The 80th Anniversary Exhibition of the Free Art School
Johannes Heikkilä, Essu Koskinen, Camilla Mihkelsoo, Johanna Rope, Pauli Tapola
4 Jun  – 28 Jun  2015
I am a member of the Board of the Supporting Association of the Free Art School of Helsinki. In this capacity, I have found it truly interesting to participate in planning the school’s activities, to make decisions affecting it, to consider the finances of this bold, small and original school and to note that, although the school has already reached the 80-year mark, its original idealistic spirit and awareness of its mission still lives on.

The Free Art School is a school focusing on perception and emphasizing painting.

Following my proposal, we decided that Galerie Anhava will stage an exhibition of work by artists who have graduated from the Free Art School over the past few years to be compiled by Leena Kuumola (also a member of the Board of the Supporting Association) and myself. We chose only five artists for the exhibition in order to have enough space for each participant to display their work.

Johannes Heikkilä’s taped drawings employing a grey scale are fascinating and fresh in their own clumsy way. Essu Koskinen’s paintings display a surrealist spirit and the skills of painting. In her skilful paintings of children, Camilla Mihkelsoo creates her own world, both beautiful and slightly frightening. Johanna Rope’s breathing creature is fragile, vulnerable and so persevering. While Pauli Tapola’s paintings lead the viewer’s thoughts to classical constructivism, they are completely anchored in the present day.

We naturally chose artists who seemed to have something original to say, and the ability to say it by letting the works themselves talk, without calling for complex theoretical supporting structures. We did not actually try to emphasize the many different kinds of good artists who graduate from the Free Art School, but we are happy to note that the exhibition will be of considerable diversity. One of the main criteria of a good art school is that it helps young artists find their very own form of expression and lends support to it.

This will be a good exhibition. Come and see and get to know the work of five graduates of the Free Art School in Helsinki.


Ilona Anhava