Leonhard Lapin (1947) is is a versatile Estonian artist who has been active in fine art, art theory and architecture as well as in literature. He is considered one of Estonia's leading artists, who began his artistic career in the end of Sixties when Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union. In 1969 he brought the first copy of Lucy Lippard’s “Pop Art” to Soviet Estonia and got inspired by American Pop Art. The forbidden books of western art secretly moved from hand to hand and the (underground) exhibitions of young artists started to experiment more and more with the visual language of western art. Leonhard Lapin became the pioneer of Estonian pop art - or the "so-called" homespun version “Union Pop” or “Soviet Pop”. Estonia was the only region in the Soviet Union where pop art was recognised, making it one of the most interesting phenomena in the history of Estonian art.

Leonhard Lapin’s is also well known as a dissident whose art was rejected by the state. He has blended Pop Art with references to the Russian Avant-Garde of the 1920s. His early works depicted Warhol’s soup cans and local superstars, but later his art became more and more political igonoring the state-approved utopian images and challenging against the artistic repressions.  His silkscreen series “Woman Machine” could be interpreted as a statement against the Cold War utopias and its technological environments while the “Red Porn” is juxtaposing the symbology of religion and totalitarianism as a challenge to the “Soviet Dream”.


Born in 1947
Lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia


1966–71 Estonian State Art Institute

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2013 Estonian Architecture Museum, Tallinn
2011 Tallinn Art Hall Gallery, Estonia

2009 Hämeenlinna Art Museum, Finland 

2008 Orton Gallery, Helsinki
Väino Aaltos Museum, Turu, Finland 

2007 Museum of Estonian Architecture;

Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia

2005 Haus Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia

Estonian Bank Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia

2004 Hobusepea Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia

2003 Tartu Art Museum,
Tallinn Art Hall Gallery,
Gallery Draakon, Tallinn, Estonia

Gallery Deco, Tallinn, Estonia

Valga City Gallery, Estonia

Taagepera Castle Gallery, Estonia

2002 Gallery Promenad, Hyvinkää, Finland

Gallery Minna, Kuopio, Finland

Ćiurlonis National Museum, Kaunas, Lithaunia

Gallery Kay Forsblum, Helsinki, Finland

2001 Museum of Rakvere,
Rakvere City Gallery, Estonia

Raatuse Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia

Zimmerli Art Museum, New Jersey, USA

Art Museum of University of Tartu, Estonia

2000 Latvian Press House Gallery, Riga

Raatuse Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia

1999 Pärnu City Gallery, Estonia

Kuressaare Castle Gallery, Estonia
Gallery Laterna Magica, Helsinki, Finland

Gallery Ruben Forni, Bruxelles, Belgium

1997 Tartu Art Museum, Estonia

Art Museum of Estonia

1996 Helsinki Art Hall Studio, Finland

Latvian Museum of Foreign Art, Riga

1995 Finnish Museum of Architecture, Helsinki

1994 Gallery D’Arte, Helsinki, Finland

Gallery Titanik, Turku, Finland

1994 Gallery Ephémare, Montigny-le-Tilleul, Belgium

Matisse Museum, Le Cateau-Cambresis, France

1992 P.u.n.k.t. Gallery, Hamburg, Germany

Gallery Roma, Liepaja, Latvia

1991 Alvar Aalto Museum, Jyväskylä, Finland

1987 Pori Art Museum, Finland

Art Museum of Estonia

1986 Stockholm City Theatre, Sweden

1975 Langsam Gallery, Armadale, Australia

Selected Group Exhibitions

2015 Yuan Art Museum, Beijing, China
2015 Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn Estonia

2013 Pärnu Museum, Pärnu, Estonia

2012 Printmaking IN, Pärnu, Estonia

2007 Printmaking IN, Pärnu, Estonia

2005 12 Künstler aus Tallinn, Actioncenter, Munich, Germany

2004 “WWW.Transeuropa”, Kulturverband Favoriten, Vienna, Austria
2000 Word Wild Flags. Liege, Aachen, Knokke, Luxembourg

1998 Estonian Painting,Borchette Centre, Brussels, Belgium
1996 Silence of Land. Väinö Aaltonen Museum, Finland

1994 Graveurs Baltes. Gallery Détour, Jambes, Belgium

Pro Natura Baltica. Helsinki, Tallinn, Stockholm,
Island Project. International Multimedia Workshop, Gdansk, Poland

1993 Rationalized Eternity. Contemporary Art Centre of Vilnius, Lithuania

1992 Contemporary Art from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Canada

1975 Harku ’75. National Institute of Experimental Biology, Harku, Estonia

1973 Saku ’73. Estonian Institute of Agriculture, Saku, Estonia

1969 SOUP ’69. Café Pegasus, Tallinn

, Estonia 

Selected installations

2003 “Clock of Freedom”, Tallinn City (with Kristel Jaanus)

2003 “Labyrinth”, Viinistu Art Museum, Estonia

2001 Fire-installation “Ode to the Officer”, Festival “Kananahk”, Rakvere, Estonia

1999 “Mirrored Cross”, Paide City, Estonia

1998 “Suprealistic City II”, Huittinen City, Finland

1994 “Estonian Forest I”, São Paulo 22. Biennial

1992 “Broken Time”, Rostock Art Museum, Germany

1991 “Order and Spontaneity II”, Stockholm Kulturhall, Sweden

1991 “Socialist Work”, Linköping, Kalmar, Stockholm Art Museums, Sweden

1990 architecton “Tree”, Helsinki City, Finalnd

1990 “Obelisk to Substance”, Kotka ,Finland

1990 architecton “Urania”, Groningen ,Holland

1989 “Noah’s Ark”, Helsinki Art Hall, Finland

1987 “Homage to Finland” Pori Art Museum, Finland

Selected books

„Siin Tallinn“ ("Here Tallinn"). EKS: Tallinn, 2014.

“On Architecture – in Life and Ethics”. Umea, 2006.

“Dokument ja loovus” ("Document and creativity"). Sirbi Raamat: Tallinn, 2005.

“Avangard” (Estonian avant-garde art). Tartu University. Tartu: 2003.

“Tühjus / Void.” Estonian Art Academy: Tallinn, 2003.

“Tühjus ja ruum. Void and Space”. Estonian Art Academy: Tallinn, 1998.

“Kaks kunsti” (Two Arts). Kunst: Tallinn, 1997.

“Pimedystä valoon” (Estonian avant-garde art). Otava: Helsinki, 1996.

“Void and Space”. Helsinki University of Technology: Helsinki, 1994.


1998–2001 Academica Gustaviana Foundation

1998–2000 Union of Estonian Architects, member of Court of Honour

1981 Union of Estonian Architects

1977 Estonian Artists´ Association, Association of Estonian Printmakers


2003 Estonian Graphic Association prize of Year

2001 The Estonian State´s Order of the White Star of IV Class

1997 The Baltic Watercolor Triennial prize

1997 The Estonian State’s Cultural prize

1989 The Kristjan Raud Prize for painting, Estonia

1989 Tallinn City Art prize

1987 Soviet architectural prize

1974 Tokyo Print Biennial prize

1973 Ljubljana Print Biennial prize

Works in Collections

Art Museum of Estonia, Estonian Museum of Architecture, Estonian Bank, Helsinki City Art Museum, Alvar Aalto Museum (Jyväskylä, Finland), Contemporary Art Museum of Armenia (Jerevan), Bridgestone' Art Museum (Japan), Cooremans' Institute (Brussels, Belgium), Cremona Foundation (Minneapolis, USA), Ćiurlionis Art Museum (Kaunas, Lithuania), Frankfurdt Museum of Architecture (Germany), Zimmerli Art Museum (New Jersey, USA), Kaleva Art Collection (Oulu, Finland), Kiasma (Helsinki), New York Library, Niemisto Foundation (Helsinki, Finland), Oulu Art Museum (Finland), Pori Art Museum (Finland), National Gallery of Sweden (Stockholm, Sweden), Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art (Australia), Skopje Art Museum (Slovenia), Bank of Finland, Tallinn Art Hall, Tartu Art Museum, Tretjakov Gallery (Moscow), Vaasa University, Art Collection of the White House (Washington, USA), Russian Museum (St. Petersbourg), Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis, USA),Villany Art Collection (Brandenburg, Germany), Viinistu Art Museum and numerous private collections.