Leo Ackley | Jouni Airaksinen | Gösta Philip Armfelt | Juhana Blomstedt | Sebastian Craig & Barry Sykes | Jacob Dahlgren| Emma Fält & Iida Valkonen | Kristján Guðmundsson | Katriina Haikala | Jussi Heikkilä | Hannaleena Heiska | IC-98 | Tiina Kivinen | Silja Rantanen | Tuomo Rosenlund | Stiina Saaristo | Eeva Tiisala | Markus Tuormaa
How do artists work with the line, where does its shape settle as a simple pencil and charcoal drawing or as a spatial installation. The variations of the line can be seen in the collective exhibition at the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art. Both Finnish and international contemporary artists – 18 artists and artist groups – present the line as part of their artistic work.
Charcoal, one of the chemical elements, is a classic material used by many artists. In the exhibition, the charcoal drawing can be seen in different forms. Leo Ackley‘s dynamic, organic drawing line produces new variations of the female figure, and Juhana Blomstedt‘s Genesis series represents an angular geometric figurative language. Jouni Airaksinen refers to art history in his spatial work This is not a Charcoal Drawing II. Contemporary artists also have a surprising choice of materials; when one draws with hair and the other with coat hangers, another can produce a line with a skate on the ice.
The world has been recorded by drawing, and the history of the representational line is long. The image of the city has been documented in site-specific commissioned works and imaginary memories – Gösta Armfelt‘s lithograph from the 1870s as a curiosity. How do you remember a city you once visited or how someone else describes a city you have never been to. Visual answers to these considerations can be found in the works collected in the exhibition.
A person and its image take shape as drawings from self-irony to inner worlds. The line bends into many shapes on a two-dimensional surface. In her performative project, Katriina Haikala has drawn the image of a woman forgotten in art history. The encounter-based drawing performance has continued since 2017, for example in Oslo, Paris and New York. In Hannaleena Heiska‘s Camourflage series, on the other hand, the shape hides from view. The series also presents the artist’s three-dimensional works. Stiina Saaristo‘s monumental drawings of female figures have taken on new three-dimensional forms in recent years.
The concept of the exhibition also makes the line spatial. It can run wild in the space and take shape as a three-dimensional installation. The work of the Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren, known for his playfulness and stripes, invites the viewer immersively inside the work, into a physical experience.
IC-98‘s Abendland (Hours, Years, Aeons), which represented Finland at the Venice Biennale in 2015, will be the first domestic public performance at the art museum. The drawing animation of the artist duo brings together the subtlety of line combined with the exploratory side of contemporary digital drawing.
The exhibition was produced by Vaasa City Museums and it comprises of numerous loans from art museums and rarely seen private collections. Katriina Haikala Social Portrait – Women Only and Tuomo Rosenlund, who has documented Vaasa and the disappearance of silos from the city’s landscape, are doing special site-specific projects for Vaasa. The exhibition has been curated by the chef of exhibitions Maaria Salo. The national Art Testers has selected the exhibition for its 2023–2024 program.
Emma Fält & Iida Valkoinen, RINK, 2022. In collaboration with Mancianti, Saarinen & NoU Ringette SM. Photo: Kim Saarinen, 2022.