In this exhibition, artist Anne Tompuri (born in 1958) employs her familiar technique of using gouache and pigment to create black and white works on canvas. This time her theme is faces. Rows of faces take over an entire wall in the exhibition room, and the viewer is met by an enormous wall of art, arranged in a salon style.
The faces resemble one another and they stare directly at the viewer from the darkness of night. The light only falls on very few of the faces. The ethereal paintings radiate an eerie mood as if they depicted souls in a transitional stage.
The faces in Anne Tompuri's paintings could be seen as manifestations of the self, as experiences of what it is to be human. Or they can be mediators of the artist's personal emotions and thoughts, tools of soul-searching that she uses to connect with and understand her inner self.
The faces may seem poetic yet political, as if they were bound to history. In the viewer they will provoke images of the burqa, women's long hair, blindfolds and gagged mouths. The paintings could be portraits of a faceless and oppressed people or an innocent suffering person. The question of the identity, gender, race and cultural origins of the faces is left unanswered and thus all interpretations remain open.
Anne Tompuri's works communicate the experience of existence, her own life story as well as the collective history of a nation. The works are tied to time and yet are also timeless. They are both narrative and symbolic. The viewer will experience what it feels like to exist rather than what it is like to exist.