Mall Nukke (born 1964 in Tallinn) started her pop art with pencil and pastel. Her early drawings, predominantly figural compositions, were luxuriously abundant in color with a glittering, incandescent, poisonously glistening color scale and had strong contours. Everything was decadently extravagant.
Later the erotic figures already familiar to us from her earlier graphic prints took their place on this flowing fabric of color, although now tattooed in multiple colors and in revelous, languorous poses. Thereafter, collage became her primary method of work. And now the cutouts from picture magazines combine with computer-altered images, printed onto transparent sheets of plastic and edged with soft, sparkling velvet or black brocade hem. Black silk backdrops are not uncommon.
The result is sweet, attractively sweet. New, borrowed main characters also appear – sex pot Ilona Staller, fashion model Naomi Campell, comic Rowan Atkinson, rock legend Mick Jagger, Kurt Cobain, Madonna and others – super beings that appear to be everywhere and who form the pantheistic tip of contemporary pop culture. Gods, stars, sprites media moguls, models and film heros.
A sarcastic undertone is uncovered in Nukke‘s work regardless of the fact that it all began in such beautiful colors. Her art is to a great extent also an analysis of pop art. We see that her lust for glamour is not as innocent as it first appeared to be. While creating pop art, she simultaneously studies its anatomy. A sober thinker is concealed behind the colorful pictures.
Works in collections: KUMU, Tartu‘s Art Museum, Sadolin‘s art collection (Estonia), Rauma City Museum (Finland), Viinistu Art Museum (Estonia), Vexi Salmi art collection (Finland), Nef Gallery (Kiev, Ukraine).
Sources used: Johannes Saar (2000). Artists of Estonia 2. Publisher: Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia.