Independent artist collectives are an integral part of the contemporary art scene. Many of them have grown from artists’ need to act and show art freely and communicate directly with the audience. Galleria Huuto is a good example of this. With their two exhibition spaces in Helsinki and other projects outside their premises they offer a versatile contemporary art program. At the moment the collective is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the One-Room Flat exhibition by 19 artists. It was recently shown in Galleria Huuto’s space in Helsinki and is currently exhibited at Supermarket Art Fair in Stockholm. In May, the exhibition will participate in Art Fair Suomi in Helsinki.
The One-Room Flat installation is a collection of various details and stories, some of which relate to each other. Entering the installation feels like stepping into someone’s apartment furnished with all the everyday necessities. A closer look reveals that all of the objects are artworks made out of different materials and media by a group of artists playing with the idea of memories, nostalgia and everyday routines. Together they compose a space where the viewer can step in and feel cozy – or just the opposite.
When peeking into the drying cabinet a beautiful blue landscape installation view unfolds with old plates and paper-cut characters. Sewed fabric baby in a bucket, by Pauliina Turakka Purhonen, nestles in another cabinet. A loud sculpture (with sound) by Jesse Avdeikov consists of a pierced fridge revealing a dramatic shipwreck landscape. A door covered with cigarette butts is leaning on the wall (by Kalle Turakka Purhonen) and one can listen to a depiction of the other works in a song by Pasi Autio. Even the wallpaper is a serigraphy by Aleksi Tolonen. I feel odd stepping on the carpet, which is in fact an acrylic painting by Hanna Saarikoski. The installation challenges many traditional rules regarding how to perceive artworks.
Many details of the installation underline the fact that all the objects have a story to tell, whether we talk about an artwork or an everyday object. The separate details represent physical elements in a one room flat, such as a rug, a plate with food and family photographs. I like the idea that these fractions of the installation could work as separate artworks. Still, as a entirety, all the details are necessary.
Upon entering, some details of the history of installation art spring to mind. The history stretches among other things from conceptual art and Marcel Duchamp’s readymade art to some avant-garde Dada associations. Here, in this collective One-Room Flat artwork, many of the details are readymade works. Also some of the very typical features of installation art are underlined. The viewer definitely becomes part of the artwork when stepping in. Teddy bears resting on the bed are grimacing strange facial expressions. A bookshelf reveals family portraits with cut faces or faceless. They give room for the viewer to anchor their own story related to the room. Even though the installation demands the viewer to participate, she or he remains a stranger. The room has a sketched vague window alluding to the outer world but the view is out of sight. Generally the impression of the room is surrealistic, timeless and paused.
The installation is a marvelous way to celebrate the gallery’s anniversary. It is all about doing alone and together at the same time, creating something unique on many levels. The installation presents different media, themes and phenomena of contemporary art. It is also a suitable concept for touring art fairs as it is not necessarily site-specific. It appears universal and opens up in various ways in different surroundings, physically it already resembles a fair stand.
The alternative, artist-run Supermarket Art Fair has invited eight Finnish galleries to their 2017 edition: Galleria Huuto, Galleria Lapinlahti, Galleria Sculptor, Galleri GRO, Kallio Kunsthalle, MUU Gallery, TM galleria and Toolbox project space, which enable over 50 Finnish artists’ participation. Supermarket is a venue for artist-run galleries and exhibition spaces to show what is happening in that growing scene. The fair runs at the same time with Market Art Fair, which shows major Nordic commercial galleries.
Artists in the One-Room Flat exhibition:
Pasi Autio, Jesse Avdeikov, Terhi Heino, Aino Jääskeläinen, Beata Joutsen, Pilvi Ojala, Kaarina Ormio, Charlotta Östlund, Paula Puoskari, Satu Rautiainen, Antti-Ville Reinikainen, Hanna Saarikoski, Azar Saiyar, Hans-Peter Schütt, Elina Strandberg, Aleksi Tolonen, Kalle Turakka Purhonen, Pauliina Turakka Purhonen, Marja Viitahuhta
Supermarket Alternative Art Fair, Stockholm, March 23 – 26, 2017