ESSI KUOKKANEN’S paintings speak of sensitivity, introspection and sympathy. They give form to unspoken yet vivid thoughts and feelings that hover on the borderline of sleep. Beneath the sometimes humorous surface lies solemnity and depth. Everything is connected, boundaries between species become fluid, the inanimate becomes alive and living creatures break apart. Kuokkanen is interested in the physicality of emotion – how events in the mind create a physical reaction in the body. The figures in her paintings and drawings are like reservoirs filled with feeling, occasionally spilling, oozing or overflowing uncontrollably.
Essi Kuokkanen (b. 1991, Pieksämäki) lives and works in Helsinki. Kuokkanen has shown her work in several solo and group exhibitions, most recently at the international ARS22 show of contemporary art in the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Galerie Anhava and EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art. Kuokkanen has work in numerous major Finnish collections, including those of the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, the Finnish State Art Commission, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and the Saastamoinen Foundation, as well as in many private collections in Finland, Sweden and Denmark. In 2019 Kuokkanen received the Finnish Art Society’s Ducat Prize.