Timo Valjakka

  • Jacob Dahlgren, Item 18: Subject of Art, 2012, pencils, 7 x 7 x 7”.
    picks June 04, 2012

    Jacob Dahlgren

    The centerpiece in Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren’s latest exhibition is “Subject of Art,” 2012, a series of fifteen small, building block–like wall reliefs, each made out of hundreds of yellow pencils. Dahlgren has systematically sharpened the pencils to different lengths and combined them on a wall, tips facing out, to create a variety of optical patterns. Other works are made out of handsaws, rulers, tape measures, and mass-produced doors painted in flat colors to look like Minimalist paintings.

    Dahlgren blends recognizable features of modernist abstraction, from Kenneth Noland’s bands and

  • View of “Sugared,” 2012.
    picks May 28, 2012

    Jiri Geller

    The most striking works in Jiri Geller’s latest exhibition are three neon-colored sculptures, spiderlike objects that seem to lack all materiality and weight as they burst through the gallery wall, rise up from a pedestal, or float in front of a black wall like a crown of thorns. Made of painted steel, they are nasty little pieces, simultaneously charming in their candy colors and dangerously sharp in their spiky forms.

    This Finnish artist has made it his practice to realize all his chosen objects in a lifelike manner and at actual size. He has previously sculpted both an escalator that leads

  • Charles Sandison, Tavastehus kronomagasines, 2011, computers, projectors, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks December 13, 2011

    Charles Sandison

    Charles Sandison’s latest exhibition contains only one work, but it is a big one: Tavastehus kronomagasines, 2011, fills both floors of the museum, yet the viewer experiences it as a single piece, not a thing in two parts. The Scottish-born, Finland-based artist is known for large, continually changing text collages governed by computer programs and projected onto the walls, floors, and even ceilings of museums and galleries. The individual words in his previous pieces often relate to human behavior; together they form images or attempts at full sentences. At the core of these artificial

  • Vincent Meessen, Vita Nova, 2009, still from a single-channel video, 26 minutes.
    picks October 05, 2011

    “Ars 11”

    “Ars 11” is the latest edition in a series of large-scale, thematic exhibitions staged by Kiasma and its institutional predecessors since 1961. While the topic of the current show is African contemporary art, this is not just a cavalcade of works from that continent. It is a show about a place in flux, seeking its own role and identity in an increasingly globalized world; an exhibition about dreams, and especially realities. A banner above the museum entrance reads “Changes your perception of Africa”—and this exhibition does just that.

    Anyone looking for the usual clichés will be disappointed.

  • Jaakko Heikkilä, Mary in the Kitchen, Nazervan, Armenia, 2004, color photograph, 106 x 44”.
    picks July 06, 2011

    Jaakko Heikkilä

    Various religious, ethnic, and other minorities have been the subjects of Finnish photographer Jaakko Heikkilä’s work for the past fifteen years. His search for these groups and individuals has taken him to Russia, Serbia, and Brazil, as well as to cities including Venice, New York, Los Angeles, and a town not far from his doorstep in northern Finland; the marginal characters and communities he has found there populate his current retrospective.

    Heikkilä favors long exposures and narrow formats, both vertical and horizontal. He does not use artificial lighting, even in dusky interiors shot in

  • Fred Sandback, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Six-Part Vertical Construction) (detail), 1993/2010, black acrylic yarn, dimensions variable.
    picks April 18, 2011

    Fred Sandback

    Perhaps it’s only a truism that a work of art has to be experienced live—that any reproduction only hints at the actual presence of the work and its relationship to the surrounding space and the viewer. With Fred Sandback’s sculptures, however, witnessing them in person is even more essential. We might almost say that they only exist when looked at, since their subtle perceptual effects are entirely dependent on our stereoscopic vision.

    Sandback’s sculptures interact with the viewer and with their surroundings, yet they are not site-specific. He planned them in the studio, and they can be

  • Anton Kannemeyer, I Love the White Middle Class . . . , 2008, acrylic on canvas, 47 x 47”.
    picks October 07, 2010

    “Peekaboo – Current South Africa”

    My favorite works in “Peekaboo – Current South Africa” are Daniel Naudé’s large photographs of lean, sinewy wild dogs taken in the deserts of South Africa. According to legend, the dogs originated in the courts of the ancient pharaohs and over the centuries have roamed the length of Africa. In this exhibition, which is all about identity, migration, and survival, these impressive images can be seen as a striking metaphor for the continent’s troubled history.

    The twenty artists selected by chief curator Erja Pusa seem to be asking, What is South Africa and who are we? If there are any lasting

  • Isaac Julien, Mazu, Silence, 2010, color photograph, 71 x 94 1/2”.
    picks September 13, 2010

    Isaac Julien

    Ten Thousand Waves, 2010, Isaac Julien’s new nine-channel video installation, is a beautiful, poetic experience. Filmed mainly in China, it weaves staged studio imagery and fragments of historical documents together with contemporary views of Shanghai and the Chinese countryside.

    Behind the visual sumptuousness lie tragic events, present here in shaky black-and-white police footage. The work was inspired by an accident that killed a group of illegal Chinese cockle pickers in Northern England in 2004. This prompted Julien to think about what makes people leave their homes and families in order to

  •  Sam Jackson, The Fur Coat, 2010, oil on wood panel, 24 x 24".
    picks June 07, 2010

    “New British Painting”

    There are different kinds of newness. Among them is the paradigmatic newness of something taking place for the first time, or of something that rewrites history. But there is also the newness that appears new only because it goes against whatever immediately preceded it.

    “New British Painting,” an exhibition curated by Zavier Ellis and Pilvi Kalhama, belongs to the latter category. The six artists participating here share a denial of many of the values characteristic of the works of the YBAs and their contemporaries: a theoretical or conceptual foundation, large scale, and the cult of the artist

  • Olav Christopher Jenssen

    Olav Christopher Jenssen’s series of works entitled “Lack of Memory,” 1990-92, shows this Berlin-based Norwegian artist to be an endlessly inventive and imaginative painter. At first sight this exhibition of 40 identically sized paintings—selected from the 42 works that comprise the series—looks almost like a group show of a small school of painters. It actually represents an encyclopedic summing-up of the variety of techniques at the command of the abstract painter, whose work patently has no place within any geometric language.

    Jenssen pours, squeezes, stains, and splashes paint onto

  • Mari Rantanen

    Mari Rantanen’s new paintings (all works 1991) are a combination of Jackson Pollock splashes, Islamic ornamentation, Secession style, the digital clicking of computer games, and intentionally decorative, intertwined strands. Above the dense, color-filled layers float signs and figures of various sizes, some of which are cartoon-like enlargements of details in the background. Rantanen favors a hot, greenhouse-hued palette of oranges, yellows, turquoises, adding pigment to her paint to heighten their tactility and sensuality. She creates her paintings by combining two or more panels, the joints