ABSTRACT

6.6.–27.9.

 

Abstract, Pro Artibus Foundation’s summer exhibition in Helsinki and Ekenäs explores non-figurativeness in art from a number of different angles. The exhibition is at Sinne June 5–August 2, 2020 and at Gallery Elverket June 6–September 27, 2020.

The artists at Sinne are: Päivikki Alaräihä, Beryl Furman, Alvar Gullichsen, Jani Anders Purhonen and Päivi Sirén.

The artists at Elverket are: Päivikki Alaräihä, Stig Baumgartner, Christine Candolin, Carolus Enckell, Erika Erre, Susanne Gottberg, Lotta Ingman, Robin Lindqvist, Sampo Malin, Lars-Gunnar Nordström, Matti Rantanen, Sisko Riihiaho and Uhra-Beata Simberg-Ehrström.

The exhibition is curated by Pro Artibus resident curator Juha-Heikki Tihinen.

 

Abstract shows non-figurativeness in both contemporary art and modernism, and reveals how wide an area the non-figurative spans in visual art. The word “abstract” comes from the Latin verb abstrahere, which means to drag or pull away or, put slightly differently: to distinguish in our minds between a physical object and one of its characteristics, and to think about it separately. Abstraction has appeared in various forms in art in different ways in many eras, but the idea of modern abstract art dates back to the 1890s. It was then that the art student Maurice Denis (1870-1941) proposed his famous theory about painting being essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order.

The visual artist Carolus Enckell (1945-2017) wrote: “In a picture light gets its identity through colour as a symbolic surface, feeling and mood.” A non-representational painting is a picture that arouses feelings and fantasies, and which we have to relate to, while non-representational sculptures or installations bring the material and the spatial into abstract art. In the exhibition, the abstract can not only be non-figurative, but also something else, thus demonstrating art’s ability to refer to something other than the concrete and manifest. When that happens, abstraction is a form of relocation and a kind of re-thinking.

Artists of different generations have each in their turn been interested in the different possibilities inherent in abstract art. Currently, abstract modernism is more than just something to be treated ironically and shunned, rather, it emerges as a nuanced, artistic zone of ideas that inspire artists across a broad spectrum. Abstract is a homage to visual art’s ability to explore the intellectual, tangible, aesthetic and material. The border line and the relationship between the figurative and the non-figurative are subject to a continual dialogue, to which each artist makes their own contribution. Abstract art is a way of giving form to the world from a distance, and of understanding ambiguity as a part of being in the world.

Abstract is a tribute to the way that non-figurative art reveals the connection between the concrete and the conceptual in art. Abstract art can refer to different realities simultaneously, bring us closer to the ideal or the spiritual, reveal mathematical beauty, rely on hints and allusions, or say what it has to say at the top of its lungs. During its century-long history, abstract art has displayed both a minimalist and a maximalist side. The range of works in the exhibition is broad, with both paintings and sculptures, but besides them it also includes installations and sound works. The oldest works on display are from the 1970s and the most recent were made specifically for this exhibition.

Apart from pieces in the artists’ possession, the works in the exhibition are from the collections of the Pro Artibus Foundation, the Lars-Gunnar Nordström Foundation/Tuusula Art Museum, Heino Art Foundation, and private collections.

Juha-Heikki Tihinen, PhD

 

 

SINNE June 5–August 2, 2020

Päivikki Alaräihä (b. 1981) lives and works in Helsinki. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 2015. Her most recent exhibitions were at Galerie Anhava and Sinne. Alaräihä’s works are, for instance, in the collections of the Saastamoinen Foundation, Helsinki Art Museum, HAM, and Kiasma.

Beryl Furman (b. 1953) is a Finnish visual artist. She studied at the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 1972–1977, the Free Art School in 1977–1978, and the School of the Fine Arts Academy of Finland in 1978–1983, as well as being a private student of Sam Vanni and studying at the Academie Julien in Paris. Furman made her debut in 1981. Her works are in numerous Finnish collections and she is a member of the Finnish Painters’ Union. She has worked as a portrait painter since 1982.

Alvar Gullichsen (b. 1961) lives and works in Helsinki. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 1984-1988. He made his debut in 1989. In the 1990s, his project Bonk Business Inc. attracted a lot of attention. In 1999-2002, he was a member of the ROR group. Gullichsen’s works are in all the most important Finnish museum and private collections. He is a member of the Finnish Painters’ Union, and also an active club promotor and musician.

Jani Anders Purhonen (b. 1982) lives and works in Helsinki. He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 2015. He made his debut in 2004. His previous exhibition was in Rome at the start of 2020. He’s active in artist work group Bread Omens. Recently, he initiated Bebetton art space. Currently, he’s an artist-in-resident at HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme.

Päivi Sirén (b. 1958) lives and works in Helsinki. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 1980-1984 and gained a Master of Arts degree from the State University of New York in 1986. Sirén’s works are in the most important Finnish collections and also in Sweden. She is a member of the Finnish Painters’ Union and the Kuvasto copyright society for artists. Her previous solo exhibition was at Gallery Kenetti, Helsinki, in February 2020. She was awarded a state artists’ pension in 2019.

 

 

GALLERY ELVERKET June 6–September 27, 2020

Päivikki Alaräihä (b. 1981) lives and works in Helsinki. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 2015. Her most recent exhibitions were at Galerie Anhava and Sinne. Alaräihä’s works are, for instance, in the collections of the Saastamoinen Foundation, Helsinki Art Museum, HAM, and Kiasma.

Stig Baumgartner (b. 1969) lives and works in Helsinki. He is a lecturer in drawing and perception at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki. He made his debut in 1998. Baumgartner gained a Doctorate in Fine Arts in 2015 and his works are in all the most important Finnish collections. He has received the William Thuring Prize and Stina Krook Foundation Award. His previous solo exhibition was at Galerie Forsblom in Helsinki in 2018.

Christine Candolin (b. 1953) lives and works in Helsinki. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Art and Design, Helsinki, where she studied in 1975-1982. She made her debut in 1984. Candolin’s most recent solo exhibition was in Paderborn, Germany, in 2018. Her works are in the Finnish State, Pro Artibus Foundation, Benetton and private collections. Candolin received the Stina Krook Foundation Award in 2001.

Carolus Enckell (1945–2019) was a Finnish visual artist who studied at the Free Art School in 1966–1969 and was its Rector in 1988–1995. He also taught at other art schools in the Nordic countries. Enckell was Editor-in-Chief of Taide (art) magazine in 1984–1990. His works are in all the most important art museum collections in Finland, and elsewhere in the Nordic countries. He won several awards, including the Pro Finlandia medal and second prize in the Carnegie Art Award in 2001. Enckell made 11 public works, the last, begun in the Victoria Quarter of Jätkäsaari, Helsinki, in 2018, was made together with Silja Rantanen and completed only after his death.

Erika Erre (b. 1979) lives and works in Helsinki and Karjaa. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, and Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, from where she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2016. Her previous solo exhibition was at Galleria Huuto in Helsinki in 2018. She received the Stina Krook Foundation Award in 2016.

Susanne Gottberg (b. 1964) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 1984-1989. Her works are in all the most important Finnish museum collections and private collections. She was Young Artist of the Year in 1994, and has also received, for instance, Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, Society of Swedish Literature in Finland (SLS) and Stina Krook Foundation awards. Gottberg’s previous solo exhibition was at Kunsthalle Helsinki in summer 2019.

Lotta Ingman (b. 1978) lives and works in Vihti. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 2011. She is represented, for instance, in the collections of Kiasma and the Wihuri, Lars Swanljung, Pro Artibus Foundation and the Finnish State. Ingman is a member of the Finnish Painters’ Union. Her previous solo exhibition was at Forum Box in Helsinki in 2018.

Robin Lindqvist (b. 1979, Ystad, Sweden) lives and works in Helsinki. He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 2011. His previous solo exhibition was at the Jetty Barracks Gallery in Helsinki. His works are in Kiasma’s collection.

Sampo Malin (b. 1977) lives and works in Riihimäki. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, as a Master of Fine Arts, and also completed teacher education. His previous solo exhibition was the four-part Mark Rothko Project in 2018-19. Malin has been chair of the Association of Finnish Sculptors since 2019. He is a member of the Ars-Häme artists’ association, Forum Box co-operative, Galleria Huuto collective and Artists’ Association of Finland. His works are, for instance, in the City of Riihimäki, Finnish State and Pori Art Museum collections.

Lars-Gunnar Nordström (1914–2014) was a Finnish visual artist. He studied to be an interior architect at the Central School for Applied Arts in 1946–1949. He debuted at the Young Artists exhibition in 1947. He made 27 public works and was, for instance, awarded the Prince Eugen Medal and Pro Finlandia Medal. His works are in the most important art museum collections in Finland, and also in Norway, France, Sweden and Germany. Nordström’s artistic heritage is looked after by the Foundation that bears his name. His legendary jazz collection contains more than 11,000 discs and is stored in the National Library of Finland.

Matti Rantanen (b. 1976) lives and works in Espoo. He studied at the Free Art School in 1996-2000, after which he gained a BA in Fine Art from London Metropolitan University. His previous solo exhibition was at Ama Gallery, Helsinki, in spring 2019. Rantanen’s works are in the HAM, Finnish State and Pro Artibus Foundation collections. He is a member the Finnish Painters’ Union.

Sisko Riihiaho (1925–2018) was a Finnish painter and graphic artist, who studied at the Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society, Helsinki, in 1946–1947 and at the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki in 1951–1954. She also studied in Paris and Bucharest. She made her debut in 1957. Riihiaho was a member of the Dimensio group, the Finnish Painters’ Union, the Association of Finnish Printmakers, and the Senior artists’ association. Her works are in the collections of numerous art museums in Finland, and also in Italy and Romania.

Uhra-Beata Simberg-Ehrström (1914–1979) was a Finnish artist known as an innovator in Finnish ryijy rugs. She graduated from the textile department at the School of Applied Arts in Helsinki in 1935. She designed more than 70 ryijy rugs, the best-known being Forest, which was shown at Expo 67 in Montreal in 1967. She won awards at four successive Milan Triennials, in 1951–1960. Her other awards include the State Industrial Arts Prize and Pro Finlandia medal. She designed various woollen fabrics and yarns for her house in Ekenäs.

 

 

Image: Carolus Enckell, Tvillingröd, 2002. Oil on balsa wood, 37,5 x 75 cm.

 

 

We aim to provide a safe visit to all of our visitors. The galleries will provide a hand sanitation station and special attention will be given to level of hygiene in the gallery. We ask all visitors to maintain a safe distance to each other. In case needed, we will restrict the amount of total visitors in the gallery.