Raul Meel (born in 1941) is a self-taught print, installation, painting and performance artist and concrete poet. Raul Meel represents the radical wing of 1960s-1980s innovation in Estonian art and is known as the most renowned Estonian autodidact and outsider.

Meel studied electrical engineering in the University of Technology (1959-64), technical background gave him a different perspective towards art. In 1968, when Meel joined the circle of experimenting artists, who tolerated his typewriter poems, he started to feel his affiliation to the Western avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s. In a short period of time he became the best-known representative of Estonia’s neo-avant-garde, whose artistic languages engaged with minimalism and conceptualism, which in Soviet Union, was tried to prohibit by all means. Therefore it’s also possible to look his creation as a political discourse, which emphasizes the antagonistic confortation to the prevailing art system.

He was a persona non grata in art during the Soviet era, although still known beyond the Iron Curtain. During the heyday of graphic art, he was the only Estonian artist who was a member of International Club of the Prize Winners of the International Print Biennials. 

( Sources: Eha Komissarov (2014). Meel, language and geometry. / Raul Meel. Dialogues with Infinity. Art Museum of Estonia; Raul Meel (2016). Conspectus of the past 1941-2001.)

Born in 02.03.1941, Estonia


1959–1964 studied electric engineering in Technical University

Selected solo exhibitions

2016 Sometimes We, Tallinn Art Space, Estonia
2014 Dialogues with Infinity, Art Museum of Estonia
2010 Dialogue, Henry van de Velde's Art Library, Ghent, Belgium
2000 Oulu Art Museum, Finland
1999 Fire performance, Varbola fortress, Raplamaa, Estonia
1998 Exhibition and performance in the Ringi Avenue, Pärnu, Estonia
Come from Fire. Fire performance, Pivarootsi village, Läänemaa, Estonia
Everyone can turn the wheels. Installation and performance, Tallinn, Estonia
1997 On the Hill of Arkadia. Fire performance, Pivarootsi village, Läänemaa, Estonia
Vita aboriginum. Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia
1996 Gallery of Latvian Artists’ Union M6, Riga, Latvia
1994 Raul Meel and Leonhard Lapin. Musée Matisse, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France
Vaal Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
1993 Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia
Gallery R Art, Brussels, Belgium
1992 Gallery International Images Ltd., Sewickley, USA
1991 Gallery Pelin, Helsinki, Finland
1990 Vaal Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
1989 Gallery GKM, Malmö, Sweden
Art Museum of Estonia
1982 Art Hall Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
1981, 1983 Center for Contemporary Russian Art, New York, USA
1979 Sangaste castle, Sangaste, Estonia
1974 Estonian Ministery of Industry, Tallinn, Estonia
1971 Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia
1971 Tartu University old café, Tartu, Estonia
1970 Café "Pegasus", Tallinn, Estonia

Selected group exhibitions

2012-2013 The Desire for Freedom. Art in Europe since 1945, The German Historical Museum, Berlin, Germany
2004 Ilya & Emilia Kabakov and Raul Meel, Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia
2000 Realities and Utopias, Zimmerli Art Museum, USA
2000 Between East and West. Edsvik Centre of Art and Culture, Sollentuna, Sweden
1999 Estonian Art (9 artists). Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein’s Parliament, Germany
1998 Windows and Landscapes. Anniversary exhibition of Estonian Republic, 9 artists, Brussels, Belgium
1997 Estonian Art of the 1970s. Tartu Art Museum, Estonia
1995 HARKU ’95. City Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
1994, 1995 Tallinn-Helsinki. Deco Gallery, Tallinn; Gallery Laterna Magica, Helsinki, Finland
1993 Rationalized Past. (S.T.Annus, L.Lapin, R.Meel), Vilnius, Lithuania
1990 Arman, César, Corneille, Doucet, Klasen, Matta, Meel. Gallery Asb k, Copenhagen, Denmark
1990 15 artists form Tallinn. Gallery GKM, Malmö, Sweden
1989 Dialogue. The Russian and Contemporary Soviet Avant-garde. Paris, France
1980 Tartu Art Museum, Estonia
1979 New Talents and Ideas in World Art (award exhibition, compiled by critics, 31 artists), Boston Mass., USA
1979 Planetarium of Riga (L.Lapin, R.Meel, J.Okas, Tõnis Vint), Latvia
1977 Art Hall Gallery, Tallinn (S.T.Annus, A.Keerend, R.Meel, J.Okas, Tõnis Vint)
1976 New Art from Soviet Union. St.Louis, Washigton and Cornell, USA
1975 HARKU ’75. Harku, Harjumaa county, Estonia
1973 SAKU ’73. Saku, Harjumaa county, Estonia
1972, 1973 Exhibition of Nominees’ club of International Print Triennials. Paris, Amsterdam, London, New-York, Tokyo, Sao Paulo
1972 Venice Biennial, Italy


1992 Association of Estonian Printmakers
1990 Estonian Artists´ Association
1975 International Association of Graphic Artists, Holl, USA (the only artist from the Soviet Union)
1972 Member of the Laureats’ Club of International Biennials of Graphic Arts

Selected awards

2015 Gold medal at Biennale Internationale "Di carta paper made", Schio, Vicenza, Italy
2015 Estonian Culture Prize for lifetime Achievement Award 
2011 Second Prize at the X Baltic States Biennale of Graphic Art, Kaliningrad-Königsberg
1998 award by the viewers of Estonian Televison, for the most terrible deed of the year
1998 Republic of Estonia, the most forest-friendly artist of Estonia
1998 Republic of Estonia, award
1997 Republic of estonia nominee for art award by Baltic Assambly
1995 award by the United Nations
1995 Republic of Estonia, award of culture
1989 Tallinn Print Triennal, diploma
1989 Eduard Viiralt Art Award, Tallinn Print Triennal
1989 Art Award, Malmö, Sweden
1989 Kristjan Raud Art Award (Estonia)
1988 Artists’ Union of Soviet Socialist Estonian Republic, yearly award for graphic arts
1979 exhibiting award for curated exhibition “New Talents and Ideas of the World Art” (37 artists), Boston, USA
1974 Frechen Print Biennial, 2nd award
1972 Krakow Print Biennial, Poland, 4th award
1972 competition “Copernicus and his ideas”, Krakow Biennial of Graphic Arts, Poland, 3rd award

Works in collections

Art Museum of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum, Helsinki City Art Museum (Finland), MoMA (New York, USA), Guggenheim Museum (New York, USA),  Zimmerli Art Museum (Rutgers’ University, Washington D.C., USA), Louisiana Museum (Denmark), Charles Pompidou Center (Paris, France), Senat of United States of America (Washington), Columbia Ülikool (New York, USA), Gallery GKM (Malmö, Sweden), Art Collection of Elcoteq Network (Finland and Estonia), Kuopio Museum of Art (Kuopio, Finland), „Imatran Voima” art collection (Helsinki, Finland), „Kaleva” art museum (Oulu, Finland), Museum of Contemporary Art of Armenia (Yerevan, Armenia), Art collection of Verannemann’s Foundation (Belgium), Vilnius Picture Gallery (Lithuania), Ludwig’s Museum (Köln, Germany), National Museum of Poland(Krakow, Poola), Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art (Finland), Pori Art Museum (Finland), Lahti Art Museum (Finland), New Orleans’ Art Museum (USA), Baltic Institute’s Art Collection (Stockholm, Sweden), Art collection of Uus-Valamo monastery (Finland), Rotary International Art Collection (Chicago, USA) and Estonian Embassy in Finland (Helsinki, Finland).