vaal gallery).
Her visual language became more abstract during the exhibition Androgynous Mind Machines (a collaborative exhibition alongside Raoul Kurvitz, 2013 at Kunstihoone gallery) and with the installation ‘There is Silence Between the Trees’ at the group exhibition ‘Merike Estna and I’m a Painting’ (2014, Kumu art museum). It was at this moment when she moved from canvas to immersive spatial installations. In the autumn of 2017 Kristi Kongi held a personal exhibition at Vaal gallery, titled ‘Aberration. Exercises with light and shadow’ where she used small-scale photographs taken on her research trip to Mexico City as a base for the paintings. An artist book accompanied the exhibition. In her newer works, Kongi has become even more tied to space and landscapes – using performative elements to explore the topics.
Kristi Kongi studied painting at Tartu Art College (BA, 2004-2008) and graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts painting department (MA, 2008-2011). She’s been awarded with Young Artist Prize (2011), Sadolin Art Prize (2013) and was nominated for the Köler Prize in 2016. Kongi was awarded with the Konrad Mägi Prize in 2017. She is an associate professor at Estonian Academy of Arts painting department. Kristi Kongi is among the recipients of the national artists’ salary between 2022-2024. She was awarded with Estonian Cultural Endowment’s annual award (2020).