Helsinki Contemporary is pleased to present Miikka Vaskola’s exhibition Beyond on 9 February - 4 March 2018. Vaskola’s new works continue and renew the tradition of landscape and portrait painting. His new work is closely related to his previous exhibition Remembering Forwards (Helsinki Contemporary, 2015) and 2016’s large exhibition in Turku Art Museum. A booklet of the artists recent works will also be published in connection with the exhibition.
Vaskola’s art questions the way that images are viewed and considers ways of depicting people more diversely through painting. The portrait series Oneself as Another presents more than one side of the subject within the same painting. In these portraits, which have been drawn with ink, charcoal and chalk, light and shadow switch position so that when the viewer looks at the portraits with their naked eye they see a negative image. When viewing the portraits on a phone or tablet with the screen colour settings set to negative, however, the image is displayed as a positive one. The name of the exhibition, Beyond, therefore refers to one reality and image, whose multidimensionality only becomes observable by looking below and through the surface: “The painting occupies a space below the surface,” Vaskola explains.
The second series in the exhibition, which is comprised of nocturnal landscape paintings, is called Night Sky. The materiality and method of the paintings is more organic than the portraits, reflecting the inevitable inaccessibility of the sky. The paintings present everything and nothing at the same time, leading the viewer near and far. Alongside portraits of strangers, landscapes of space cause the viewer to stop and ponder life's basic questions. Thus, Beyond also refers to the eternal endlessness of time:
“The working name of the exhibition was Infinite Numbers of Tomorrow for quite a while – when viewed on a macro level, the same atoms exist in both the carrot and the person eating it. Everyone is involved in this affair, in one form or another. And somewhere tomorrow, after tomorrow, the atoms will be reconfigured in space and become part of a new form, and the work will continue in a slightly different vein, on a different course. But how to paint that, and transform it into a painting, is a completely different matter. Perhaps I am trying to paint the answer,” Vaskola says.
Miikka Vaskola (b. 1975) is known for his monumental paintings, combining abstract landscapes and figurative forms. The upcoming exhibition is the artist’s first solo exhibition since the extensive retrospective in Turku Art Museum in 2016. Vaskola’s new works have been shown in 2017 at the Market Art Fair in Stockholm and in the Triumph Gallery in Moscow. He will be part of the No Ordinary Moments collection exhibition in EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art from 11 April 2018 to 6 January 2019. His works can be found in major private and public collections in, among other places, HAM Helsinki Art Museum, Turku Art Museum, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Collection of Heino Art Foundation and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.