Discovery and Choice of a Finnish Artist

It is the end of August, the last days of vacation, the beginning of my Erasmus’s semester in Helsinki. With every change of life, has come the feeling of excitement, the fear of the unknown, the willing of discovery.

My art assignment is out of my mind. I, however, was really excited about it when it was first exposed to us. “Writing a critical blog on a local artist of my new home country”: what a good way of capturing the city from another angle, and practice my English writing! Moreover, while my major in France is Management, Art is “only” a general culture class in my program. Thus, even if I was always interested in the art scene, my appreciation of art may appear amateurish or ingenuous. That is not to say it is a defect. I believe in the rallying cry for modernism in the 19th century in France: “Art for art’s sake”. That means that art has its own value, do not need justifications and can be judged by everyone non-regarding its art knowledge, religion, political belief etc.

Helsinki’s art Scene is reasonably large. Indeed, if Finland’s capital is more know for its design, it also displays numerous artist-run galleries near its Museum in the city center. As soon as I understand the wealth of these galleries, I take advantage of the last rays of summer sunshine, to visit all the galleries I could. I looked at the current exhibitions but also asked gallery owners about the upcoming ones to find Finnish artwork that stimulate me.

An exhibition that would start in a few days catches my attention. It would take place at Galleria Bronda (www.bronda.fi). In the center of Helsinki, the galleria, focused on contemporary art had held over 400 exhibitions so far. The artist, Anna-Maija Rissanen is, according to the gallery owner “a young Finnish artist that focuses in particular in meditative landscapes”. As a matter of fact, the work shown on the artist’s website was really relaxing. The art really matches my feeling at the time and my first impressions about Finland’s way of life: peaceful & natural focused.

A few days and a bit of luck later, Anna-Maija agrees that I work with her and invites me to her gallery’s opening. This is the third time that she is represented by the galleria Bronda. Thus, I discover the exhibition on its very first day and met Anna-Maija. Already nice at first sight, I discover that she has lived for a long time in Belgium and therefore speak really well French… Not ideal for my English practice but practical to communicate! The galleria was crowded and I didn’t want to monopolize the “queen of the day” so I spend a while appreciating her new works. Later in the evening, I finally had the chance to confirm that I like her painting style mostly because of the peaceful state of mind that these give me.

Here are some pictures taken in the opening (14.09.2016, galleria Bronda).

patchwork-galleria-bronda-am-rissannen1. A.M Rissanen, Tasolta toiselle, 2016, reproduced with kind permission of the artist
2. Anna-Maija Rissanen in Bronda gallery (photo by Susanna Ritala)
3. A.M Rissanen, Runo, 2016, reproduced with kind permission of the artist
4. A.M Rissanen, Universumi, 2016, reproduced with kind permission of the artist

Really accessible and willing to help me, Anna-Maija and I met later in a coffee without noticing the time passing. We had an interesting talk about her personality, work and life, and my project of blog. I will develop these pieces of information in future posts. The next step ? Visiting Anna-Maija studio to understand her working environment and methods.

I really look forward to develop this project and hope you will enjoy reading me and discover Anna-Maija’s from my non-artist point of view.

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