TOPI RUOTSALAINENEncirclement 23.3.2024 – 14.4.2024

Topi Ruotsalainen: Encirclement, 2023
oil on canvas
200 x 265 cm

Encirclement – Changes to the choreography

I have explored the theme of togetherness through the form of a circle in my recent works. When we are in a circle, we face each other. When we are in a circle, we are all together as part of something bigger, in a space we have created.

We usually form a circle when we play, dance or meet. Yet, sometimes we cannot make it work if we are side by side. We take steps at different paces. We bump into each other and step on each other’s toes. What was a social dance turns into a solo performance or competition. The circle breaks.

Threats and changes in the world have made us reorganise and make adjustments to previously learned choreographies. The steps we knew no longer work. We look for new dance partners. We keep running around in circles. Are we on a collision course and who will we meet in the middle of the circle?

The Greek word khoros (χορός), ‘dance’, also means ‘choir’. The idea of a choir originally referred to dancing together rather than singing. Khoros included the idea of collective dance. It is the choir that dances.

As political uncertainty worsens, I find myself increasingly longing for harmony, singing the same tune and dancing to the same beat. The idea of a dancing choir gives me great comfort. How liberating to be involved in creative efforts towards a shared goal: throwing oneself into the vortex of the circle, supporting each other’s moves and being supported by others. I also try to achieve this beauty in my works. They contain subtle references to art history as well as more straightforward responses to the current events in the world.

I see repetition and two-way temporality in the rotating movement of the circle. We are moving from the past towards the future in a linear fashion, but we are also going round the circle. Just as the seasons follow each other and provide repeating patterns throughout our lives, generations follow each other and repeat at least some of the life events of the previous generations: their mistakes and moments of happiness. History is present in layers in the continuous cycle of life and in the whirls of its circles.

Topi Ruotsalainen

  • ruotsalainen/2024/GALLERIA_HEINO_TOPI_RUOTSALAINEN_Stepping_on_toes_2023_oil_on_canvas_200x265_cm

    Stepping on toes, 2023
    oil on canvas
    200 x 265 cm

  • ruotsalainen/2024/TOPI_RUOTSALAINEN_THE_OLD_CHOREO_2024

    The Old Choreo, 2024
    oil on canvas
    200 x 200 cm

  • ruotsalainen/2024/GALLERIA_HEINO_TOPI_RUOTSALAINEN_Hopak_2023_oil_on_canvas_204x145_cm

    Hopak!, 2023
    oli on canvas
    204 x 145 cm

  • ruotsalainen/2024/TOPI_RUOTSALAINEN_UUSI_PIV_2024

    A New Day, 2024
    oil on canvas
    120 x 180 cm

  • ruotsalainen/2024/TOPI_RUOTSALAINEN_UUTEEN_KEVSEEN_2024

    Towards new spring, 2024
    oil on canvas
    55 x 70 cm

  • ruotsalainen/2024/TOPI_RUOTSALAINEN_KHOROS_2024

    Khoros, 2024
    oil on canvas
    40 x 50 cm


    Situation developing, 2023
    oil on canvas
    40 x 40 cm