NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Rauha Mäkilä’s DEAR with its radiant paintings and lived moments launches our autumn season. This exhibition of new works on canvas is Mäkilä’s fifth solo show at Helsinki Contemporary.

In these works Mäkilä carries on her depiction of her family and of everyday moments. As the title says, those seen on their everyday adventures here are the artist’s dear ones, friends and family members. The works come close and depict closeness, giving rise to images and encounters that we can strongly identify with. Renditions of ordinary moments expand to become shared experiences: “What fascinates me about everyday life is its self-evidentness, since every one of us lives an everyday life, whether it be grim or awesome, but we live it anyway. Our own everyday lives and realities usually help us in our mirroring of emotions and in the way we envisage the world,” Mäkilä says. These large-format works elevate ordinary moments and the warmth that they generate into something significant and necessary.

The play and interplay of colours gives rise to powerful tensions: taking turns on the picture surface are mint greens, bright reds and yellows, along with deep blues and shades of brown. An investigation of the relationships between colours has led to the emergence of powerful spaces inside the paintings. The alternation between the dense colour fields and the light brushstrokes that accentuate the fleeting nature of the subject matter brings the surfaces of the works alive and gives them greater depth.

Recently, Mäkilä has also been thinking about the idea of painting as an event and about her own choice of profession as a woman who makes art. A distinct thread running through the exhibition consists of artists who blazed a trail for contemporary painters: Tamara de Lempicka, Françoise Gilot and Helen Frankenthaler, who can be seen in some of the works. The breezy twinkle in the artist’s eye remains there throughout it all, with a great deal being encapsulated in It is what it is, in which we see Mäkilä herself painting a portrait of de Lempicka – or is it something else entirely.

Rauha Mäkilä is known for her brightly coloured paintings depicting everyday occurrences, drawing from both popular culture and the artist’s own life and family. Since graduating from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2007, Rauha Mäkilä’s (b. 1980, Helsinki) works have appeared in numerous solo and collective exhibitions in Finland and abroad, including: the Munch Gallery, New York, 2011; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, USA, 2015; EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland, 2015; Landskrona Museum, Sweden, 2017 and Galleri Thomassen, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2017. Her works are included in major collections in Finland, e.g. the Saastamoinen Foundation, Wihuri Foundation, and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, as well as the City of Gothenburg Art Collection, Sweden. Mäkilä’s latest solo exhibition at Helsinki Contemporary, Ring a Ring o’Roses, was in 2018. In 2015, Mäkilä was head of the jury for the Young Artists exhibition at Kunsthalle Helsinki. Her recent projects include curating the installation How Home Feels in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki, together with designer Tero Kuitunen.

A catalogue will be published in conjuction with the exhibition with the support of Saastamoinen Foundation.

Thank you to the Arts Promotion Centre Finland for supporting the exhibition, and to Saastamoinen Foundation for supporting the catalogue.

Gallery name: Helsinki Contemporary

Address: Bulevardi 10, Helsinki

Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12:00 - 18:00, Sat-Sun 12:00 - 16:00

Open: 07.08.2020 - 30.08.2020