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NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

Jukka Rusanen has given his latest solo exhibition the title Luonnos (Sketch) This refers to the idea that the artistic process is still ongoing, and that all works and exhibitions are sketches for a world. He does not want to declare anything final: an exhibition is a possibility, not a definitive statement.

Luonnos also refers to the new lightness and understatement that Rusanen seeks to achieve. His working process is a highly personal, delicate one, but creating his own space around the works gives him the strength to put them on view where others can see them. The desire for inner quiet and the need to show this in a painting has led to an absence of bright colours. The exhibition’s main colour scale extends from various whites, beiges, greys and browns to luscious pastels.

Materiality and tactility are central to the new body of work. The lead role among the materials is taken by linen, which serves as the ground for the textile works and collages as well as the paintings. Imitation leather and crocheted yarn bring their own addition to the spectrum of materials. The tactile aspect comes out not only in the materials, but also in the handiwork. Weaving and crochet introduce a new, slower way of working alongside the physical painting. Object collages were already present in Rusanen’s output as a student. In recent years, he has returned to collages alongside painting, showing oil paintings and textile collages side by side, as equals.

In his new paintings Rusanen has focused on the classic motifs of the art of painting such as still lifes, compositions and portraits. He has always been interested in art history in his art, especially classical painting and 18th-century rococo. Another era that he has taken from is the Golden Age of Finnish art of the turn of the 19th and 20thcenturies. Rusanen has worked on his still lifes by using an observation as his starting point. This method has brought him face to face with the fundamentals of painting, with the effects of light and shade. The end result is often a painting that occupies the middle ground between abstract and figurative.

Another component of the exhibition is a performance that will take place in the gallery space at the opening and on three days later on. Reetta Honkakoski will do the performance, for which Rusanen has laid down the outlines. The image that sparked the performance is Fêtes Vénitiennes by the 18th-century French painter Jean-Antoine Watteau. Rusanen and Honkakoski have together thought about how signs, movements, objects and materials come together to create meanings.

Gallery name: Helsinki Contemporary

Address: Bulevardi 10, Helsinki

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

Open: 13.03.2020 - 05.04.2020