Text by Antonia Hamberg | English Editor Julie Uusinarkaus | Photographs by Filippo Zambon

Curator and producer Antonia Hamberg has opened the doors of her private home for art and art lovers and now introduces us the motives behind the intimate gallery project.

Originally, the idea of a home exhibition came to me through a sequence of happy coincidences, like good things usually do. I have had conversations with artist friends of mine about what ways there could be of showing art in a different and more intimate environment than a gallery — in a space that would make approaching art relaxed and friendly. But to find those interesting places — needless to say, the feel and location of the space is key — that are inexpensive and easy to manage is difficult. Therefore, my own home seemed like a manageable and user-friendly solution for a project in which I want to create memorable encounters between people and art. 

I find it interesting to create something that feels needed, to balance out, even if it is on a small scale, disharmonies of societal trends. I have been interested in the anatomy of human connection lately, and when I stumbled upon an old article describing Heli Hiltunen’s work as being about sensual closeness, I knew that that would be the theme of the exhibition. Closeness and sensuality feel relevant in today’s fast-paced and achievement-oriented, online world. So, with Sensual Closeness, I want to put our senses into focus. Dropping back into our bodies and tuning into our senses is a subject that is soft and intimate, obscure yet titillating. It asks for corporality and presence. It asks for a dialogue with our sensations and a nonjudgmental mind. 

Again, serendipity played its part in the unfolding of events that led to Sensual Closeness: I bumped into the artist Heli Hiltunen in the middle of an opening at the Museum of Photography last year, and she said, “Why don’t you have an exhibition again next May in your apartment — it was so lovely and light and joyful.” Who could resist such a compliment? I decided then and there that I was going to curate a follow-up exhibition with a different group of artists, of whom Heli Hiltunen is one, accompanied by painters Aki Turunen, Milla Aska, Emma Luukkala and Emily Gernild; photographer Anni Leppälä; and sculptors Maisa Majakka and Tommi Toija. A group of artists of different generations and techniques interconnected by an interest in themes around the human experience and a sensitive and sensual way of handling their preferred material. 

I work from my heart with my heart— I want to bring presence, love and openness to everything I do. Physicality, humanity, the everyday, independent versus interdependent, courage versus sensitivity and the energetic quality of something experienced, all things that have been on my mind lately. How do we navigate in a world that asks so much of us? We are supposed to fill so many roles, while also being our own superheroes. We are raised to become achievers, but who teaches us to listen to ourselves, to nourish our feelings and take care of ourselves; not to be overtly in our heads and forget that it is our connection with our senses that enables us to really experience life fully? When the beliefs and values of religion doesn’t resonate anymore, where do we find a community to support us, or thoughts to draw hope and solace from? Is it nature, is it art, is it a new spiritual dimension? One thing I do know is that through art, new ways of seeing are born. Art is the conscious application of imagination, skill and human creativity that is expanding, beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings. Sensual Closeness is my ode to pleasure, beauty and an approach to life like an artistic practice — consciously attuned to one’s senses and heart, connecting and creating from a space of openness and integrity. 

Left to righ & top to bottom: Aki Turunen, Katharina R; Maisa Majakka, Love ridden; Milla Aska, Hot sand, Tommi Toija, Musta sydän, Tommi Toija, Paha poika.
Top to bottom: Aki Turunen, Katharina R; Maisa Majakka, Love ridden.
Anni Leppälä, Window (white).
Left to righ & top to bottom: Milla Aska, Tell me more baby; Aki Turunen, Isabella Regina; Anni Leppälä, Door with light; Anni Leppälä, Mirror (blanket), Anni Leppälä, Painting; Emily Gernild, Untitled No. 1.
Top to bottom: Milla Aska, Bend; Milla Aska, Vessel; Anni Leppälä Curtains with light.
Left to right & top to bottom: Emma Luukkala, Horror vacui; Milla Aska, Small step; Milla Aska, Well up; Anni Leppälä, Wood (profile) Tommi Toija, Pikku pelkuri; Tommi Toija, pikku pelkuri; Maisa Majakka, Solace; Maisa Majakka, Sakura twins.
Left to right & top to bottom: Milla Aska, Tell me more baby; Aki Turunen, Isabella Regina; Anni Leppälä, Door with light; Anni Leppälä, Mirror (blanket), Anni Leppälä, Painting; Emily Gernild, Untitled No. 1
Heli Hiltunen,  From the series “Aamulauluja”
Emily Gernild, Pears.

Sensual Closeness is open on Wednesdays from 4–8 pm and Sundays from 12–4 pm. 


Lemminkäisenkuja 4 B 27, Helsinki, buzzer Hamberg 

More info about the exhibition: www.marcyuniverse.com