Categories
Art Exhibitions

Colours in a natural relation

{mosimage}Dan Beard is
a young British artist who works and lives in Tampere. A couple of months ago he had his
first solo show in Galleria Oma Huone, and now continues moving around the art
scene of Helsinki with this new current exhibition that brings his paintings to
Kanneltalo, the cultural centre in Kannelmäki, Helsinki.

 

 

There, you can see a total of 15 woks where
the colours sometimes get mixed and other times fight with each other, trying to
find their own space in the canvas. Sensual shapes appear as a final result on
some paintings that could even remind of the matrix of our existence: the
vagina. Some other times the colors adopt the form or a millenarian dragon but
most of the times they simply let you explore your own feelings when
contemplating his palette of bright blues, greens and yellows exploding in
front of your eyes. A risky conception of art that maybe will not satisfy the
most conservative viewers, but worthy to check nevertheless.

Together with Beard’s paintings, the
galleria exhibits the sculptures of Jussi Aulis, pieces of metal and
rusty tin composing human shapes that resemble strange warriors or even a
reminiscence of Don Quixote. It is fresh and pretty recommended.

2-27.8
Jussi Aulis' sculptures and Dan Beard’s
paintings in Kanneltalo Gallery, Helsinki (next to Kannelmäki railway
station)
The exhibition will be open also during Helsinki
Night of Arts 24.8.07

 

{mosimage}{mosimage} 
Categories
Art Exhibitions

Us and them

{mosimage}
Once every three years something exciting
happens in Jyväskylä – LUMO the International Photography Triennial comes to
town. This year celebrates the 7th LUMO event with the theme of ‘us’ and like the previous six, promises
everything one should expect of an internationally renowned triennial.

The theme of ‘us’ has attracted photographers whose work challenges notions of
communality and identity. The exhibition has been designed to test the
boundaries of cultural preconceptions and socio-political phenomena. This year
photographers are arriving from four different continents to dismantle and
magnify stereotypes of the exotic, pioneer mythologies, forgotten recent
history and the concealed present.

Images and subject matter are both unsettling
and controversial. Particularly in the works of South African artist Pieter
Hugo
, where in the series Looking Aside
(2005) we are faced with images such as that of Londiwe Wendy Mkhize. Discomfort arises when the
seemingly ‘white’-skinned girl is recognised for her features as a native South
African. From the perspective of a Northern European it seems difficult to
grasp that the skin colour that is generally accepted and desired in the
Western world is quite literally a disease for those outside the European
genetic paradigm.

Likewise, fellow South African artist Mikhael Subotzky
has produced images which expose what life is like inside and after prison. For
the series Die Vier Hoeke (2005) Subotzky visited Pollsmoor Prison, Nelson Mandela’s former
lock-up, to reveal conditions in which numerous native South African prisoners
are literally piled into single cells. The cells consist of several bunk beds
on which the lucky ones have a chance to sleep. The not-so-lucky ones are
forced to sleep back-to-back on the cold cement floor.

In the works of Cairo-based Lara Baladi cultural-hybridity
is expressed through blends of religious iconography, nature photographs and
pop culture relics. The brightly coloured panoramic montage of Justice for the Mother (2007) draws many associations to the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album
cover, and not surprisingly the Beatles’ Lone Hearts Club Band has been placed
in this mythological paradise underneath a giant rhinoceros.

The cultural infiltration of communism is subtly
reflected in the works of Cuban photographers José A. Figueroa and Alejandro González. In
the series The Cuban Sixties Figueroa attempts to capture
the rebellious undercurrent of youth who craved for individuality in the face
of mass conformity, and in the series the City
of Havana (2005), González captures quiet reminders of Cuba’s past
political unrest. Lenin
Park is revisited with
its monuments, abandoned equipment and old army trucks that picnicking families
and grazing cows seem oblivious to.

Finally, in addition to Charlotte
Haslund-Christensen
’s questioning of authenticity through re-capturing poses of
Danish explorers in Natives: The Danes (2006), Young Finnish Artists of the Year
2007, Jaana and Tiina Penttinen capture the dynamics of family and friend
relations in the confines of cultural protocol in their series Hyvät Tavat (Good
Manners, 2006).

Other featured photographers include Dale
Yudelman
(South Africa), Raúl Cordero (Cuba)
and Rana ElNemr (Egypt).
LUMO ’07 ‘us’ runs June 9th
– September 30th, at Gallery Harmonia Jyväskylä.

Categories
Art Exhibitions

OUR LAND! – Photographs from Finland

2007 is the year of a big celebration! Finland has its 90th anniversary of national independence this December. Over the past decades, Finland has experienced an unprecedented rate of economic, technological and social change. Our whole way of life is now totally different from what it used to be a few decades ago.

{mosimage}
Oi Maamme! – (Our Land!) is an exhibition about changes in the Finnish life from the 60s to the present day. 23 photographers show how Finns have lived in recent decades, both in Finland and as migrants abroad. When looking at the photographs you will see a development in Finnish lifestyle as well as in photography.

You take for granted the things that you see every day, don’t you? It is good to see how this country has changed but somehow stayed the same (yes, Finnish children have always been blonde and blue eyed!) Still, a lot has changed in the everyday life of Finns during these decades: jobs, buildings, cars and fashions. But as a Finn, I see that all of these photos have been taken in Finland. Or maybe I am just so old that I actually remember how good old Finland use to be. Or maybe all countries are developing in the same direction, so it is more and more difficult to point out the differences between them?

If you haven’t been around for so long or if you just don’t recognise Finland when looking at these pictures, then you have to admit, these photographs are very fine pieces of art!

The exhibition is held at Tennis palace Art Museum, Salomonkatu 15, 00100 Helsinki.

Open Tue-Sun 11 a.m. – 8.30 p.m, Mon closed.

Tickets: 5 to 7 euros. Admission is free for children under 18. Free admission on Fridays.

Categories
Art Exhibitions

The Siida Museum

 

{mosimage}The Triangle of Life

Theoretically, at least, Sami artist Tuula-Maija Magga-Hetta’s exhibition is thought-provoking. Almost all of the exhibits in the Sami Museum’s gallery are based around the triangle: the shape of the traditional Sami tent, a shape associated with unrequited love, but also the strongest of shapes. But this is, perhaps, as far as the originality goes.

Despite all the arty verbosity in the press release (“The triangle of life is reflected on our moments in the form of a triangle of destiny. We meet our triangle in the fells…”), there is very little that is original or distinctive in this exhibition. In essence, it is typical Sami handicraft: twigs, Sami colours, reindeer-related stuff, colourful textiles, carefully displayed and occasionally given interesting titles.

The triangle dimension is a nice touch but it hardly compensates for the fact that there are scores of places in Lapland –both in Finland and Norway– where you can see handicraft just like this, indeed possibly more original than this. If you merely want to look at Sami handicraft, it may well be worth waiting until July when Inari will be populated with tents from which Sami will sell their various creations… and it will be free to look around those.

At a time when Lapland has become extremely touristy –and saturated with Sami handicraft– a Sami artist needs to approach the tradition in a strikingly original and fresh way. Although the triangle metaphor is interesting, I don’t think Magga-Hetta’s exhibition is fresh and striking enough.

Until the 6th May 2007

 

{mosimage}“Rewind!” Arctic Russia in Archival Films

Some exhibitions are so breathtakingly bizarre that they are worth seeing simply for that reason. ‘Rewind!’ definitely falls into that category. The exhibition’s blurb seems pretty boring: it is archive footage of life in Soviet Arctic Russia. But when you actually get to the exhibition you can do things like watch Russian TV from decades ago in a typical forty-year-old Russian front-room and change the channel by moving around on the sofa.

You can be filmed against an age-old Arctic Russian backdrop of reindeer herders as if you are there with them and, most peculiarly of all, you have the chance to mix different examples of Russian archive footage with various examples of old Russian music to create the appropriate mood for the film. But the exhibition also reflects a more serious purpose. Much of the archive footage involved, which is at any rate very rare, has been painstakingly restored and rescued from unsuitable and damaging conditions.

So the whole project aims to ‘protect the cultural heritage’ of northern Finland and Russia. But an exhibition of Soviet archive footage, no matter how rare and significant, could sound mind-numbingly dull to many people. However, this really is entertaining, original and… well… just plain bizarre. Whatever the exhibition is, it is great fun and worth having a look at.

Until the 20th May 2007

 

Both exhibitions are at the Siida Museum, Inari, Lapland.

The Siida Museum also houses permanent exhibitions about Sami life, nature in Lapland, the Northern Lights and an open air museum recreating traditional Sami houses and traps. All of them are highly recommended.

Prices: Adults (€8), Children (€4), Students/Pensioners (€6.50)

Categories
Art Exhibitions

The age of the animal in Ateneum

The works
are by almost two hundred artists, mostly Finnish ones. The pieces, from the
16th century up to the present, have mainly been provided by the Finnish
National Gallery.

The various
themes in the exhibition illustrate how the roles of animals have changed over
the centuries. Pay special attention to Gallen Kallela’s and Ferdinand
von Wright
’s paintings.

{mosimage}There is
also a special display created for children by the students from the University of Art and Design, called In a Magical
Forest
. Here parents can find many animal books as well, if they want to
tell stories to their children.

But the
exhibition has also a dark side, such as the sinister works of Juhani Harri:
in his Andalusian Dog, for example, dead animals and objects melt into a
unique and ambiguous new shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Art Exhibitions

Sleeping beauty and other stories

There couldn’t be better words to describe
the pictures in the Sleeping Beauty
section of Jaana Partanen’s exhibition Arjen alkemiaa (Everyday Alchemy)
currently at the Finnish
Museum of Photography. A
bunch of old ladies framed in silver, against a silver background, are holding
glasses of wine or laundry baskets and leaning against a rollaattori– this very
Finnish ‘institution’ for old age – smiling and laughing or playing with a lot
of arms and a lot of hearts The silver backgrounds and frames turn the ladies
into goddesses of the third-age: but oh, so wonderfully ordinary. Looking at
these pictures you just can’t help thinking that beauty is not just a matter of
being young!

Sleeping beauty, the Real Princess and
Cinderella
is the title of the trilogy Partanen had been working on since
2001 and finished just before this exhibition: now it is being shown for the
first time.

{mosimage}If Sleeping Beauty deals with old
age, then the Real Princess investigates, in a touching and unconventional
way, the relationship between mothers and teenage daughters. In the photographs
taken underwater – and the accompanying video – the dance-like quality of the
movements of the mothers and daughters graphically describes the difficulties
mothers experience in letting their daughters go; and the conflicting attitudes
of the daughters: ready to state their independence and yet still in need of
their mothers’ hugs.

Fatherhood, family life and birth are
investigated in the section of the exhibition called Cinderella. Here the
focus also seems to be on fathers and the active role they are increasingly
taking in the family. In Partanen’s works, family life is made up of close relationships
and moments so precious – even if it is just washing dishes – that they deserve
gilded backgrounds.

The trilogy also includes three video works (Once Again, Crystal City
and Bubbles
) which deal with
issues of deconstruction and rebuilding. Visitors can make a contribution to
the issue: an installation, right at the entrance of the exhibition area,
allows them to move simple gilded forms, thus changing and reshaping them into
new landscapes.

Everyday
Alchemy
will be on display until the 5th of May. A
visit is highly recommended.

Jaana Partanen – Arjen alkemiaa (Everyday
Alchemy)

Finnish Museum of Photography – Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1 G Helsinki

Categories
Art Exhibitions

Migrant artists at the crossroad

{mosimage}Amir Khatib explains that the
network was born with the goal of helping the artists that are in the crossroads
of the third culture. “It was born of a personal need”, he says. Indeed, he arrived
in 1990 as refugee from Pakistan where he was a street painter. Since his
arrival, Khatib has used the concept of third culture to explain his production
in Finland:
“It is not a purely Iraqi production, but not pure Finnish either; of course it
is related to both cultures, but it is none of them in a pure shape”. He adds
that the network has been a good help to make his living as an artist. Although
Khatib still does some work as a freelance journalist. “Writing is like
handicraft for me”, he admits. “It is a question of food. It’s better than
working in a pizza kebab”.

The Third Culture exhibition will be the work of 23 artists from five
European Union countries and twelve different nationalities. This event will be
remembered and a catalogue which includes articles written by art critics, Taava Koskinen, Otso Kantakorpi, Ali Najjar
and Farounk Yousif.

EU-MAN helps organise large- and
small-scale exhibitions. At the moment it counts more than 200 members in 13
different countries. About 60 of them live and work in Finland. It also
publishes the quarterly magazine Universal
Colours
.

 

The Third Culture, Puristamo, Cable
Factory, Helsinki.

From 1.3 to 18.3 2007

Categories
Art Exhibitions

In search of identity

The works are not arranged
chronologically but thematically, according to the most recurring subjects in
the collection. Thereby, the visitor becomes acquainted with pastoral
landscapes, descriptions of Finnish nature in different seasons, as well as
intimate portraits.

According to Turku
Art Museum’s curator Christian
Hoffmann
, the depiction of Finnish nature in landscape paintings was a linchpin
in the search of the Finnish identity under the reign of Russia in the
19th century. Hoffmann adds: “the Finnish people have always
identified themselves with nature”. Therefore, the name of the exhibition, Kaivannaisia, refers not only to the actual
work of finding specific works from the collection but also to the journey of
exploration into the essence of Finnishness. 

{mosimage}On some walls the ensemble of
paintings with certain subject matter is being broken by Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s works illustrating tales from the Kalevala,
the national poem of Finland.
These mythical narratives that inspired national awakening in the 19th
century, equated with depictions of Finnish nature and folklore, reflect the
conceptions of the savage northern nature as the hive of Finnish consciousness.

The viewer’s attention is captured
with surprising details everywhere in the exhibition. For example, a steady
pattern of landscape paintings is often broken with a portrait. This comparison
of a person and a landscape connotes the age-old juxtaposition between culture
and nature. One way of waking up the visitor is also to hang a view from
sun-drenched Florence
by Pekka Halonen next to a group of
snowy landscapes. Many of the Finnish painters of the late 19th and
early 20th centuries visited the Central Europe where they not only
learned new techniques, for example the plain
air
, the open air technique, but also got to know modern movements which
they brought back along with them to Finland.

Christian Hoffmann reminds that
collection displays are very important for museums, because the collection is
the basis for museums existence and function. Museums are obliged to present
their collections to the audience, and a collection as considerable as the one
of Turku Art Museum enables a considerable number
of exhibitions. Kaivannaisia –
Changelings
offers a good opportunity to get to know some of Finnish art
and cultural history. Through this exhibition one can take part in finding not
only the roots of northern people but also the identity of Turku Art Museum.  

Categories
Art Exhibitions

SHUSH!

{mosimage}The basement gallery of the respectable
National Library is turned into a den of sin and debauchery. The exhibition
consists of 'zines, comics, poetry, records, drawings, photographs and films
that shook the conservative Finnish society of the late '60s. The efforts of
the underground movement, based on psychedelia, experimental music, beat
poetry, dada and student radicalism, were rewarded with fines and prison sentences. 

The movement was small, with only a few
dozen active members, but it made headlines – some of which are on show in the
exhibition. “When you don’t understand it, you’re afraid of it,” says M. A. Numminen, the self-proclaimed
father figure of Finnish underground, about the public outrage. It must be
said, however, that many of the products of the spaced-out era remain quite
incomprehensible despite having lost their shock value.

The explanation for the odd combination of
counter-culture and high-brow library is that the exhibition has its
foundations in the academia. In the last 15 years, several cultural researchers
have taken on the Finnish underground phenomenon. The exhibition, a
co-production of academics, journalists and artists, is a summing-up of the
work. Defying all expectations, however, SSH! is not dry and scholarly; rather,
it is multi-faceted and informative. One of the highlights is a feverish jazz
interpretation of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl,
in Finnish translation. At the time, the radio performance raised a fuss all
the way in the Finnish Parliament – now, you can enjoy it in peace in the
gallery.

When
visiting the exhibition, by no means skip the rest of the library. The National
Library represents Finnish empire architecture of the early 19th
century, complete with frescoes in the reading rooms. The library’s well-kept
secret is the American Resource Centre that has an excellent selection of
contemporary magazines – if only you can find it. 

SSH! Suomalainen underground in the Gallery of the National Library, Unioninkatu 36
16.11.2006–3.3.2007. Free entrance.

Categories
Art Exhibitions

Inside Surreal

The
current exhibition, Stomach Pains, Head
Aches and Dizziness
, concentrates on the collision of reality and the
digital world of media. The gallery is filled with art that combines the
electric and inanimate with the material human body. For those with the desire
to experiment, probably the most intriguing piece would be Laughing My Guts Out (2006), which is a huge bouncy-castle
consisting of body parts, such as eyes, teeth and intestines. The artists state
in their introduction leaflet that the exhibition is about experiencing how the
mind deals with the idea of reality in a world that operates through several
forms of non-material media. Bringing together grotesque body parts and the
spectator in a fun and humourous way like this imitates the surprisingly calm
reaction that, for example, the horrors represented in TV awaken in us. 

Another
piece that combines the digital with human body is the screen-installation Body Double (2004) in the museum lobby.
The screens combine the body parts of man and woman. The two bodies seem to
loom over each other composing anandrogynous character.

The
union between man and woman continues on the roof of the museum. The family
portrait 1+1=5 (2006) consists of
inflatable figures of a couple surrounded by their three children. Because of
their substance these figures, though placed together, seem to hover in the air
individually, each in their own world. 

However,
the work that most perfectly crystallises the theme of the exhibition is found
back in the gallery. The PhysicalImpossibility of Foretelling
the Future: Lesson 1
(2006) is a massive black castle hanging upside down from the ceiling.
Inside is a canvas, where a figure of a young girl skipping a rope is
projected. The world that we see around us is distorted, projected upside down.
Inside the thick walls of a castle we are incapable of knowing what lies beyond
them. The media describes our world to us, but it also creates a new reality of
its own. That reality is like the enchanted castle from a fairy-tale.

The
exhibition of Andy Best and Merja Puustinen is on display in Wäinö Aaltonen
Museum of Arts, Turku until 28th of January 2007.

Categories
Art Exhibitions

Photographs In The Green


{mosimage} Things Do Not Change
, a photographic exhibition by Carla Schubert, a Finnish-Austrian artist, comprises a series of black and white photographs portraying shapes and details of woods, trees, roots… The beauty of the undated and untitled photographs is underlined by their being associated with quotes from the book Walden written in 1854 by Henry David Thoreau.

Schubert, a psychologist by training and profession, has been active in the art world since 1992 with video, installations and photography, and has had her work on display in Austria several times, the last in Autumn 2005. Photographing is in the family: “My mother, a photographer, used to develop her own pictures, and I sort of grew up in the darkroom. Art for me is a very selfish exercise, it's all about oneself and one’s (the artist’s) views of the world. Working with other people is different; I can be of use to them, I can help them with their problems.”

“Walden has been one of my favourite books when I was a teenager. The times we live in now have brought it back to my mind. The things he says about the world’s restlessness and people often forgetting what's truly important, I think they fit perfectly into our lives as we live now. Everybody is just busy and stressed, nervous to achieve something,” says Schubert.

{quotes}Schubert’s photographs, and their Walden captions, suggest to us that from time to time it would be good to move away from our everyday hassle, and rest our eyes on a scene that doesn’t change as often as we change mobile phones.{/quotes} They are a reminder that maybe the way we live nowadays is neither the only or the best possible way to spend our lives.

The Winter Garden offers a luxuriant background with all kind of agaves and cactuses to the black and white pictures of Schubert. “The head gardener was very happy to have them there,” says the artist, whose next exhibition will be held in the spring, at the Zebra Gallery, Karjaa.



Helsinki winter garden, Hammarskjöldintie 1, 00250 Helsinki.

Opening hours: Mon closed Tue 09.00–15.00 Wed–Fri 12.00–15.00 Sat–Sun
12.00–16.00