NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Outdoor opening reception at Teurastamo on Wednesday, 12 October, at 5–8pm.

For reasons of health and safety the opening reception will take place in the little garden just outside of Kohta. From there everyone has easy access to the exhibition, and we will be able to monitor the amount of visitors in the gallery at any given time.

The reception is followed by an outdoor concert by echo + seashell (Henna Hyvärinen and Susan Kooi) and Torus (Joeri Woudstra), starting at 8pm.

Press Release

As those who follow Kohta know by now, one of our ongoing series of exhibitions showcases the five artists who initiated this new kunsthalle for Helsinki four years ago. After Martti Aiha in 2018 and Thomas Nyqvist in 2019, the time has now come for Nina Roos (born in 1956 in Porvoo).

Roos is an internationally renowned painter and one of the leading Nordic artists of her generation. She represented Finland at the Venice Biennale in 1995, had large retrospective exhibitions at Kiasma in Helsinki in 2001 and at Malmö Konsthall in 2003 and was Professor of Painting at the Academy of Visual Art in Helsinki in 2001–2004. She also had solo exhibitions at Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 2009 and at Lunds konsthall in 2019.

Celebrated for her uncompromising commitment to her fluid but demanding medium, Roos has long insisted that painting be seen as a system of thought, in particular spatial thought, and as a vehicle for new ideas. She is known – not least by her students at the Malmö Art Academy in Sweden – as a dedicated experimentalist, fully invested in articulating the particular values of painting and, if necessary, explaining how they help us understand the agonised age of the mediatised image:

‘When painting is read as if it were the same as mediatised images, it really becomes impossible to relate to painting.’

For almost twenty years Roos painted on acrylic glass, but in recent years, after exhibiting the series Shades at Galerie Anhava in Helsinki in 2010, she returned to painting on canvas (which she did at the very beginning of her career) after some twenty years of painting on acrylic glass. The reasons for this are many, specific to her medium of oil painting and to her sense of the changing times, but the physical reality and presence of the painting have remained core concerns.

During the last decade, she also made more drawings than ever before and began to exhibit them. As a ‘bonus track’ to the exhibition at Kohta, she will show a series of drawings from 2015, titled The Falling Chair and offering a figurative complement to what the new paintings are doing with finely nuanced colour and intimation of movement through drawing-like forms that sometimes seem tentatively illustrative, sometimes unguardedly open towards an absence of meaning.

Three new series of paintings will be presented, all from 2019–2020. Lucid, lending its title to the whole exhibition, consists of two large (ca 250 × 400 cm) and three more moderately sized canvases in hues we might truthfully, if somewhat reductively, characterise as greyish-pink. The larger of these paintings feature a motif of thin branches or twigs floating on a carefully crafted chromatic haze or piercing it, weaving in and out of the surface, whereas the others employ thinner but similarly vibrant lines of darker paint to cut through and open up a pictorial space that must have been very condensed before these interventions. The reference to lucidity in the title embodies the ambition to pass through the image and find oneself on the way – to real articulation and understanding.

An Object That Lost Its Name is a self-contained series of smaller paintings, this time in a greyish-blue (or is it blueish-grey?) palette. They are less concerned with the overall pictorial space or field of vision, focusing instead on almost-geometrical forms and on promoting the illusion of suture, as if the painted surface needed mending. The luminosity of these five, and even more of the four paintings titled Cranium, emanates from the charged relationship between painting (if we momentarily identify it with a belief in gradual tonal shifts) and drawing, although the lines in both series are painted, not drawn, and therefore expand the meaning of the linear almost to infinity. Roos fixates the ongoing decay of naming. We will no longer be able to grasp what we see if we cannot convey it in words of the right exactitude.

Timed Drawings, finally, is a new series of drawings, literally made in collaboration with the iPhone’s timer function and constituting yet another subversion of the line, another pictorial space breached open. Nina Roos dips her brush in watercolour and lets it dab the paper in a succession of ever-less-black dots, until her time is up.

The exhibition is organised by Kohta. The Council responsible for Kohta’s programming consists of artists Magdalena Åberg, Martti Aiha, Thomas Nyqvist, Nina Roos and Hans Rosenström, curator (and director of Kohta) Anders Kreuger and filmmaker and lecturer Richard Misek.

Kohta was launched with support from the EMO Foundation, which funds the arts in Finland, and is currently supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, the City of Helsinki, the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, Konstsamfundet and Stiftelsen Tre Smeder. Kohta is also sponsored by the paint maker Tikkurila and by Helsingin Kahvipaahtimo (Helsinki Coffee Roastery).

Press Inquiries:

anders.kreuger@kohta.fi; +358 452013048


Gallery name: Kohta

Address: Työpajankatu 2 B, building 7, 3rd floor, Helsinki

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

Open: 13.08.2020 - 11.10.2020