In his works Jani Ruscica (born 1978) combines a wide range of different forms of artistic expression: the moving image, sculpture and performance engage in a dialogue with images, sound and language. Ruscica’s multidimensional works are prepared in collaboration with professionals and experts in different areas. His cross-disciplinary method in art is characterised by an analytical and cultural-anthropological approach. Through his works, Ruscica discusses issues of representation and relations of meaning. Alongside the things that are made visible, equal importance is given to dead zones and interstices that remain undefined.
The eponymous work of the exhibition, the episodic Human Flesh short film, explores how sensory experience can be passed on via language, gestures, forms, sounds and images. The film takes place in a white space where the proportions of people and objects are blurred. Fold in and Fall Flat consists of a direct manipulation puppet and a 3D animation. This pair of works investigates the ability of the body to represent and transitions between different forms. The large puppet combines sculpture with theatre art, while the figure that resembles the puppet and appears in the animation turns into a virtual surrogate body. The third set of works in the exhibition consists of wooden reliefs and woodblock prints of anthropomorphic letters. The stylised letters resembling human figures individually express given materials and colours. P is for platinum, a is alabaster and r is for rust.
A shared feature of the works in the Human Flesh exhibition is that they explore themes and elements that can be identified in Ruscica’s earlier work: performativity, materiality, sculpturality and transitions between different forms of expression and spaces. The works are characterised by a humane and explorative approach occasionally mixed with humour. Ultimately, they have to do with communication, the transmission of meanings and experiences – and its challenges – and how a message, sign or object removed from a familiar context will open up new perspectives and opportunities for interpretation.
The Finnish-Italian artist Jani Ruscica studied sculpture at the Chelsea College of Art & Design in London and media art at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. In recent years he has held solo exhibitions in Finland, Europe and North America, for example at the CAG gallery in Connecticut, the Otto Zoo gallery in Milan, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki and the Circa Projects space in Newcastle. Ruscica has also participated widely in group exhibitions, including: The Studio for Arousing Tools, M HKA, Antwerp; The 1st Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Riga; Kehonkuva (Body Image), the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku; Triple Point of Matter, Fondation Fiminco, Paris; and Passengers, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin. Works by Jani Ruscica have also been shown at many international film festivals. In 2018, he was awarded the William Thuring Foundation’s Main Prize of the Finnish Art Society.