Pamela Brandt and Susanne Gottberg’s joint exhibition is a dialogue in painterly form, in both its subject and its title. The two artists have already spent a lot of time fine-tuning their expression. Minimalist vistas seem to spread before us in both Brandt’s and Gottberg’s paintings. The works depict individual objects, such as a glass, a bowling ball, and other motifs. The paintings’ surfaces are mostly smooth, and both artists’ works appear to be extremely conscious of the fact that they are two-dimensional, painted objects. In art-historical terms the artists can be situated in the time after modernism, while on the other hand they also comment on the entire painting tradition.
There are numerous differences between Brandt’s and Gottberg’s styles and their ways of painting, but their works also share an important similarity. Their paintings are excellent examples of how a figurative motif can take our thoughts and associations to much other than just the obvious. Time after time, the artists show how simple motifs – bridges, buildings, glasses, clocks and other commonplace items – can tell us more than we might at first believe. But this only happens if we stop for more than an instant inside the magic circle of the paintings. Otherwise, we only get to feel a mild anxiety, since even a glance is sufficient for the invisible magic to reach us, albeit fleetingly.
Despite their realistic mode of expression, both artists’ true subject matter is the invisible – memory, feelings, fantasies and everything else that belongs to the psychological realm. When we view their works, chains of associations arise. The actual place and time vanish, and viewers are transported into their own world of imagination. When Brandt and Gottberg paint the invisible, or render the invisible in painterly form, they also envisage the ways that thoughts, dreams, memories and feelings take shape. Time after time, their artistic projects reveal that art is never the Other. The alienness of art is the same as when the invisible is made visible.
The project is being accompanied by the publication of a discussion between the artists, their own texts, and an essay by the exhibition’s curator Juha-Heikki Tihinen.