09.06.2017 - 02.07.2017, Triumph Gallery
Tuomas A. Laitinen
Curated by Yana Tibben
Triumph Gallery presents sixth exhibition in the frameworks of the EXTENSION project, which is dedicated to the current art scene of different countries. In 2017—2018 the project is focused on art from the countries of Northern Europe. The exhibitions will be dedicated to Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
The exhibition «Extension.fi: End of the World in the Mysterious Forest» addresses to the current art scene of Finland. Two-thirds of Finland’s territory is overgrown with forest and although urbanism has not circumvented the country, and it is hard to call this gift of nature completely chaste the relations between Finns and nature could be termed complex, but are at the same inseparable and even sentimental. The forest, simultaneously a threat, refuge, helper, and guardian of sacred knowledge and strength, is faithfully represented in the famous Karelian-Finnish epic poem Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot, where there are no boundaries between mankind, nature and mysticism. It is highly unlikely that this story described in runes is a coffee table book for contemporary Finns. At the same time, however, the sensation of a forest bestowing a feeling of freedom, secrecy and adventure lives on to this day.
Visual language in Finnish contemporary is as in the past metaphorical and oriented to perception first and foremost at an emotional and sensory level. The issues that to a large extent preoccupy artists today could be packed up together in a system consisting of the following key components: migration processes and the problems of identity, social stratification, the rights of sexual minorities, criticism of consumer society, and the impact of the Internet and technologies. As part of a more European whole, Finland is bound to experience them itself, albeit to a lesser degree. However, such interest is more expressive in nature, or to be more accurate is reflected in a visual language through which one can discern the roots of Finnish identity and which articulates the ability of Finns to be global and at the same time remain true to themselves: an ability to approach the most complex and harshest existentialist issues always with philosophical perspicacity, figurativeness and through the prism of man and nature: animals and plants are often accorded the images and social roles of people, while modern man seeks harmony and his own self in the surrounding nature.