Forum Box’ artists in Iceland!

Elämän vesi / Lífsins vatn / Water of Life

At Kling & Bang -gallery, Reykjavik opens up the exhibition Elämän vesi / Lífsins vatn / Water of Life, produced in collaboration with Forum Box. The artists in the show are Hermanni Saarinen, Ilona Valkonen, Kristiina Uusitalo, Petteri Cederberg and Vesa-Pekka Rannikko. The exhibition is curated by Juha-Heikki Tihinen and it is open from January 25th to February 29th, 2020.

Juha-Heikki Tihinen: Water of Life

The Water of Life exhibition presents works of five contemporary Finnish artists. They are Petteri Cederberg, Vesa-Pekka Rannikko, Hermanni Saarinen, Kristiina Uusitalo and Ilona Valkonen. The name of the exhibition, Water of Life (Aqua vitae), can refer to different things: e.g. the Book of Revelation, the fairytale of Brothers Grimm, distilled spirit and the Fountain of Youth. It can be mystical and spiritual, or very matter of fact and mundane. The choice of approach is yours.

The exhibition is a continuation of the co-operation between Forum Box and Kling & Bang. In 2016 the Pro Artibus Foundation organised an exhibition called By Water in Finland and exhibited works of 14 Icelandic artists. One of the venues were Forum Box. Forum Box is an artist driven gallery space and an artistic collective which has been active from 1996. The very idea of Forum Box is to create a forum for all arts and artists.

The exhibition shows the diversity of Forum Box artists and also the variations on how to treat the exhibition theme. The artists treat the theme in various ways which make clear how Water of Life can be seen from sublime or from carnivalesque perspectives. This diversity creates a parallel to the Forum Box activity which combines artistic practice with ordinary tasks.

Petteri Cederberg (b. 1976) works with different mediums, paintings, drawings, animations and installations. His piece in the exhibition is Median life and / or death (2019). The piece is a good example of Cederberg’s oeuvre. His works are dream-like or some kind of apparitions. He mixes both geometrical and organic forms which start out as abstract but turn into figurative. Cederberg turns animation into an uncanny, but at the same time humorous experience.

Vesa-Pekka Rannikko’s (b. 1968) Fall (2020) is about the contact between human and nature, and between the sacred and profane. The work is a drawn animation which is projected on paper, which hangs on an installation structure. Fall outlines the transit area of the narrative, open up a no man’s land between words and drawings and the content they represent. Rannikko works with installations and sculptures which create associations to nature, materiality, society and human experience.

Hermanni Saarinen (b. 1979) creates sculptural installations which can combine readymades or be made of wood. His installations create a sense of wonder by the unusual combinations of materials and forms. In a way he creates a piece of art in the form of scenography, which turns the exhibition place into a presentation. Simultaneously, presentation and representation initiate a dialogue.

Kristiina Uusitalo (b. 1959) has been active in the Finnish art scene from the early 1980’s. Her paintings are quite often related to experiences in nature. Her concern of plastic pollution in our seas has become a part of her work and has created a series of painting which can be related to the micro flakes but also to light and the sublime. In her works, she shows how painting can refer to aesthetics, ethics and politics, and comment on both todays environmental crisis and have art historical references.

Ilona Valkonen (b. 1980) is a Finnish visual artist who works in both traditional and experimental ways. She has been exhibiting paintings but is most well-known for a performance piece called Vieno Motors. In Vieno Motors the participating artists turn the audience into living sculptures by dressing them in flowers and other materials, subsequently turning them into human flower bouquets. In Water of Life Valkonen exhibits an installation version of her performance. The performance is carried out during the opening of the exhibition.

Juha-Heikki Tihinen works as a curator at the Pro Artibus Foundation. He is a PhD in art history from the University of Helsinki (2008). Tihinen has been working as a curator, critic, researcher, teacher and writer from the late 1990s.

Land Beyond the Sea 25th of January to 5th of  April, 2020

The exhibition Land Beyond the Sea is on view at The Nordic House in Reykjavik January 25th to April 5th, 2020. The exhibition is produced by the Pro Artibus Foundation and is curated by the foundations curator Juha-Heikki Tihinen. The group exhibition features five Finnish artists: Erik Creutziger, Marjo Levlin, Carl Sebastian Lindberg, Susanna Majuri and Pauliina Turakka Purhonen.

Read more about the exhibition here.

It follows up By Water – Icelandic Artists on the Shores of Finland, an earlier exhibition presenting the work of Icelandic contemporary artists held in Helsinki and Tammisaari in 2016.