You are unlikely to be able to see the art featured in this week's post. Why? Well two reasons, the first is that I am fairly sure the exhibitions they were a part of has finished and second, they are on display in the Korundi Art Gallery in Rovaniemi, Finland. So unless I have readership in those parts (which strikes me as unlikely) then you will have to content yourself with this review. Rovaniemi sits on the Southern edge of the arctic circle. I was there during June so there was 24 hour sunlight, and I mean strong, bright, sunburn levels of sunlight. It was quite something. The countryside round there is fairly special. Why was I there. Well my wife (who you can see above, I'm the idiot with the camera, the pig is part of the art.) was competing in the European Masters Weightlifting Championship. She did quite well. I realise all of this is a very unlikely opening paragraph for a blog about art, but that's life I suppose.
Onto the art. The Korundi art gallery houses a concert hall and is home to the Rovaniemi chamber orchestra. It is also houses changing displays of contemporary art. My Finish is not great (it is limited to "hey" - hello "hey hey" - goodbye and "kiitos"- thankyou) but I don't think they have a permanent exhibition. They had 3 or 4 different shows on when we were there but I have just picked out my favourite from each. The piglet looking into the distorting mirror (above) I enjoyed immensely and is the work of Pekka Jylha (a note on names, many of the artists name have umlauts and other markings which I cannot work out how to produce, I have left them out). It is called What is life anyway, and the answer presented is as good as any.
This rather suggestive scratchy affair (above left) is in fact not pen but oil and charcoal and the work of Stig Baumgartner. I am not sure exactly what it shows with these muscular intertwining forms. I think I can spot a rabbits head in there? I also like the different sized canvases combined together.
Much calmer is this almost monochrome affair by Reino Hietanen (above right). Its a simple composition in some ways, this bisected black line in front of what looks like a wall but doubt spread about this by those orbiting planatoids. This causes you look closer and then you see the splashes on the wall are a city sky line and those scratchy white things are trees. It's nice, I like it.
Susanne Gottberg (above left) another purveyor of calm introspective like paintings. Again simple idea, taken just that little bit further and done well. A lonely rural house pictured in concentric squares. It draws you in, which is presumably the intention, and the washy grass gives a dream like effect.
Tapia Junna (above right, for whom I cannot find an internet link), seems to be a collection of bronze hooves morphing together and this strange alien like conglomeration. It is odd but strangely appealing.
There are also couple of moving sculptures. The first called Continuity by Lauri Astala (above left) is faintly disturbing. It consists of a plastic beach ball like globe, that it is slowly inflated and then deflated again by a 70's looking iron long machine. The whole thing is accompanied by a wheezing sound, making you feel like your in the presences of an aging invalid, but presumably that is the point.
Much more relaxing is the kinetic art of Osmo Valtonen (above right). It reminds me of the kinetic sand art of Mona Hatoum. This one is very soothing though. It functions as a coffee table and the hypnotic swirling of that pendulum as it scythes looping around across the sand. The gentle scraping sound of the sand being parted is all part of the effect.
The gallery continues on the floor above, and indeed the floor above that and this time at least that for me was where the quality was. Toni R. Toivonen's rather magnificent piece dominates the northern first floor gallery (above). The room itself with a nice gentle vaulted, the strong arctic summery light gentle filtered for a calmer feel. A very good setting for this piece. Its wooden tones, sometimes appearing to be a horse, sometimes a womblike structure. Its soft glow is due to the fact it is made of brass and dead animal. I subtle memento-mori.
Then you turn round and dominating the floor of the next gallery along is the super fun dancing bear (Above) being the work of Kimmo Schroderus. It is joyous and lifts the spirits from some of the more somber works. It is consists of stainless steel words wrapped around to form the shape. I cannot remember what the words say but given the piece is called Insulter, probably nothing pleasant.
The Giacommeti like figure standing next to is, gaunt and imperious, sadly my photo of the label is so blurred I cannot identify the name of the artist so apologies for this. Standing elsewhere in the gallery the almost bomb-blasted appearing landscape, rendered I think more appealing by the monochrome palette (above right). It is the work of Mikko Paakkola. I like the scrabby sky and the way in which the foliage stretches and mingles with the sky.
Very different is the work of Alma Heikkila with Trillions become one (above left). I cannot decide if it is an undersea sea, muscles and cockles adhering to the side of some rock, all alternatively fungi marching up the side of a tree. The jut out from the piece, going from white to black and grey (you have to peer closely to see the darker ones. It works better in person. It pleased me much and is high in contention to my favourite piece of the gallery. I like also the swirling charcoal and blue grey surface on which the Trillions sit.
Jouna Karsi also greatly entertained me with floating islands, suspended in the middle of the gallery, flood lit so their shadows for part of the piece. I have given you two above. They are quite different in tone. One, I think my preferred one is the above left and the decaying roller-coaster. The detail is impressive and the way the pieces (like in the house above right) peter into nothingness. I enjoyed it very much and circled them a number of times taking them all in.
Finally a violent colourful piece (above left), with red and orange, and scraps of green and black. I am afraid once more I must disappoint you as to the identity of the artist. The colours are immediately appealing and then you move past that and you see a sort of pastoral scene with flying birds. The tone of the painting fighting with the subject. Nice.
Next week back in the UK. Probably the Summer exhibition.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.