Alma Heikkilä, 2019

One Among Many. Alma Heikkilä’s Work for the Kiasma Commission by Kordelin

Satu Oksanen, MA, Curator, Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki

This is an edited version of Satu Oksanen’s article, ‘One Among Many’, in Satu Oksanen (ed.), Kiasma Commission by Kordelin: Alma Heikkilä. Nykytaiteen museon julkaisuja / A Museum of Contemporary Art Publication 165/2019. Helsinki: Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma 2019 (published April 2019). Transl. Silja Kudel

Through painting, Alma Heikkilä (born 1984) strives to reach out to organisms that are undetectable by the human senses due to their microscopic size, or some other kind of inaccessibility – microbes, spores, algae, the interior debris of dead trees, or colonies of lichen growing inside a rock. Heikkilä alerts our senses to the tiniest, most invisible array of life forms that can usually be perceived only with the aid of devices like microscopes. In her paintings Heikkilä enlarges these organisms and their worlds to such an extreme, that they diminish the human viewer with their vast scale.

The surfaces and motifs of paintings provide habitats – bodies – for various life forms: sea, decaying wood, intestines and forest ecosystems. In turn they inhabit the space of the museum.

Heikkilä collaborates with various co-beings – scholars, artists, organisms and materials. She reflects on multi-species’ coexistence by fusing scientific knowledge with personal experience. Her approach is rhizome-like, pulling together multiform modes of thought, producing knowledge through dialogue, and allowing materials to interact spontaneously with each other, with ongoing back-and-forth movement between these domains.

Featured image: Alma Heikkilä, installation view of the exhibition‘ , ’ /~` mediums,.’_ ” bodies,.’_ ” ° ∞  logs,∞ ‘ , ‘ /~` ‘ holes, .’ `-. ` .’ — °habitats / /`   ‘ * ‘-‘ . ’ , ’ /~`want to feel (,) you inside \| * . . * * \| * . . *./. .-. ~ .’ ‘ , ‘ /~` ❅ ☼ ~
Kiasma Commission by Kordelin, Kiasma’s Studio K Gallery, on view from 15 March – 27 July 2019. Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Petri Virtanen

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Alma Heikkilä: the Kiasma Commission by Kordelin, is open 15 March – 27 July 2019, at Kiasma’s Studio K Gallery, Helsinki