Jani Hänninen (born 1974) has followed a long career as a painter. It began with urban graffiti and went on to evolve to refinement in institutes like the Free Art School and the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. The venues have changed from the street to respected galleries and art museums.
In his works, Jani Hänninen combines drawn, scratched and stencil-painted signs and designs with succulent painting employing wide brushwork.
Hänninen selects the themes and motifs of his works from a wide range of sources: newspapers and magazines, television, the internet, comic strips, music and the street. Any random impulse at all may lead to a chain of associations gradually assuming colour and form on canvas or panel. In Hänninen’s paintings, the popular imagery of the digital era is interspersed with the heritage of modernist painting, at times informalist or expressivist.
Jani Hänninen’s paintings are layered and may at first sight appear to be spontaneous and quickly created emotional outbursts, but this is not the case. He plans and composes his works, thinking and painting until the piece expresses precisely what he aims at.
There is a great deal to see in Hänninen’s paintings. The first thing to be perceived is a large form that sometimes resembles some kind of ground plan for a building or the fenestration of the façade of an apartment building. Almost endless details of diverse forms then start to emerge that may lead the narrative of the image in completely different directions, while ultimately creating, in their own capricious way a balanced and firm entity.
Professionals in the arts and esteemed private collectors have recognised the specific quality and value of Jani Hänninen’s oeuvre. His works are included in the public collections of the Sara Hildén Art Museum, the Malmö Art Museum, HAM Helsinki Art Museum and The Wihuri Foundation / Rovaniemi Art Museum. They are also in the Lars Swanljung Collection of the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, the Lars-Göran Johnsson Collection of the Turku Art Museum, the Vexi Salmi Collection of the Hämeenlinna Art Museum, the Iris Ulin and Timo Miettinen Collection of Salon Dahlman and the Päivi and Paavo Lipponen Collection of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Heino Foundation Collection.
In recent years, Jani Hänninen has held a solo exhibition at the Bourouina Gallery in Berlin and has participated in joint exhibitions at, among other venues, HAM Helsinki Art Museum, the Lappeenranta Art Museum and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City.