Raimo Reinikainen:
A Small Retrospective

Pimeä IV, 1990, pencil, crayon, coal, ink on paper

To paraphrase poet Jyrki Pellinen, Raimo Reinikainen (b. 1939) has always stood out from the rest in the Finnish art scene. Reinikainen began his career as a pop artist in the 1960s. His early works were political in nature, but he soon became a sort of nature mystic and a surrealist.

Raimo Reinikainen’s works are never one-dimensional. They may include allusions to remote cultures and the nature around us, present nature as a personified entity, or focus on visual observations related to experiences with nature. Reinikainen’s works may also convey a political, linguistic, mystical, or a coloristic message, for example. Sometimes, it is possible to find more than one of these aspects included in a single work.

A Small Retrospective presents a selection of Reinikainen’s works from the mid-1960s to the present day. The exhibition includes over forty works produced by Reinikainen over seven decades. Some of Reinikainen’s work series have been constructed at a tranquil pace, such as the Fire Tree series and several works from the Happy Targets series. These were already part of Reinikainen’s first solo exhibition, which was organised in 1966 at the E-klubi gallery, Helsinki. The exhibition will also feature three artist’s books from the turn of the 1960s and the 1970s, as well as a new print publication, On vähän (There’s a little), which will be launched during the exhibition.

Reinikainen has an almost unlimited number of techniques in his arsenal. He makes use of pastel colours, marker pens, inks, pencils, charcoal, crayons, as well as oil, acrylic, alkyd, and metal paints. Paintbrush, glass pens and reed pens. In addition to the enormous variety in his toolkit, Reinikainen’s working process is varied in other ways as well. He may waste no time finishing his watercolours in the open air, whereas the works made inside the studio come together more slowly after careful deliberation, regardless of the technique employed. In general, Reinikainen’s works are typically created through a long and even complicated process. It’s a long way from the first observation and pencil trace to the precise and delicate final work encapsulating the impression, sometimes even leading to side paths.

”Paint what you cannot see”, said the artist in his studio in the June of 2021.

Raimo Reinikainen studied at the School of the Fine Arts Academy of Finland in 1961–67. In recent years, his works have been presented in exhibitions such as “The World Goes Pop, Tate Modern, London (2016), “Superpop”, Gösta Serlachius Museum of Art, Mänttä (2014), Galerie Anhava, Helsinki (2015), “Vain elämää – teoksia Vexi Salmen kokoelmasta” (‘It’s only life – Works from the Collection of Vexi Salmi’), Rauma Art Museum (2011). Reinikainen’s works are included in several important public collections, including the collections of the Saastamoinen Foundation, the National Gallery, the Amos Anderson Art Museum, the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation / Rovaniemi Art Museum, Pori Art Museum, Hyvinkää Art Museum, Jyväskylä Art Museum, Helsinki City Museum, and the Forselles Collection / Joensuu Art Museum.

– Hanna Huitu & Ilona Anhava

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