09:31 – 09:31


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“I find using colours difficult, regarding myself, my environment, and my works. My discomfort was the basis of this exhibition. Colours are often too much for me – too expressive, too emotional, too restless, too definitive. I like the apparent neutrality and invisibility of colourlessness.”

Helsinki Contemporary opens its spring season with Liisa Lounila’s solo exhibition Colours, which includes three videos featuring light and colour, Stratosphere revisited, Spectre, and White Noise. By exploring various theories and studies that discuss colour from the perspectives of pure perception, psychological dimensions, or presumed spiritual characteristics, Lounila has attempted to examine what we actually see when we look at colours.

Lounila’s working method is intuitive. She shoots videos, makes audio recordings, and collects material incessantly. Her works often emerge from a random but fleeting observation, which becomes something different with time, taken out of the original context. In this exhibition, Lounila is in her discomfort zone in the world of colours.

Colours are definitive. They direct our thinking and tinge our moods. We recognise the colour codes of various denominations and professional uniforms; even the results of thermal imaging are displayed in colours. In the current exhibition, Lounila’s installations colour the gallery space and change it.

Lounila is not interested in the controlled use of colours. Shapeless, changing colour consists of light, which is not expected to represent anything. In this exhibition, colours are manifested as they were in the original material, and the mood they create as well as their pleasantness or unpleasantness are left for the viewer to assess.

Taking over the gallery’s front space, Stratosphere revisited consists of colours from neon lights, traffic, and gaming machines; the sound is based on background noise from a casino of the same name. The material was shot and recorded in Las Vegas ten years ago, and it was on display, in its original form, in the Carnegie Art Awards exhibition in Stockholm in 2013. Despite its restless premise, the work is static and abstract, the image consisting only of slowly changing colours.

Set in the gallery’s back space, Spectre is formed of a continuously changing colour chart and whispered instructions and interpretations. The work is based on historical spirit photography and aura photographs capturing colours produced by electrical impulses. Based on the technique introduced by Russian photographer Semyon Kirlian, the AuraCam 3000 polaroid camera was developed in California in the 1980s, allegedly capturing physical states through colours. In Lounila’s work, the focus is on sound – the need to interpret and become interpreted. The whispers heard in the gallery space are based on various edited readings. 

The video piece on display between the gallery spaces, White Noise, consists of three monitors. “Snowfall lit by street lights is, in its simplicity, something I can look at endlessly. It is an image I go back to when I need to calm the situation.”

Liisa Lounila (b. 1976) has studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki and the Slade School of Fine Arts in London. Lounila is a multidisciplinary artist whose repertoire includes videos and photographs as well as objects and paintings. She is especially known for her glitter paintings and her silver- and palladium-plated objects. Lounila’s latest solo museum exhibition, Shadow Zone, was on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in 2020–2021, and her latest solo exhibition, Passing By, in Helsinki Contemporary in 2017. Lounila has participated in group exhibitions around the world, and her video works have been shown at various festivals since the late 1990s. Her solo exhibitions have been on display at the Wilkinson Gallery, London, and the Gallery of Photography, Dublin, among others. Lounila represented Finland in the Nordic pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and was nominated for the Carnegie Art Award in 2013. Thank you to The Arts Promotion Centre Finland for supporting the artist’s work.

Fri 13 Jan 2023 – 12 Feb 2023 Closed today


light rain

Bulevardi 10, 00120 Helsinki