Friday 19. May 2017
From 20 May, Serlachius Museums’ Summer Days exhibition presents eight prominent Nordic artists, who represent different generations and different approaches to making art. They are united by a landscape saturated with Northern colour and light, presented either directly or referentially.
The exhibition’s artists are Päivikki Alaräihä, Tor Arne, Einar Garibaldi Eiríksson, Andreas Eriksson, Peter Frie, Olav Christopher Jenssen, Anna Retulainen and Troels Wörsel.
Little has been seen of the painting of Nordic artists in Finland in recent years. Curator Timo Valjakka selected landscape as the theme of the exhibition, because Nordic art is, in essence, natural romantic. “Here in the North, urbanisation is still fairly recent, and the relationship to nature is always present, even if the artist does not particularly emphasise it,” he says.
Valjakka chose for the exhibition at least one artist from each Nordic country. They are among the leading artists of their own countries, but in Finland some of them are relatively unknown. They are united by references to landscape or natural perception, but always filtered by memory. Visual motifs of summer are highlighted in the works selected for the exhibition.
“Summer has mythical significance for us residents of the North. We dream about it and long for it, sometimes even when it’s summer. I was attracted to make an exhibition on a subject that is such an essential part of our identity that we generally are not even aware of it,” says Valjakka.
According to the curator, the bright and airy exhibition encourages one to look at art as one would read poetry. He hopes that it will convey the variety of summer’s day moods that the people of the North recognise. Nearly all of the works of the exhibition are the artists’ new production, many being presented for the first time.
Landscape as building material
“Landscape is food for works of art, not their subject matter,” says Finnish artist Tor Arne (b. 1934). Underlying Arne’s paintings are perceptions of nature, but he develops them into a holistic experience in which memory of the light of the landscape is only one element present in the works.
Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson (b. 1975) is inspired by the surrounding natural environment. Observations of everyday life are the basis of his works, which are situated somewhere between abstract and representational art.
For Danish artist Troels Wörsel (b. 1950), who lives in Italy, painting is simultaneously the focus and the instrument of inspection. He transfers the visual theme to the canvas in a manner that shifts the focus to the painting itself.
Memories of the past
Swedish artist Peter Frie (b. 1947) is a colourist who pursues half-forgotten memories. His works appeal to all the senses and in a manner that enables everyone to easily recognise their own memories and experiences.
Norwegian artist Olav Christopher Jenssen (b. 1954), who lives in Germany and Sweden, says memories of the landscapes of his childhood in Norway are continually present in his works as a kind of yardstick, although very indirectly and referentially.
The themes of Finnish artist Anna Retulainen’s (b. 1969) new works are from her own garden. Even so, she does not paint from models but from motoric memory, where visual perceptions and physical experiences of a beloved location are interwoven.
Mind games in landscape
Finnish artist Päivikki Alaräihä (b. 1981) extends the concept of painting in the direction of architecture. Simple shapes such as rectangles do not as such represent anything, but refer to architectural openings, doors and windows and further to the light that follows the seasons of the year.
Icelandic artist Einar Garibaldi Eiríksson’s (b. 1964) eight-part work turns the idea of landscape painting on its head and tells concretely about the painting of a landscape. The work consists of traffic signs found by the artist in different parts of Italy, which warn about road markings being painted.
Read more about the artists: http://www.serlachius.fi/en/for-media/press-releases/320-artists-of-the-exhibition-summer-days/
Summer Days is open at Serlachius Museum Gösta 20 May–1 October 2017.
The Serlachius Museums are open:
in summer 1 June–31 August, every day 10 am–6 pm (also at Midsummer)
in winter 1 September–31 May, Tuesday to Sunday 11 am–6 pm
For further information, please contact Timo Valjakka, tel. +358 40 548 4450, firstname.lastname@example.org