At Market Art Fair 2021 Helsinki Contemporary presents a curated booth of Anna Retulainen and Roland Persson’s new works. Both artists work in an expressive manner, but in two totally different techniques. Retulainen’s paintings will be joined by Persson’s sculptures placed on the floor.
Retulainen and Persson both work with a renewal of the still life tradition. Retulainen’s new work has its starting point in her garden, and more specifically a tree, which the artist paints from memory. The powerful and intense works are recollections of places that are important to the artist and they are emotionally charged.
Persson’s quirky and poetic silicone sculptures comment the still life tradition very directly. Working with found objects is typical for Persson, the subject for a sculpture can be anything from freshly cut flowers, a cactus, an old chair, vases or even a taxidermy elephant.
Both artists have a sharp eye and find observations in their surroundings to build upon. The richness in details is remarkable. Colour is important in both of their processes. Persson adds the colours into the silicone in the casting process. Retulainen’s signature rich colours are at the essence of her oeuvre.
Roland Persson: Waiting, 2021 Photo: Roland Persson
Roland Persson is known for his painterly, surrealist silicone sculptures, that he casts in molds made from real objects. The silicone allows Persson to include the colour in the material itself, instead of adding the colour by painting, which makes the surface look very realistic. At first glance the sculptures almost seem like the objects they replicate, but upon closer look one can always find a twist in them. He often works with the relation between humans and nature, always with warmth, compassion and humour.
Roland Persson (b. 1963) is a Swedish artist who lives and works in Stockholm. Persson’s works have been seen widely in solo and group exhibitions in the Nordic countries and Europe, but also in Russia and Asia. In Finland his works were shown in a joint exhibition with Andreas Eriksson at the Amos Anderson Art Museum in 2012 and in Helsinki Contemporary in 2018, 2020 and 2021. Persson graduated from Umeå Academy of Fine Arts in 1993. He is also known for numerous public artworks in Sweden.
Anna Retulainen: Omenapuu, varhain, 2021 Photo: Jussi Tiainen
In her working process Anna Retulainen contemplates the conventions and perceptions of painting. The subjects of her works are merely platforms for the application of paint; finding a balance between movement, the layers of paint, and the vying between colours. Retulainen is an exquisite colourist. Her style is expressionistic, and yet refined in a stylized manner. The themes of her works vary from her beloved garden still lifes to more intimate drawings of her everyday life and those close to her. For Retulainen painting is a way of living. At her studio, drawings become paintings, fusions of life and art.
Anna Retulainen (b. 1969, Orimattila) is one of the leading figures in Finnish contemporary painting. She has been showing works in solo and group exhibitions since 1995. She has twice been nominated for the Carnegie Art Award, most recently in 2014. In 2018, The Finnish Cultural Foundation's Uusimaa Regional Fund awarded Retulainen with its annual award for outstanding performance, and in the same year, Retulainen's paintings became the first contemporary artworks to be permanently presented at the Finnish Presidential Palace. Retulainen’s work is represented in most of the major Finnish public collections, as well as in countless private collections.
You can learn more about Retulainen's work by watching a conversation between the artist and critic, writer, curator Timo Valjakka on Market Talks: Artists First.
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