Jani Ruscica (born 1978 in Savonlinna) is a Finnish-Italian artist, who makes versatile use of video, performance and sculpture alike. His characteristic method is one of collaboration with different actors and of negotiating the boundaries between different forms of representation. In his works, Ruscica extensively explores of issues of representation, the relationship of the image to sound and language, the thematic of translation, and the image as symbol or sign.
In ”T for Terracotta” at Galerie Anhava, Ruscica exhibits wooden, anthropomorphic letter reliefs and woodblock prints made with them. The works can be read simultaneously in both linguistic and visual terms. They involve transitions and changes of meaning: a given font of a familiar letter turns into the image of that letter, a relief, and into something else, a printed image. During the printing process, the letter relief is also coloured: T for terracotta, J for jade, U for ultramarine. The wooden relief is simultaneously a letter, an image and an object. The print made from the surface of the carved wood creates in concrete terms, a reverse of the image. The human figures of the anthropomorphic fonts contain both classic and comic-strip features to which the sculptural and flexible poses of the human figures add their own performative aspect.
The exhibition also features two videos: “Conversation in Pieces”, shown on the lower floor, links the showing at Galerie Anhava to Ruscica’s installation at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, which has also been noted internationally (review of the exhibition by Stefanie Hessler in the May 2016 number of ArtReview magazine). The main character of the video piece shown on the upper floor is the lyrebird, capable of imitating any sound produced by nature or man with astounding accuracy. The visual and audio material installed in four parts in the exhibition space, consists of both documentary and constructed elements. The piece serves to expand the discussion of visual and sonic mimesis that is central to Ruscica’s whole exhibition.
The artist’s book ”Appendix”, jointly produced by the artist and CIRCA Projects and published in the spring of 2016, will be available at Galerie Anhava. The book contains an article in English and Spanish by the Spanish curator Manuel Segade, which is printed with the anthropomorphic font developed for the publication.
Jani Ruscica has studied at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. In recent years, he has held solo exhibitions at CIRCA Projects in Newcastle, Suburban PS in Rotterdam and the Otto Zoo Gallery in Milan, among other venues. Jani Ruscica’s works have been recently displayed in several international exhibitions and festivals, including MACRO at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Rome, K11 Art Space in Shanghai, the 5th Momentum Biennial in Moss, Norway, the 7th European Photography Festival in Reggio, the 6th Liverpool Biennial and Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm, and in video screenings at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the TATE Modern in London and MoMA in New York. A new public work of art has been commissioned from Ruscica by the Helsinki Art Museum for the Helsinki City Centre Library currently under construction. The work will be unveiled in December 2018.
Coinciding with the Galerie Anhava exhibition is the artist’s solo exhibition “Conversation in Pieces” at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition is open until 4 September 2016.