HENNA POHJOLAHave a burp!
The works in this exhibition take their cue from lust. Lust is a source of
enjoyment, energy and meaning in our lives. Traditionally, it was considered
one of the seven deadly sins. In my works I also explore the sheer lunacy of
being an artist. The majority of artists exist below the poverty line or hold
down additional jobs to fund their creative pursuits. What happens to
professional pride when a not insignificant chunk of your energy is wasted on
just making ends meet? These two issues intertwine with the controversial issue
of commercialisation in art and the question of what can be considered art.
These questions reflect the overarching theme of this exhibition, lust. Visually, all the works on display are kitchily sweet and saccharine. You could say that they look "good enough to eat". They have been inspired by the experiences I have gained while working in jobs other than those traditionally considered the work of a professional artist. I have variously been employed as a graphic designer, visual merchandiser, stylist, florist, party planner and baker. This exhibition comprises a variety of techniques: painting, printing, drawing, sculpture as well as a monumental cake installation in the shape of a house.
The cake house installation I have baked lends itself to a variety of interpretations. The house is intended to delight the viewer with its beauty but also to act as a catalyst for debate on issues such as equality, the value of work, gender and identity formation and the many conventions governing it. For me, the house is also associated with the story of Hansel and Gretel by the Grimm brothers. In the tale, the children´s stepmother, fearing death by starvation, convinces their father to take Hansel and Gretel to the forest and to abandon them there. As Hansel and Gretel wander through the forest, they discover a gingerbread house, inhabited by a wicked witch. The cake installation raises a number of social issues. What lurks underneath the flawless surface? In the face of a weakening economy, as some people are forced to give up their status symbols and others a plunged into misery, we have to ask, what is it that makes us happy? Importantly, at the end of the tale, good triumphs over evil. In that sense, the installation can be seen as a home, as a castle, where people live, bake more cakes, and share in the success and sense of security it engenders.
The title of the exhibition, Rööhtäse välillä is a Savo dialect expression from eastern Finland literally meaning "have a burp". It is an exhortation to focus on your dreams and aspirations. On the other hand, it also represents an escape, in my subjective experience, from the depressive and gloomy tendencies associated with the process of making art. Have a burp is an invitation to fun, good times and pampering.
The dazzling Arja Saijonmaa will be performing chanson and tango at the exhibition launch, accompanied by Mikko Helenius on accordion and bandoneon.