Helsinki Contemporary (Bulevardi 10, Helsinki) 5.3. – 3.4.2021
Overgrown, Kati Immonen’s solo exhibition, will be taking over Helsinki Contemporary in March, with visually joyous watercolour paintings and a hand-drawn animation. In this new exhibition Immonen carries on her study, direct observations, of the relationship between humankind and nature, delving ever deeper into nature’s perpetual power of renewal, into a cycle that goes on independent of humanity.
In the world that Immonen has built in the gallery human beings are absent, and as the exhibition’s title implies nature has taken back the space, as its own. When working on the exhibition, Immonen stepped out of the studio, into the forest, and into its opposite, smart hotels whose luxurious swimming pools are now the subject of some of the works. The atmosphere of the exhibition has a certain quotidian mystery, a magical realism, about it, like we can sense in forest shadows or at the bottom of a lake – something secret, hidden from humans, hope.
Two series stand out in all this: the statues of great men covered in creepers and moss, and the swimming pools with otters swimming and water lilies floating in their turquoise waters. In the paintings the solemn busts of the Monument series now commemorate the gentle oblivion of moss, reminding us of the fleeting nature of history. Immonen has named the works in this series, not after the historical figures and principal characters, but after the sprawling plants and flowers in them.
In the Overgrown series the concrete buildings and structures, western symbols of the good life – or of military power – erected by human beings give way to stories, animals’ games or green forest shoots. “Living in the overgrown sauna at Tamminiemi are animals that Kekkonen went after on a hunting trip: a pheasant, several wild boar, and a jay shot by accident.”
The scale of the works here varies from large, immersive paintings to small, intimate spaces. The animation, Overgrown: Infinity Pool, now being seen for the first time in the Gallery, not only opens out the artist’s working process and the movement of the painting, but also makes the growth and pulse of nature embodied in the works a reality. Here, we see the swimming pool in the large-format black-and-white watercolour painting gradually overgrown by colourful vegetation.
photo: Jussi Tiainen
photo: Jussi Tiainen
Overgrown: Infinity Pool
animation (3.40 min) projected on watercolor painting
photos: Vesa Aaltonen
Overgrown: Tamminiemi (2020)
Overgrown: Särestö (2020)
Overgrown: Private pool (2020)
Overgrown: Forest pool (2020)
Overgrown: Structure (2020)
Overgrown: Mediterranean blue (2020)
Monument: Willowherb (2020)
Monument: Cup lichen (2020)
Monument: Tilia cordata (2020)
Monument: The Ordinary (2020)
Monument: Lupine and Japanese rose (2020)
Monument: Peat moss (2020)
Monument: Saprotroph (2020)
Monument: Pine (2020)
Monument: Backyard flowers (2020)
Monument: Black alder (2020)
Monument: Eatable (2020)