Screenshot from Eino Ruutsalo’s film Kinetic Pictures, 1962 Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum

‘I Wish to Be a Field of Constant Transformation’ – Eino Ruutsalo’s Experimental Approaches in the 1960s

Marko Home, PhD, independent researcher

At the beginning of February 1968, Eino Ruutsalo (1921–2001) was having an exhibition ’Valo ja liike’ (Light and Movement), at the Amos Anderson Art Museum in Helsinki. Sam Vanni (1908–1992), who had been a major innovator in Finnish painting in the 1950s, was also due to take part in this exhibition. However, Vanni was outraged to see that his paintings were being hung alongside Ruutsalo’s electrically-operated kinetic works. As a result, Vanni decided to withdraw his work from the exhibition, and this happened at such a late stage that the exhibition catalogue had already been printed, and his contribution could no longer be removed from it.[1] This episode is one example of many in which Ruutsalo challenged the conventions of the Finnish art scene in the 1960s.

In September 2021, a week before the centenary of Ruutsalo’s birth, I defended my dissertation in art history at the University of Helsinki. The aim of my research was to examine the role of this visual artist and filmmaker Ruutsalo in the new forms of art emerging in Finland during the 1960s.[2] The main source material for my research was Ruutsalo’s previously unexplored private archive, which includes the manuscript of his unpublished memoir, correspondence, notes, newspaper clippings, photographs and exhibition catalogues.[3] Other sources I consulted consisted of material in several archival institutions, interviews, exhibition critiques and newspaper articles, and of course Ruutsalo’s works.

Based on my research, I also published a non-fiction book about Eino Ruutsalo for the general public[4], as well as co-curated with Katja Ikäläinen an exhibition on Eino Ruutsalo’s experimental approaches in the 1960s for the Ateneum Art Museum’s Focus Gallery[5]. I also curated a retrospective of Eino Ruutsalo’s films for the National Audiovisual Institute’s cinema Kino Regina[6]. The aforementioned projects have reminded the audience in Finland that Eino Ruutsalo is one of the key names in the history of the Finnish avant-garde. Since my doctoral dissertation is written in Finnish, the aim of this article is to give foreign readers a brief summary of Ruutsalo’s diverse artistic activities.

[1] Eino Ruutsalo. ‘Maalarin rytmiä etsimässä’ (‘In Search of the Painter’s Rhythm’), unpublished memoir, 2000, 77. The Eino Ruutsalo Archive (ERA). Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery (AC, FNG); Valo ja liike / Ljus och rörelse (Light and Movement), Amos Andersonin taidemuseo (Amos Anderson Art Museum), 7–14 February 1968, exhibition catalogue.

[2] Marko Home. ‘Pysähtymisessä vaanii kuolema’ – Eino Ruutsalon kokeellinen 1960-luku (‘Death lurks in stagnation’ – Eino Ruutsalo’s Experimental 1960s). Helsinki: University of Helsinki, 2021,  https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/333635 (accessed 5 January 2022).

[4] Marko Home. Eino Ruutsalo – Kineettisten kuvien maalari (‘Eino Ruutsalo – Painter of Kinetic Pictures’). Helsinki: Parvs, 2021, https://parvs.fi/en/books/eino-ruutsalo/?lang_switched=1 (accessed 5 January 2022).

[5] ‘Focus Gallery: Eino Ruutsalo’s Experimental 1960s’, Ateneum Art Museum, 14 September 2021 – 27 March 2022, https://ateneum.fi/en/exhibitions/fokus-gallery-eino-ruutsalos-experimental-1960s/ (accessed 5 January 2022).

[6] Kino Regina: ‘Eino Ruutsalo 100 vuotta’, 2021–2022, https://kinoregina.fi/teemat/eino-ruutsalo-100-vuotta/ (accessed 5 January 2022).

Featured image: Screenshot from Eino Ruutsalo’s film Kinetic Pictures, 1962
Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum

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nabbteeri, Rubbish video (detail), 2014, projection screens, video installation, 00:05:28s, loop Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

Recycled Utopia – Where Art and Everyday Life Coalesce

Ida Pakarinen, MA, University of Helsinki

This article is published as a result of a three-month research internship at the Finnish National Gallery

Plastic. Used electronics, cables, tons of cereal packages, textiles, cigarette butts, radioactive landfills and repositories, glass bottles and rusted cans. Plastic, plastic, plastic. Plastic in all shapes.

We have all seen the photos of the shorelines filled with the trash the oceans have spat back. Some of us are living in the middle of that dumpster-like reality every day. Yet those photos do not move us so much anymore, paradoxically exactly because of the amount of the trash we live with. We no longer see plastic as an alien subject, because it has completely invaded our lives.

I was 15 years old when I first heard about the infamous Great Pacific rubbish patch, the drastically huge island-like area that is said to be nowadays three times the size of France. Imagining this vortex of faded coloured shampoo bottles, toys, straws and fishing nets floating on the sea made me feel weak and hopeless. It was an awakening moment, and the dystopian shadowy feeling has become even bigger over the years. In an era of eco crisis, thoughts of conspicuous consumption, mass extinctions and hazardous changes in the weather and nature keep restlessly sprawling across my mind. As a beginner art researcher, I’ve been contemplating how much the Finnish contemporary art world has raised its head to these matters. It is obvious that my interest in these matters comes from a concern and an anxiety towards the ecosystem. My thoughts have been especially about trash and recycling. That is why I applied for this research intern job in the Finnish National Gallery.

In this article, I want to see how much and which recycled materials have been used in Finnish contemporary art. For me recycled material means something that is not bought as new. By trash I mean all the thrown away material that cannot be seen to have any use anymore. This material includes broken utensils, old electronics and other devices, expendable objects such as cans, plastic wrap, cardboard, wrapping paper, and all the disused, outdated objects. My focus is then on human-made products, thus excluding natural materials such as wood, hair, fur and offal from my research, yet all these aforesaid materials are refined by humans. This framing excludes many influential pieces from Finnish contemporary artists such as Kaisu Koivisto, who has used a lot of animal-based material in her art. Yet she has also used plenty of human-made recycled materials in her artistic practice, such as objects she has found from rubbish skips.[1]

[1] An interview with Kaisu Koivisto, 25 November 2021. Interviewer Ida Pakarinen. Interview made in Koivisto’s studio apartment in Helsinki. Length 01:01:26. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki (AC, FNG).

Featured image: nabbteeri, Rubbish video (detail), 2014, projection screens, video installation, 00:05:28, loop
Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

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The Gothic Modern group admires the interior of Espoo Cathedral Photo: Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff

Out in the Field – a Gothic Modern Tour

The Gothic Modern research and exhibition project partners meeting in Finland, Thursday 11 November 2021

Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, PhD, Chief Curator, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum

The international research and exhibition project Gothic Modern started in 2018 and it will conclude with an exhibition in the Autumn of 2024. ‘Gothic Modern: from Northern Renaissance to Dark, Emotive, Uncanny Modern Art’ explores the pivotal importance of Gothic art for the artistic modernisms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This ambitious new approach to modern art focuses on the untold story of Nordic and Northern European medieval reinventions, from the 1890s to the fall of the Weimar Republic. The project aims to illuminate the Gothic as a core fascination for early 20th-century art, transcending nationalism, straddling war and its aftermath. It is also a compelling exploration of the Gothic for the 21st century, examining individual, gender and transnational community, entwined with the dark, the emotive and uncanny. The project partners are the Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, the National Museum, Oslo and Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, with Professor Juliet Simpson as the guest curator.

The Ateneum Art Museum was delighted to host the first face-to-face partners workshop in Helsinki in November of last year, as the project team has been working remotely due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Featured image: The Gothic Modern group admires the interior of Espoo Cathedral
Photo: Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff

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Two Research Interns Appointed at the Finnish National Gallery for 2022

Two research interns have been selected for the FNG research internship programme for 2022. The decisions were made based on the applications and the following points were underlined:

  • The point of view of the archives and collections: priority was given to students whose applications were based on a concrete and defined part of the FNG collections and especially to previously unstudied and/or topical materials
  • Preparation of the working plan and the research questions related to the chosen collections material

 

The FNG research intern programme has two aims. The Finnish National Gallery wishes to enhance the study of its collections, including artworks, archives, and objects. At the same time it wishes to support students who choose to study subjects based on physical collections and objects, archive material and data.

The research interns at the Finnish National Gallery for 2022 are:

Hilla Männikkö, University of Helsinki

The miniatures in the Collection of the Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum from the viewpoint of materialism; the miniatures in the collection, conservation material at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, photographs and other archival material in the Archive Collections of the Finnish National Gallery, collections of the Finnish National Gallery Library

Laura Nissinen, University of Helsinki

Connections between scientific imagery and Finnish art at the turn of the 19th century, especially anatomical images; sketches and sketchbooks in the Collection of the Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, photographs and other archival material in the Archive Collections of the Finnish National Gallery, collections of the Finnish National Gallery Library

Both interns have already started their three-month internship and have their own in-house tutors to support them with studying their chosen material.

For more information about the FNG’s research internship programme: fngr@nationalgallery.fi

Paul Sinebrychoff and Fanny Grahn, as an engaged couple, 1883. Photographer: Johannes Jaeger. Collection of Archived Photo Prints. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery

Editorial: Celebrating the Milestones

Kirsi Eskelinen, PhD, Museum Director, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum

 

19 November 2021

 

 

The Finnish National Gallery recognises the importance of celebrating key moments in its cultural history. This year marks the centenary jubilee of the donation of Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff Art Collection to the Finnish State. And next spring the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma celebrates the 10th edition of one of the most important shows in its calendar, ARS22, marking 60 years of ARS exhibitions that take the temperature of the contemporary art world.

The Sinebrychoffs’ house museum was opened to the public for the first time on 27 November 1921. At the opening ceremony, the art collection was presented to the political leadership of the young republic. Those in attendance included the President of the Republic and his wife, all of the cabinet ministers, and civil servants from the church and education ministries. The donation was reported widely in the Press. In a newly independent Finland it was a unique and exceptionally grand collection of old European art. The leading art experts of the time praised its artistic level, particularly in terms of the artworks.

The Sinebrychoffs’ house on Bulevardi has seen many changes in the past century. The same can be said of the house museum that it became. The building was last renovated extensively at the end of the 1990s, including a restoration of the rooms on the Bulevardi side to their appearance at the time of the Sinebrychoffs. Black-and-white photographs of the rooms taken by Signe Brander in 1912 made this reconstruction possible. The photographs were used to place the furniture and artworks in the locations they had occupied during the Sinebrychoffs’ lifetimes. The house museum as we know it today opened its doors in early 2003.

The Sinebrychoff Art Museum celebrates the 100th anniversary of the donation with a jubilee publication, which throws light on the house museum as a whole. Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff decorated the rooms on the Bulevardi side of the building in a range of styles. A great deal of Paul Sinebrychoff’s correspondence has been preserved regarding the purchases for the collection, which allows us to envision the planned, long-term process that shaped it. The Sinebrychoffs were very informed about the collection trends and interior decoration fashions of the time, which is visible in many ways in their collection.

The jubilee publication A Bulevardi Home – Art Collectors Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff, includes a collection of scholarly articles. Kari-Paavo Kokki’s essay places Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s house museum in a European context. He examines the possible influences on the rooms, which were decorated in a variety of styles, in relation to contemporary fashion and style trends, but above all, he focuses on individual artefacts and furniture and their details. FNG Research also publishes an interview with him in this issue. Here too we republish another essay from the book, by Reetta Kuojärvi-Närhi, MA, a curator at the Finnish National Gallery, which approaches the collection through the couple’s travels in the 1880s and 1890s, based on Paul Sinebrychoff’s correspondence archive.

Also in the jubilee publication Professor Charlotta Wolff examines Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s collection and art collecting in the frame of reference of late 19th-century Finland. Prof. Wolff visualises the collection itself and its special traits as an expression of its time. Chief Curator of the Sinebrychoff Art Museum Ira Westergård, PhD, delves into the donation of the art collection, and particularly Fanny Sinebrychoff’s role in the donation process, as well as the history of the collection after the donation as far as the outbreak of the Winter War at the end of the 1930s.

The jubilee celebration also marks the inauguration of the renewed display of the permanent collection at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum. Many of the acquisitions made during the past seven years are on show, including recently acquired paintings by Jacopo Bassano, Giorgio Gandini del Grano, Abraham Bloemaert, Salvator Rosa and Henry Raeburn among others. The Friends of the Sinebrychoff Art Museum celebrate their 10th anniversary of activity and all 22 artworks that have been donated by them are on show for this occasion.

As part of the Finnish National Gallery’s international research and exhibition project ‘Gothic Modern’, this issue of FNG Research includes a presentation given earlier this year to the project’s first knowledge sharing workshop. Dr Jeremy Howard’s abstract highlights the influence of the Gothic on Russian art and culture through exploring the metaphor of the vault.

An article by Katariina Johde and Hanne Tikkala explores new approaches to conservation work that they have carried out at the Finnish National Gallery’s Conservation Unit. They highlight the value of research that combines extended observations using the naked eye together with the latest technology in assessing the condition of the much-loved painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake View (1901).

Also in this issue of FNG Research, Saara Hacklin, PhD, curator at Kiasma, follows the work of five printmakers, all alumnae of the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, to explore how the relationship to the human body is manifested in their artworks.

Feeling the pulse of the contemporary art world locally and internationally has been the remit of the ARS exhibitions, which every five years have presented an overview in their thematic shows. Ahead of the 10th edition, ARS22, opening in April at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Gill Crabbe interviews Museum Director Leevi Haapala and Chief Curator João Laia about the research and curation processes involved in creating this landmark exhibition.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to our annual call for research interns for 2022. Applications will be taken until 31 December 2021, and two interns selected by 21 January 2022. Details of how to apply are in this issue.

Featured image: Paul Sinebrychoff and Fanny Grahn, when they were engaged to be married, 1883. Photographer: Johannes Jaeger. Collection of Archived Photo Prints. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery
Public domain. This image of a work of art is released under a CC0 licence, and can be freely used because the copyright (70 full calendar years after the death of the artist) has expired.

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David Beck (1621−56), studio, Christina, Queen of Sweden, oil on canvas, 68cm x 56cm Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff Collection, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Kirsi Halkola

Art and Travel: The First Steps in the Formation of Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s Collection in 1883–99

Reetta Kuojärvi-Närhi, MA, Curator, Archives and Library Unit, Finnish National Gallery

This is a revised version of the article published in Salla Heino (ed.), Koti Bulevardilla – Keräilijät Paul ja Fanny Sinebrychoff / Ett hem på Bulevarden – Konstsamlarna Paul och Fanny Sinebrychoff / A Bulevardi Home – Art Collectors Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff. Sinebrychoff Art Museum Publications. Helsinki: Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum, 2021. Transl. Mike Garner

Paul Sinebrychoff the Younger (1859–1917) was only 29 years old in 1886 when, with the support of his mother, he took charge of the family-owned brewery. When he had married the actress Fanny Grahn (1862‒1921) three years earlier, he did not yet have responsibility for the family business and the young couple were able to travel abroad and explore art treasures. Thus began a lifelong passion for culture and the Sinebrychoffs started collecting art in the late 1890s and, as a result of nearly thirty years of collecting, in 1921 Fanny Sinebrychoff donated the collection of approximately 900 works to the Finnish State at the joint request of the couple.

During those decades Paul Sinebrychoff used to write letters in the evenings concerning art acquisitions to various specialists, mainly in Sweden, but later in other parts of Europe. The Archives of the Finnish Art Society at the Finnish National Gallery’s Archive Collections contain approximately 1,300 letters and responses to and from Sinebrychoff between 1891 and 1914. My essay explores the way that Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s art collection was formed as a consequence of their journeys to Sweden. The information about those journeys and art acquisitions comes from this research into Paul Sinebrychoff’s correspondence.

An appreciation of the context surrounding these now-digitised letters is of paramount importance in gaining an overview. For example, in analysing Henryk Bukowski’s 19th-century auction catalogues, I was aided by a knowledge of, for instance, Swedish art collectors, their collections, and the sales of individual works of art. My research also covers the Sinebrychoffs’ personal relationships with art historians, antiques dealers, and especially with art collectors. For example, the Sinebrychoffs made their first purchases of artworks directly from artists, collectors and antiques dealers.

Featured image: David Beck (1621−56), studio, Christina, Queen of Sweden, oil on canvas, 68cm x 56cm. Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff Collection, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Kirsi Halkola
Public domain. This image of a work of art is released under a CC0 licence, and can be freely used because the copyright (70 full calendar years after the death of the artist) has expired.

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Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Gustavian Room, 2003. Photographer: Arno de la Chapelle. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery

A Collector’s Dream

FNG Research

A new book, A Bulevardi Home – Art Collectors Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff, published by the Finnish National Gallery, celebrates the centenary of the bequest of the Sinebrychoffs’ collection of artworks, furniture and other artefacts to the Finnish Government in 1921. Meanwhile, at their home – now the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Helsinki – the exhibition ‘Collectors on Tour’ presents important collectors who have donated their collections to the FNG. FNG Research discusses the growth of house museums and artefact studies, with Kari-Paavo Kokki, a museum director emeritus and expert in historical styles and artefacts, who has also contributed an essay to the book.

The Sinebrychoffs’ bequest is housed in their house museum on Bulevardi (now part of the Finnish National Gallery), where the rooms on the first floor at the front of the building are shown as Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff had arranged them after moving there in 1904. As part of the centenary celebrations, the house museum is reopening following further renovations to the building. In the temporary exhibitions gallery below the house museum, the exhibition ‘Collectors on Tour’ spotlights significant collections belonging to the Finnish National Gallery and their influence. These collections include those of the Swedish baron Otto Wilhelm Klinckowström (1778–1850), the Italian Renaissance scholar Eliel Aspelin (1847–1917), the forestry magnate Jalo Sihtola (1882–1969), who collected both historic and contemporary works, and the Paris-based millionaire Herman Antell (1847–93) who had a taste for collecting Old Masters.

Featured image: Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Gustavian Room, 2003. Photographer: Arno de la Chapelle. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery

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Slavs and Tatars, Prayway, 2012, installation. Courtesy the artists and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin Photo: Bernard Kahrmann

Living Encounters: Creating a Landmark ­Contemporary Art Show

Gill Crabbe, FNG Research

Putting together a survey show that takes the pulse of the global art world is a complex task. Ahead of the ARS22 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Gill Crabbe discusses the research and curatorial processes involved with Museum Director Leevi Haapala and Chief Curator João Laia

There’s an old saying that we can become what we dwell on, and this springs to mind following meeting Leevi Haapala, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Chief Curator João Laia. They have been working on the latest in a series of exhibitions, which are held every four to five years in Helsinki to test the water of the contemporary arts scene both nationally and internationally. Each edition of this long-established show is eagerly awaited, with its selection of around 40–50 artists ranging from emerging Finnish artists to global icons, and expectations are high. Hearing Haapala and Laia speak about their vision for ARS22 and the research processes involved, it seems clear that the two of them have been in many ways embodying or exemplifying the vision they have evolved for this landmark exhibition. They are walking the talk.

For the theme around which ARS22 is conceived is mutual empathy, neatly encapsulated in the show’s title ‘Living Encounters’. Looking at the world, as artists do, it is easy to see the processes of social fragmentation (accelerated by Covid-19) and increasing polarisation within the discourses and issues of today, be that politics, ecology, technology, belief systems, gender or race issues – ‘concerns,’ says Haapala ‘that contribute to determining our actions in collective and private spheres’. The vision for ARS22 centres on presenting artworks that individually, collectively or in dialogue with one another, offer the possibility to question or obviate such divisions. With this approach ARS22 sets out to create a ‘renewed way of thinking which acknowledges the complexities of the world as fruitful’ rather than divisive, and provides a ‘forum for sharing experiences and examining issues that touch us all’.

Featured image: Slavs and Tatars, Prayway, 2012, installation. Courtesy the artists and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin
Photo: Bernard Kahrmann

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Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake View, 1901, oil on canvas, 84cm x 57cm Photo: Finnish National Gallery /Hannu Pakarinen

Observations on the Painting Technique and Materials Used in the Painting of Lake View, by Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Katariina Johde, Conservator, BA, and Hanne Tikkala, MA, PhD Student, Senior Researcher, Conservation Unit, Finnish National Gallery

A museum visitor observes an artwork on a museum wall on average for a few seconds or minutes. The conservator quickly checks the condition of a painting before and after every exhibition to make sure the condition has remained unchanged during the exhibition. The condition report, with detailed drawings, descriptions and photos, takes perhaps half an hour to make. Would new and noticeable information come to light if one were able to look at the painting for hours with bare eyes, microscopes, in different electromagnetic wavelengths, with different instruments and cameras?

In our day-to-day work as a conservator and a materials researcher, we make observations of the structure and the surface of the paintings in more detail than a regular viewer. In this article we present some aspects regarding the painting technique and the materials of the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s (1865-1931) painting Lake View, from 1901[1] (Fig. 1). Usually, this painting is exhibited in the main collection exhibition in the Ateneum Art Museum and is a very popular work that draws in our museum visitors. In recent years it has often been loaned to exhibitions in Finland and around Europe. Every time it has returned to the Ateneum the research has continued and as a result the painting has been studied very carefully, especially over the past two years.

Originally, we decided to study Lake View more deeply because of its beautiful and informative radiograph (Fig. 2). We had already X-rayed a large number of Gallen-Kallela’s works but as we were analysing the radiograph of Lake View, we started to recognise characteristic features in the brushwork, which appeared repeatedly in his paintings. The radiograph and other analytical photographs of the painting were very illuminating and strengthened our understanding of the artist’s painting technique. However, important new information was also found just by looking at the painting very closely with the naked eye. Markings on the edges and on the reverse of the painting gave us information which led us to visit the archives and to investigate his original painting materials.

[1] Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake View, oil on canvas, 84cm x 57cm, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, A-2010-173.

Featured image: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake View, 1901, oil on canvas, 84cm x 57cm, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Pakarinen
Public domain. This image of a work of art is released under a CC0 licence, and can be freely used because the copyright (70 full calendar years after the death of the artist) has expired.

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Suvi Sysi, Caused Reflection, 2017, installation comprising surplus papers from the printing process, monotype; dimensions vary Photo: Suvi Sysi

Body, Trace, Perception

Saara Hacklin, PhD, Curator, Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

This article was originally published online in Finnish only as ‘Ruumis, jälki, havainto’ in Martta Heikkilä and Annu Vertanen (eds.), Printed matters: merkitysten kerroksia. Helsinki: Academy of Fine Arts, The University of the Arts Helsinki, 2021[1]

How does the artist’s body become a medium and a carrier? How does an author explore his or her relationship to the world by submitting to it? In this article, I examine the practice of five young printmakers: Roma Auskalnyte, Inka Bell, Inma Herrera, Emma Peura and Suvi Sysi. They were all born in the 1980s and 1990s and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki. The works they make take various forms: sculptural installations, performances, videos and reliefs. Yet all share a strong connection with the tradition of printmaking.

In this article I investigate the ways in which the relationship to the human body is reflected in their artworks. From this viewpoint I trace a relationship to the world, where the artist is exposed to different materialities and open to the surrounding world. The artworks discussed bring forth themes of perception, memories and different materialities, as well as questions of language and technology. What unites the artworks is their ability to reach towards the other, be it a matter of thinking in other ways, looking at history from another angle and thinking about our way of being in another way.

[1] To access the book in Finnish, visit http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe202102053929.

Featured image: Suvi Sysi, Caused Reflection, 2017, installation comprising surplus papers from the printing process, monotype; dimensions vary
Photo: Suvi Sysi

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