Helsinki

MERJA PARIKKA: LIFE’S CANVAS

MERJA PARIKKA: LIFE’S CANVAS

Dec

01

Fri

12:00 – 17:00

-3–-1°C

clear sky

1.-21.12.2023

I am looking at a painting. The motifs of the painting and its technique take me directly – in a bewilderingly concrete way – to the great works of Western art history from the 15th century onwards, without being a copy or even a pastiche. What should I think while looking at the painting?

Throughout her career, the painter Merja Parikka has drawn on the imagery of familiar iconic works from art history. She has extracted the timelessness and inexhaustibility of the pictorial content from those works and combined them back with her own life experiences. Parikka is probably best known for her self-portraits, the brutally unveiling boldness of which, if we just dare to look, is comparable to the autobiographical paintings of, say, Frida Kahlo. Parikka has taken the subjectivity in her works to such extremes that it has become universal.

In her new exhibition, Parikka has fewer self-portraits than before. She seems to have found new gentleness towards herself in them. However, the artist’s gaze has shifted more and more towards her surroundings from her own personal self. Parikka has already long studied and commented on the role of woman as an object of the male gaze and action in her art. The hidden treacherousness and carnivalesque superficiality of the world are also very much present in this exhibition; for example, in the paintings such as Jacob’s Wrestling and Hassle, or in the themes emerging from biblical events. But after all, the human yearning desire to be loved remains the most important observation in her new works. The title of the exhibition, Life’s canvas, very well sums up these themes.

Parikka’s landscapes are pastoral, even if there are signs of our own time in them. In the past, her landscapes were almost deserted, fading into the distance in the background. Now they have begun to come closer, filled with people seeking contact with each other. Merja Parikka demonstrates that amidst today´s flow of images, figurative precision is not by any means old-fashioned, and the reality revealed through deep observation is timeless.

Arto Jurttila

Fri 01 Dec 2023 – 21 Dec 2023 12:00 – 17:00

-3–-1°C

clear sky

Address:
Annankatu 12,
00120 Helsinki