Not Enough Room to Swing a Cat

Not Enough Room to Swing a Cat




05:09 – 05:09


clear sky


Helsinki Contemporary’s second exhibition of the spring season, Not Enough Room to Swing a Cat, introduces three names new to our gallery: Anton Alvarez, Jussi Goman and Santeri Lehto. The trio shares a common stylistic approach: abstract minimalism – but not the nostalgic, lukewarm variety. Their brand of abstract minimalism revolves around each creator’s clever and inimitable use of curious, disarming gestures to tease out and reinvent something beautiful and special.

The paintings and sculptures in this group exhibition are woven together in a subtle, porous dialogue. They call out to each other, inciting collisions, their quirky forms and surprising gestures clashing headlong with preconceived assumptions and expectations. Something momentous announces its arrival, while at the same moment something deeply personal slips from our grasp – displayed together, the featured paintings and sculptures freeze this back-and-forth traffic in a densified form. Some of the paintings are steeped in elegant silence (Lehto), while others revel in spontaneous fullness (Goman) – and who could possibly overlook the fact that sculptures are basically brutalist candy (Alvarez)?

Goman’s paintings derive their forceful energy from their abundance and from collisions between seemingly mismatched elements, while Lehto’s paintings derive their intensity from exquisitely controlled and carefully meditated gestures of immense subtlety. The paintings are rounded out by the dramatic contrasts of Alvarez’s sculptures, which play adventurously with shapes and colours, employing subtle humour in their subversion of conventional expectations. 

Not Enough Room to Swing a Cat courageously imparts its own visual narrative as part of a historical continuum. Through contrasts and clashes, the exhibition reconciles opposites in a grand, startling back-and-forth of feminine and masculine expression, deconstruction of form and its creative reconstruction, the paintings and sculptures merging in a riot of colour and dance of sweet misshapenness and misshapen sweetness.

Anton Alvarez (b. 1980) is a Swedish-Chilean artist, currently based in Stockholm. He graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, UK in 2012. Oscillating between expression and constraint and advancing technological innovation while also utilising traditional craftsmanship, Alvarez’s sculptural forms challenge our perception of weight and gravity and appear both of this world and utterly separate from it. His practice focuses on the design of systems and the creation of tools and processes for producing sculptural objects and architecture.

Recent solo exhibitions include Millesgården, Stockholm, Sweden (2022); Bishopsgate 100, London, UK (2022), Huxley-Parlour, London, UK (2021); Larsen Warner, Stockholm, Sweden (2019); Church San Bernardino alle Monache, Milan, Italy (2019); Espace Muraille, Geneva, Switzerland (2018); National Centre for Craft and Design, UK (2016); Xue Xue Institute, Taiwan (2016); Salon 94, NY (2015). In September 2019 Alvarez was included included in the 10th Korean ceramic Biennale. Selected group shows include Clay Keramikmuseum, Middelfart, Denmark (2019); New Art centre, Roche Court, UK (2018); Daelim Museum, Seoul, Korea and the Texture Museum, Belgium. Alvarez’s work is included in the public collections of the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden; Denver Art Museum, Colorado, USA and the Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden as well as many prominent private collections.

Jussi Goman (b. 1980) is a visual artist born in Pudasjärvi, who lives and works in Riihimäki. He gratuated as a Master of Fine Arts from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2008. Goman is known for his colorful acrylic paintings executed with broad brushstrokes, combining humor, movement, and lightness. The painterly elements of his works and the surprising visual narratives together create a rich and multi-layered ensemble. Goman’s oeuvre also reveals a profound interest in art history, which is evident in his ability to reinterpret and playfully break the conventions of painting. Recently, Goman has expanded his expression to ceramic sculptures, bringing the world of his paintings into a new dimension.

Jussi Goman has organized numerous solo exhibitions and participated in many group and joint exhibitions both in Finland and internationally. His works are included in several significant collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, the Saastamoinen Foundation Collection, and the HAM Helsinki Art Museum. In 2020, Goman was awarded the William Thuring Main Prize by the Finnish Art Society.

Santeri Lehto (b. 1982, Lappeenranta, Finland) uses a kind of minimalism, and carefully considered analytical naivety, as his stylistic means. First the viewer notices the childish nature of the works and a certain kind of visual simplicity, but the immersion in the symbolic space of the paintings reveals their completely different, almost paradoxical nature. The deconstruction of Lehto’s paintings reveals how visual simplicity underscores the extremely complex and endless question and mystery of existence. So maybe the most important thing in Lehto’s works is not what you see, but what you can’t see.

Santeri Lehto graduated as a visual artist from the Lahti University of Applied Sciences’ Art Institute in 2013 and as a puppet designer from the School of Arts and Crafts in 2005. He lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Lehto has held many solo and group exhibitions, latest at Gallery Huuto in 2023, and Alzueta Gallery in Barcelona, Spain, and Gallery Snow in Berlin, Germany in 2022. He took part in the Young Artist’ Exhibition at Kunsthalle Helsinki in 2011 and his works are found in numerous private collections.

Fri 16 Feb 2024 – 28 Mar 2024 Closed today


clear sky

Bulevardi 10, 00120 Helsinki