Light Departures brings together three artists whose works and practice share the ideas of organic variation, subtle transitions and departures.
Transitions take different forms in the featured works: as changes to the processes or qualities of artworks that rise from concrete, material circumstances, such as conditions of a summer residence or the choice of medium. They are present in the fine-tuning of form when transitioning from one scale to another, or in more conceptual shifts of agency and dialogical reflection.
In the gallery, the works build into serial entities, within which – sheet by sheet, from one screen to the next – looping and intertwining traces form paths for the viewer to follow. Through repetition, subtle nuances rise to the surface, forming new chains and layers and, guided by free-flowing forms and trajectories, gently lift into flight.
Icelandic artist Hreinn Friðfinnsson’s video series A Portrait of a Sculptor as a Sculpture (2014) is a collaboration with his long-time friend and sculptor Kristinn E. Hrafnsson. Each independent segment of the series of five videos shows Hrafnsson engaged in some everyday activity in Reykjavik: skating on sea ice, crocheting a hat in a rocking chair, swinging in a quiet playground, jumping on a trampoline in the backyard, or spinning a hula-hoop on the seashore. The viewer is confronted with a kind of living statue (a human being), who through some simple movement and a tableaux-like image establishes a conceptually rich counterpart to the monumental quality traditionally associated with sculpture. There is a recurring rotational movement in the works, whether expressed by the skater’s path left as traces on ice, the swing’s motion through the air, or loops of yarn in the crocheter’s hands. The formulas of physical phenomena in the titles, such as acceleration, gravity or angular momentum, serve as additional links to the physical reality, established with a light, sure touch.
Hreinn Friðfinnsson (b. 1943) is a key figure in lyrical conceptual art whose work is characterised by diverse forms of expression, clear thinking, humour and simple presentation. Friðfinnsson is a founding member of the 1960s Icelandic artist collective SÚM, which had a decisive influence on the emergence of avantgarde art in Iceland. Hreinn Friðfinnsson lives and works in Amsterdam. He has had solo exhibitions at Serpentine Gallery in London (2007), Malmö Art Gallery (2008), Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva (2018), MOAD – Museum of Art and Design in Miami (2021) and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2019–2020).
Heli Hiltunen‘s artworks carry a merry, loose and playful presence. Her paper-based works feature energising colours such as orange, red and yellow. The forms are soft and billowy. The works in this exhibition are part of an extensive series that the artist began in 2017 while working in the countryside. She chose oil sticks and drawing as her technique, simply because the supplies were easy to transport. Working at the same summertime desk and in the same summertime room, Hiltunen has allowed her hand to express itself perhaps a little more freely than in the studio. Parallel to drawing and painting, Hiltunen has done farm work, pulled weeds and engaged in summer pastimes before getting back to the sheets of paper. This cycle has produced ideas, refined by the eye and mind, which we now see in the form of these works. A generous shape drawn on the wall in charcoal provides the foundation for the presentation of the drawings.
Heli Hiltunen (b. 1960) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1990 and has since held solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions both in Finland and internationally. Hiltunen’s most recent solo exhibitions were at Galerie Anhava and Heinola Art Museum in 2020.She has work in numerous Finnish and Nordic collections, including Kiasma, HAM, the Saastamoinen and Wihuri Foundations, the Niemistö Collection and the Sara Hildén Art Museum. Heli Hiltunen was awarded the Ars Fennica prize in 2001.
Maija Luutonen creates paintings in which spatial and embodied sensory experiences undulate and ripple outwards from the two-dimensional surface of the paper. In this exhibition, she presents new works as well as a series of smaller paintings created in recent years with a more spontaneous, drawing-like approach. The starting point of the paintings is often some sensory experience: how the seams of a garment feel against the skin, or a furtive glance from behind the cover of an overgrown bangs. The works act as impulses to open up the senses and layer meanings in relation to each other, to the surrounding space and especially to the viewer. They challenge some of the commonplace notions associated with looking: Which aspect of what we are seeing is part of the painting, and which is part of us, the viewer?
Luutonen’s process has several stages: the finished form and minimalist expression of the completed work comes about through experimenting, eliminating and crystallising the essential. Paper and its characteristics – lightness, smoothness and effortlessness – have long been at the heart of Luutonen’s art. Alongside the path of her ordinary methods, Luutonen is constantly “digging a tunnel” into the unknown, seeking to challenge her solutions and do things differently: most recently by occasionally choosing also a canvas to work on.
Maija Luutonen (b. 1978) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. Her most recent solo exhibitions have been at SIC (2021); Sinne (2021); Kunsthaus Pasquart, Biel (2019); Titanik (2018); Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma (2018) and Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga (2017), and she has participated in group exhibitions at Helsinki Art Museum HAM (2022–2023); Vermilion Sands, Copenhagen (2022); Rauma Triennale (2019); SIC (2018) and Vilnius Centre for Contemporary Art CAC (2016). Luutonen has work in the collections of Kiasma, HAM, and the Wihuri, Saastamoinen and Lars Swanljung foundations, among others.