Press release available only in original language.
NORTHERN SUMMER AND ETERNAL LONGING IN THE SERLACHIUS MUSEUMS’ SUMMER DAYS EXHIBITION IN FINLAND
From 20 May, Serlachius Museums’ Summer Days exhibition presents eight prominent Nordic artists, who represent different generations and different approaches to making art. They are united by a landscape saturated with Northern colour and light, presented either directly or referentially.
The exhibition’s artists are Päivikki Alaräihä, Tor Arne, Einar Garibaldi Eiríksson, Andreas Eriksson, Peter Frie, Olav Christopher Jenssen, Anna Retulainen and Troels Wörsel.
Little has been seen of the painting of Nordic artists in Finland in recent years. Curator Timo Valjakka selected landscape as the theme of the exhibition, because Nordic art is, in essence, natural romantic. “Here in the North, urbanisation is still fairly recent, and the relationship to nature is always present, even if the artist does not particularly emphasise it,” he says.
Valjakka chose for the exhibition at least one artist from each Nordic country. They are among the leading artists of their own countries, but in Finland some of them are relatively unknown. They are united by references to landscape or natural perception, but always filtered by memory. Visual motifs of summer are highlighted in the works selected for the exhibition.
“Summer has mythical significance for us residents of the North. We dream about it and long for it, sometimes even when it’s summer. I was attracted to make an exhibition on a subject that is such an essential part of our identity that we generally are not even aware of it,” says Valjakka.
According to the curator, the bright and airy exhibition encourages one to look at art as one would read poetry. He hopes that it will convey the variety of summer’s day moods that the people of the North recognise. Nearly all of the works of the exhibition are the artists’ new production, many being presented for the first time.
Landscape as building material
“Landscape is food for works of art, not their subject matter,” says Finnish artist Tor Arne (b. 1934). Underlying Arne’s paintings are perceptions of nature, but he develops them into a holistic experience in which memory of the light of the landscape is only one element present in the works.
Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson (b. 1975) is inspired by the surrounding natural environment. Observations of everyday life are the basis of his works, which are situated somewhere between abstract and representational art.
For Danish artist Troels Wörsel (b. 1950), who lives in Italy, painting is simultaneously the focus and the instrument of inspection. He transfers the visual theme to the canvas in a manner that shifts the focus to the painting itself.
Memories of the past
Swedish artist Peter Frie (b. 1947) is a colourist who pursues half-forgotten memories. His works appeal to all the senses and in a manner that enables everyone to easily recognise their own memories and experiences.
Norwegian artist Olav Christopher Jenssen (b. 1954), who lives in Germany and Sweden, says memories of the landscapes of his childhood in Norway are continually present in his works as a kind of yardstick, although very indirectly and referentially.
The themes of Finnish artist Anna Retulainen’s (b. 1969) new works are from her own garden. Even so, she does not paint from models but from motoric memory, where visual perceptions and physical experiences of a beloved location are interwoven.
Mind games in landscape
Finnish artist Päivikki Alaräihä (b. 1981) extends the concept of painting in the direction of architecture. Simple shapes such as rectangles do not as such represent anything, but refer to architectural openings, doors and windows and further to the light that follows the seasons of the year.
Icelandic artist Einar Garibaldi Eiríksson’s (b. 1964) eight-part work turns the idea of landscape painting on its head and tells concretely about the painting of a landscape. The work consists of traffic signs found by the artist in different parts of Italy, which warn about road markings being painted.
Read more about the artists: www.serlachius.fi/en/for-media/press-releases/320-artists-of-the-exhibition-summer-days/
Summer Days is open at Serlachius Museum Gösta 20 May–1 October 2017.
The #serlachiusmuseums are open:
in summer 1 June–31 August, every day 10 am–6 pm (also at Midsummer)
in winter 1 September–31 May, Tuesday to Sunday 11 am–6 pm
For further information, please contact Timo Valjakka, tel. +358 40 548 4450, firstname.lastname@example.org
ARTISTS OF THE EXHIBITION SUMMER DAYS
1984 born in Yli-Ii. Lives and works in Helsinki.
In 2015 graduated with an MFA degree from the University of the Arts Helsinki, the Academy of Fine Arts.
She has held several solo exhibitions and participated in several group exhibitions in Finland.
Her works have been included in the collections of Helsinki Art Museum HAM, the Finnish State and the Finnish Art Association.
2016 received a grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, in 2015 a Young Artist grant from the Finnish Art Association and the Toini Mäkelä grant from the Finnish Art Association.
Päivikki Alaräihä makes both stand-alone paintings on canvas and site-specific installations formed out of several paintings. She favours simple abstract forms, such as rectangles, that do not represent anything in themselves, but which contain references to the surrounding architecture, for example, to doors and windows. Her works are extremely reductive, and sometimes even appear to be empty surfaces. And yet the absence of detail is paradoxical: it tempts us into a long, meditative viewing experience and multiple conceptual interpretations.
1934 born in Turku. Lives and works in Helsinki.
1956–1959 studied at the Free Art School of Helsinki.
1966–1988 worked as a principal of the Free Art School Helsinki.
Several solo exhibitions and group exhibitions.
1975 received a visual art award from the Nyland region.
2011 a retrospective exhibition at Art Museum Emma in Espoo.
Tor Arne thrives in the border zone between the abstract and the figurative image, and amid broken colours, in areas where concepts are loose and things have no specific name. Besides that, he views language with suspicion. “Words are barriers, at least in the world that I spend time in.” One of the key elements in Tor Arne’s paintings is the painting process itself, with traces of it visible on the surface of the canvas. He does not plan his paintings carefully in advance, but brings various things together on the canvas and seeks out a point of origin in the encounter between them.
Einar Garibaldi Eiríksson
1964 born in Iceland. Lives and works in Reykjavik.
1986–1991 Studied at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan.
1980–1985 studied at Iceland’s College of Art and Crafts.
From 1984 has held solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions in Iceland, Norway, Italy, France and Sweden.
Since 2015 Director of Visual Arts Department at the Reykjavik School of Art, and since 2012 guest lecturer at Iceland Academy of the Arts.
Einar Garibaldi Eiríksson’s Grand Tour is a work that constantly grows and develops. He began making it in Italy at the end of the 1990s. It consists of road signs that Eiríksson has found in various parts of Italy, signs that warn that road marking is in progress. Even if the visual motif is the same, each sign is a unique painting – the work of an anonymous hand. The simplified, black-and-white visual language of the signs comes close to the punchiness of pop art.
1975 born in Björsäter. Lives and works in Medelplana, Sweden.
1993–1998 studied at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm (1998).
2011 represented Sweden at the Nordic Pavilion of Venice Biennale.
2012 participated at the Sao Paulo Biennal, Brazil.
Several solo exhibitions and group exhibitions in, among other countries, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Italy, England, Poland, Austria, France and the USA.
2007 was awarded the Baloise Art Prize.
Works included in many countries’ public collections.
Andreas Eriksson is a multi-faceted artist, whose production, alongside paintings and photographs, includes sculptures, tapestries and installations. Eriksson lives in the Swedish countryside, in a house surrounded by open fields and forests. The minor and major events and observations of everyday life serve as starting points for his work, and provide a powerful basis for their formal, conceptual and metaphorical structure. His works, as it were, float in the intermediate terrain between the abstract and the figurative image, which makes them both familiar and enigmatic at the same time.
1947 born in Lysekil, Sweden. Lives and works in Båstad, Sweden and in Phuket, Thailand.
1998 received the Ars Fennica award and gave a comprehensive touring exhibition in Finland.
Has been exhibited in several dozen solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe. His works are included, in, among others the collection of Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Kiasma, the Museum of #contemporaryart in Helsinki, and the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden.
Peter Frie is a poet of light, who in his paintings seeks to render the drowsy heat of a sultry summer’s day and the burnt-orange sun of evening sinking below the horizon. He is a colourist whose works speak to all of our senses. In them it is easy for anyone to recognise their own memories and experiences. Frie does not paint out of doors with his subject spread out before him, but from memory. For him the landscape in the painting signifies a state of happiness and wellbeing, in which experiences he has had as an adult and paintings he has seen are mingled with memories of the summers and happy moments of his childhood.
Olav Christopher Jenssen
1954 born in Norway. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany and Lya, Sweden.
1976–1979 studied at the National Arts and Crafts School of Norway.
1980–1981 studied at the National Academy of the Arts of Norway.
Works have been exhibited in several solo exhibitions and he has participated in group exhibitions in, among other countries, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, France and the USA.
Participated in Documenta IX in Kassel in 1992. Solo exhibitions in Ateneum in 1993 and in Kiasma in 2011.
Works have been included in the collections of MoMa in New York, British Museum and Pompidou Centre in Paris as well as many private collections in Finland.
Olav Christopher Jenssen’s production contains an astonishing number of ways that a painter can apply paint to canvas and draw shapes and patterns on its surface. Every broad survey of his art resembles a dictionary or encyclopaedia of abstract painting. For him, conquering new worlds of painting is a joy and a pleasure that carry his art forwards, and also catches hold of the viewer. Nordic nature and especially memories of the landscapes of childhood have always been important for Jenssen, who was born in northern Norway.
1969 born in Orimattila. Lives and works in Helsinki.
Studied at the College of Arts and Crafts and at Konstfack in Stockholm.
Works exhibited in solo exhibitions and group exhibitions in, among other countries, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Britain and France.
1999 and 2014 nominee for the Carnegie Art Award and 2004 nominee for Ars Fennica.
2006 received the William Thuring Award.
Works included in public collections: Kiasma Museum of Modern Art, Helsinki Art Museum HAM, Amos Anderson Art Museum, Sara Hildén Art Museum, among others.
Retulainen paints by “imagining”, by observing the experiences and sensations inscribed in her memory. The paintings may, at first glance, appear not only abstract, but also swift and spontaneous. A closer look reveals fragments of space, light and the visible world, and the way that every work is the outcome of an extended working process. Retulainen’s paintings are like the ruins of experiences, delicate tissues of colour and form. They can be blurred images of the world, but they are exact renditions of the way that human perception and memory operate.
1950 born in Denmark. Lives and works in Cologne, Germany and in Pietrasanta, Italy.
Self-taught as an artist.
2002 won the Carnegie Art Award’s first prize.
2007 represented Denmark at the Venice Biennale.
Had solo exhibitions in, among other countries, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France and the USA.
Works included in public collections, for example MoMa in New York, Kiasma Helsinki, Pompidou Centre Paris, National Gallery of Denmark and Louisiana Art Museum in Denmark.
The starting points for Troels Wörsel’s works lie in his profound interest both in the history and nature of painting, and in its formal properties, along with the tools needed to make it. This being the case, painting is simultaneously both the focus of his inspection and the instrument for that inspection, something that he uses to probe the possibilities of painting. He is interested, for instance, in the way that the meaning of a painting is constructed on the level of form, technique, concept and symbol.
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