GROUP SHOWPaintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and videos
The autumn season at Galleria Heino ends with a joint exhibition of ten artists. Among them are some of our best-known photographers, including Pekka Luukkola , one of the most successful Finnish landscape photographers and Jyrki Parantainen and Marjukka Vainio , both members of the internationally renowned "Helsinki School" of photography. Also exhibiting are Samuli Heimonen , Stiina Saaristo and Anssi Törrönen , young painters whose talents have already been recognised despite their young age and Miikka Vaskola , a recent graduate of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Furthermore, the exhibition includes works by the much-lauded sculptors Lauri Astala and Mikael Pohjola as well as the middle generation heavy weight, painter Jan-Kenneth Weckman .
In addition to his studies in art, Lauri Astala (b. 1959) attended the Helsinki University of Technology. Recipient of the 2007 State Prize for Visual Arts, Astala's work consists of sculpture, video and computer assisted video installations, concerned with concepts of space and experience, and the cultural constructs that condition them. Astala says of the video piece Rome Dérive II, now exhibited for the first time: The eternal city settles in my mind, permanent, static, familiar through its many depictions, heavy in its enormity, even, a place where Rome still appears light and elusive, transient and amorphous, a city that glides by and then past, its fixed points at times blurred. The material for this work was brought to me through random encounters, unconditioned and adrift (dérive) .
The work of Samuli Heimonen (b. 1975), Young Artist of the Year 2008, consists mainly of large-scale oils. He says of his paintings: My paintings often feature something that is greater than humans. In the majority of them, human edifices take on enormous animal shapes. Humans are part of that edifice, living in it and on it. My starting point is to show how things relate to humans and how humans are together. My works don't tell of the animal world and yet I have wanted to use the animal figure as a metaphor for human hopes, aspirations and fears. It seems to me that animals encapsulate something fundamentally human. Animals and nature are like a mirror in which it is interesting to reflect on what it is to be human.
Photographer Pekka Luukkola (b. 1968) who has won plaudits in photography competitions and for his books, aims for the highest possible quality in his photographs, preferring to work with a large film format. The works in this exhibition form part of an extensive series spanning many years, of which a small sample is now seen on display. People as part of Finnish nature and fire in the midst of the landscapes are the important elements in these works. Luukkola's long exposure photographs show the unfolding of a short event, its history: they are representations of movement - and of the passage of time. In "Rowing", only the traces left by fires on the boat and oars remain: it is as if this large-scale print depicts the "history" of the flame. Luukko works mainly in northern Finland, amidst its wild and uninhabited nature and landscapes. The dusky blue hues of these "stages" are typical of Luukkola, and of the north. The fact that Luukkola's images are the result of only one exposure can often come as a surprise.
The photographer and artist Jyrki Parantainen (b. 1962) is Professor of Photography at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. His awards include the Fotofinlandia prize from 1989. Parantainen's process-based working methods have always centred around the concepts of staging and construction. "Two Horizons", his work now exhibited here, is from a series of landscapes where the sky and the horizon meet. The sky is important as the conceptual space for the lines starting out in the horizon and for the words placed at their vanishing point. The landscape is given a new identity, becoming highly politicised or ethereally poetic in turn. Parantainen's multi-phased technique involves no digital processing. He works by first photographing the landscape and making the first print. To this print he attaches the thread, pins and words and then photographs the resulting image again, only then producing the final print.
Sculptor Mikael Pohjola 's (b. 1962) chosen materials include wood, rusted metal and flea market finds. His works are often made up of disparate parts, such as wooden shapes he has cut and then painted himself, and objects and dishes he finds and then processes using different methods. Finally, he brings them all together on a pedestal, arranging them into many different miniature worlds. Pohjola himself says of his work: I am interested in all conceivable materials. With each piece I find out more about them. The beauty and extraordinary character of materials emerge most clearly in an utterly useless form and space: coalesced into sculpture .
The work of artist Stiina Saaristo (b.1976) consists of paintings and charcoal and pencil drawings. Through black humour, irony and with a keen sense of the grotesque, she explores, and subverts, concepts equality, sexuality, power, dominant values and ideals of beauty as well as gender roles and stereotypes. Saaristo is also interested in depicting the animal in humans, the manifestations of animal behavioural models. Saaristo describes her works as caricatured self-portraits, in which she analyses her own feelings and painful experiences, using herself as the tool.
The work of artist Anssi Törrönen (b. 1970) has moved from paintings oscillating between the abstract and the figurative to the portrayal of realistic figures which, in his latest works, are painted using bold brush strokes and strong contrasts of colour. As before, the shapes in his work display a powerful physicality, corporeality and sculpturality, a baroque carnality even. It has been interesting to follow the development of both his subject matter and painting technique. Recently, his work has focused on the lives of young men, the ills faced by the individual and society as a whole.
Artist and photographer Marjukka Vainio (b. 1953), recipient of the Finland Award in 2003, is known for her beautiful, painterly photography depicting the world of flora. She has photographed flowers, roots, seeds, seedlings and flower stems - all the stages in the life of a plant - close up, detached from their usual environment, floating against a blank background, transformed. The finish and techniques used vary from black and white to colour, from camera photography to photograms and from negative to positive images,
Artist Miikka Vaskola (b. 1975) paints abstract "landscapes" - without necessarily employing any direct references to the real world. Just as often, however, realistically rendered human figures are placed in these landscapes. Vaskola paints and draws but also distresses and patinates his canvas, using charcoal, ink, iron oxides, pigment, graphite and acrylic. The canvases are worn by time, both the time the artists takes to paint, experiment, cover up, make mistakes and then correct them, and time as a symbolic representation of rust, ruin and decomposition. When Vaskola discovers a story in his mind, he places it in the landscape, often assigning it the timeless caricature of a western man in a brimmed hat for a narrator. Vaskola might place him at the side of the running track, holding a watch displaying the symbol of eternity instead of time. Vaskola sets out to present an image of the past as a symbol of our time.
Artist Jan-Kenneth Weckmann , D.A., (b. 1946) says of his exhibition series: I sample the traditional fare of my own paintings, lines and colours, into a new direction, but not into a new order. Just the opposite, in fact; the order unravels with the painting. It is as if I am walking through a familiar landscape but don't know whether I have walked along the same path before. It is like trying to recall a dream that you just thought you could remember. These paintings are a dialogue between black, white, okra and dark red. They also represent the beginning of a new series of paintings, their narrative premise the flowing, unravelling and re-forming lines, the organistic climactic phenomena of painting.