Kaido Ole (b. 1963) lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia. Ole has been showing his work locally and internationally since 1989. He is a graduate of Estonian Academy of the Arts, where he studied design and painting during the period of 1982 until 1992. Since graduating, Ole has been teaching at the Academy - initially teaching drawing and later painting - eventually becoming the professor of the Painting department, a post he held for 7 years. Ole quit the academy in 2010 to focus on his career as an artist.
Following the earliest more formalist experiments with painting, there appeared to be a significant shift in 1996, when Ole directly addressed his blood relation to a prominent Estonian artist Eduard Ole (20 May 1898 — 24 November 1995) in his work Table. Almost immediately after what Kaido Ole saw as a turn inwards – “an exhibition of personal games” – his work turned into a more social satire expressed through paintings of invented characters, the kind of ball-headed men that are familiar to followers of the artist’s work. Yet the realisation of himself as a participant in a wider historical setting was never abandoned; instead it soon reappeared in a more direct way, when starting from the early 00s the artist started to include himself in his paintings — first just the hands and later in full height. This emergence of the artist himself in the painting not only defined Ole as a participant of the social scenarios that he invented, but also reversed what he had thought to be merely “private games”. With a benefit of hindsight it is possible to imagine that confronting his own history and that of art in one stroke has been a more critical gesture: to say I am one with my history, I am part of the history of painting is to attempt to take charge of that very history itself, to try changing it.
Ole’s recent solo exhibitions include: "Small yet dense show", Toompea Exhibition Hall, Tallinn (2017); “Nogank Hoparniis”, Tallinn Art Hall (2016–2017); “Freaks”, Tallinn Art Hall gallery (2014); “…oh, and also…”, Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn (2013); A retrospective at the Novy Museum, St. Petersburg (2012), “Handsome Hero and Plenty of Still lifes” at KUMU art museum, Tallinn (2012).
Kaido Ole has participated in various group shows in Estonia as well as in Europe, America, Scandinavia and Russia. He represented Estonia at the 2003 Venice Biennial together with Marko Mäetamm. Ole is a recipient of several art awards, including Konrad Mägi Art Award (2012), Annual prize of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (1999, 2005), Kristjan Raud annual award (1998). His works are in several public collections, he was recently (2014) included in Thames & Hudson mega-book "100 Painters of Tomorrow" being selected out of over 4000 portfolios.