Jussi Niva: Free-floating

Jussi Niva: Free-floating




06:49 – 06:49


few clouds

“Even when a painting is not depictive, it is always an active performer.” – Jussi Niva

Galerie Anhava’s programme for 2023 opens with Jussi Niva’s solo exhibition Free-floating. The works on show are all endowed with a sense of uncompromising painterly thinking and consistent, precise expression. Thick, richly applied oil paint is allowed to shine in all its simplicity. There is a something in the works that has a natural connection with reality. The eye seems to float freely along the folds, the ups and downs of the surfaces.

The main hall in the gallery is filled with a stream of new large-format works that ripple in the space like a broad, constantly changing three-dimensional painted surface. The shape rises and falls effortlessly, both within individual paintings and from one piece to the next.In keeping with Niva’s long-established approach, this new body of mainly monochromatic works is painted with colours that replicate the tones and hues of natural materials. The colours range from the heavy tones of ochre and earth to a light and translucent pale brown, from a metallic lustre that recalls the essence of brass to a soft, breathing yellow. 

In the gallery, the works lean against the wall or settle at a low height, physically close to the viewer, allowing you to walk close to them. From the front, the paintings can be seen as momentary records or still images, whereas viewed from the side, the folds in the row of works pile up in a different way, becoming an integral part of the whole in the form of a long, fluttering continuum that can be viewed slowly, as if having a conversation. 

Jussi Niva’s art characteristically involves not just painterly expression but contemplation about painting as well and its modes of representation. In addition to painting, he also constructs his works. He makes the meandering surfaces from wooden panels one piece at a time, adding and removing, until the work is finished, and the painting has achieved its natural break, endowed with a sense of lift. 

Jussi Niva’s art arises from a sustained exploration of the essence of painting, investigating the relationship of painting to space, time and place. His works are active agents in the viewing situation. Suggesting different viewing angles, they also change accordingly.This is particularly evident in the new site-specific work in the gallery’s corner room. The work takes over the space in its entirety, seeking to wrap itself around the viewer. 

Jussi Niva’s (b. 1966) works are held in several public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Aine Art Museum, Sara Hildén Art Museum, Malmö Art Museum, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, and numerous private collections.
 He participated in the 1992 Documenta in Kassel and the 1993 Venice Biennale. He has most recently exhibited at Mänttä Art Festival (2022), Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst (2020); Galerie Philipp von Rosen, Cologne (2019); and Salon Dahlmann, Berlin (2018).In 2022, Niva completed a new installation, Cover, for Hotel Ax in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki.

–Hanna Huitu 

Thu 12 Jan 2023 – 12 Feb 2023 Closed today


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Fredrikinkatu 43
00120 Helsinki