NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Helsinki Contemporary is delighted to host Olli Piippo’s solo exhibition Felt Certainties in June. This is Piippo’s second solo showing at Helsinki Contemporary and all the paintings are new. Present here are elements both of his earlier working process that leaned towards figurative expression and of his previous, purely abstract, minimal form language, as seen in his solo exhibition Eight Notes on Oceanic Feeling seen in 2018. Felt Certainties refers to an experiential certainty that has arisen over time, and which provides the starting point for the painting. It is based more on feeling and intuition than on learned knowledge and understanding.

Piippo has worked on these paintings in Helsinki and Berlin. He paints physically, and the variations in the size of the exhibition works mark out and make possible different things: in the large paintings he gets to use the movement of his whole body when he is working; while he sees the small ones more as observations, studies or poem-sized works. His working process is characterized by constantly finding something new. Trial, search and error open up possibilities and an opportunity to learn about ever-new materials. The serial working process allows a lateral shift between different styles and materials.

The materials in the paintings are palpable, the flowing, luscious lustre of the alkyds sets the tone for the exhibition. The use of colour borrows from the sanguine drawing primarily familiar to the broader public from the Renaissance masters’ studies of the human body. Piippo has brought into his new paintings powerfully abstract, yet representational elements that are given an almost physical presence by his use of colour. The corporeal, fleshy blood-red serves in his paintings, as it were, as an undertone; we can detect an urban, understated aesthetic in the form language of these paintings, but a tactile, bodily quality is also powerfully present.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a book on Olli Piippo’s artistic production. The publication, designed by Pekka Toivonen, will include an essay by Mika Hannula.


Olli Piippo (p.1980) lives and works in Helsinki. He has shown in solo and group exhibitions in the Nordic countries and in Europe more widely, including at Lachenmann Art in Konstanz and Kunstkraftwerk Leipzig in Germany, and at Galleri Thomassen in Gothenburg, Sweden. His previous solo exhibition, Eight Notes on Oceanic Feeling, was at Helsinki Contemporary in May 2018. In early 2020, he took part in the group exhibition Working on it at Helsinki Contemporary. Piippo’s works are in the Kiasma and Gothenburg Museum of Art collections, and elsewhere. He is also known as the founder and curator of the Black Market concept which stages exhibition events.

Gallery name: Helsinki Contemporary

Address: Bulevardi 10, Helsinki

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

Open: 05.06.2020 - 05.07.2020