Raimo Utriainen: mind vs passion

{mosimage}Now, for the
second round of Spring exhibitions, that will open from 8.2 until 29.4, that
path has been followed introducing one of the most remarkable figures in contemporary
Finnish art, and follower of the mathematical and geometrical lessons that
Malevich helped to spread around the world: Raimo Utriainen (1927-1994).

Utriainen´s fame
has crossed the national borders. His work can be contemplated in countries
such as Israel,
or Sweden,
and he was venerated in Japan,
where his abstract sculptures had an immediate success and exhibitions were
organized in Kamakura,
Kobe and Sapporo during 1978.

EMMA has had the
Raimo Utriainen Foundation Collection since October 2006, and with the upcoming
exhibition, the visitor will have the opportunity to contemplate a huge
different amount of material from the artist: 150 sculptures, drawings,
paintings, bronze portraits medallions and some other personal stuff that comes
mostly from the old artist’s studio that was located in Pitäjänmäki. In
addition, the WeeGee building itself, where EMMA museum is, appears as a
perfect surrounding for Utriainen´s work, having been designed by the artist´s
old friend, Aarno Ruusuvuori.

The opportunity
not only of observing his more famous side as sculptor, but also his paintings,
gives us an approach to a more personal drama in his lifestyle. Being proud of
his education with a solid background in mathematics and architecture,
Utriainen tried to hide his more romantic side as painter, where he could break
the limits that the formal structures in his sculpture represented. It was not
until 8 years before his death, in 1986, when he became older, that he allowed
this other side of his artwork to emerge in the public sphere, and show it in

Utriainen, born in
Kuopio, was
mostly interested in developing public sculptures that would suit in open
spaces. He did not make many portraits, although the few ones conserved give a
clear example of his mastery in all kinds of art fields.

{mosimage}Another of his
major influences was the Italian artist Brancusi,
and belonging to the generation of artists that studied and wrote about public
monuments after the Second World War, he remained as quite a strict defender of
the Constructivism and Modernism theories. Even when the formalities of size
and design are very much remarked upon in his work, the forms that the light
reflects in some of his sculptures are very sensual and expressive. Some of the
works you can contemplate inside the exhibition reach around three meters high!
Some others even had to be kept out of the exhibition for lack of space.

As well, the
exhibition would give a unique opportunity to take a look at his development in
his work with different materials. From the bronze used in some works during
the 1960s, like his famous “Ida Aalberg Statue”, dedicated to the actress, to
the steel and aluminium of the 1970s with his particular and personal style of
statues perfectly balanced in size, and formed by slats.

And for the
visitor, a last surprise. Not only Utriainen´s influence can be seen inside the
EMMA walls. If you just pay attention, close to the main entrance, there is
surrounded by trees a statue based on Utrianen´s miniature design.