Galerie Anhava is delighted to kick off autumn 2023 with a mesmerising and delicately supple solo exhibition by Nina Roos entitled The Image is Collapsed into the Body. A deeply insightful artist with a distinct voice, Roos creates art that is a broad and sustained investigation of the essence of painting and its spatial dimension – a surface that acts as a boundary between two spaces or realities. Roos has said that she is fascinated by how paintings affect us bodily rather than through the information provided by the image.
The shapes in the highly layered works of the Liminal Space series are seen through a kind of surface, as if a membrane or veil intervened between the viewer and the motif – and that is, in fact, the subject of the work. One of the sources of inspiration for the exhibition is Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s 16th century drawing Beekeepers. Roos expands the strange and ambiguous view to create large, dimly shimmering surfaces and shapes filled with tension. Her Beekeepers diptych shows a sturdy human figure depicted with sculpture-like rigidity, as if the mass inside were protruding to establish the tautly curved outlines of the body. The stiff figure embodies a mood charged with menace.
When faced with paintings composed of surfaces and shapes held by tension, it is at times difficult for the viewer to tell whether one is looking at something very large or something very small. Although there are identifiable motifs in the works, such as the trunk or branch of a tree, or a clean incision or an eye, the open and flexible character of the paintings can also be seen as a key feature alongside the motifs. There is room to roam in the images.
The overall palette builds into an almost pale, monochromatic, breathtaking surface, with reddish, brown and purple tones. In the large painting Melancholia, one can see references to Albrecht Dürer’s etching and the Lars von Trier’s film of the same name, while the dark, circular form in the work seems to be floating in some sort of a soft, intangible space.
Nina Roos’s paintings make one want to stay a moment and observe. They exist like some kind of fascinating creatures whom one wants to spend time with.
Nina Roos (b. 1956) is a graduate of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, where she also served as professor of painting from 2001–2004. Roos represented Finland at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and had extensive retrospectives shows at Kiasma in 2001 and Malmö Konsthall in 2003. She has exhibited in solo shows at Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 2009 and Lund konsthall in 2019, and most recently her work has appeared at Kohta kunsthalle in Helsinki in 2020 and Galleri K in Norway in spring 2023. Nina Roos is the recipient of the Pro Finlandia and Prince Eugen medals, and she received the Carnegie Art Award in 2004. She is a founding member of Kohta kunsthall and serves on its exhibition programme advisory board.