Hintz & Meldere
Hidden matter
29.11.-22.12.2019

As the final exhibition of 2019 Helsinki Contemporary has the pleasure to present Hidden matter, a duo show with Mikko Hintz and Inga Meldere. The artists have worked in parallel with new works, under the same title but still creating two independent series of works.

Mikko Hintz works with abstract painting. His new works explore the relationship of form, colour and the painterly process. Hintz has found interesting shapes in surfboards and sails, shields and kites and other everyday objects and has created the outlines for his interpretation of these in custom-built stretchers. Some composition give hints towards the original use and structure of the shapes, the mood and character of a given form leads the painting itself. One could read the works both as painted objects or sculpted paintings, they exist in and communicate strongly with the surrounding space.

The works are reminiscent of abstract expressionism and colour field painting, and the shaped surfaces create a sculptural character. The act of painting is a negotiation between the painterly gesture and the given shape of the painting. Hintz’s works challenge the common ideas of perception and encourage different ways of viewing and experiencing painting.

Mikko Hintz (b.1974 Waiblingen i. R., Germany) is a German-born Finnish artist, who lives and works in Helsinki. He has studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki and Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Hintz is represented in public collections such as Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, HAM Helsinki Art Museum,The Collection of Finnish State Art Commission and Frieder Burda Collection in Baden Baden. Hintz has exhibited widely in Finland and Europe and recent shows include Temnikova & Kasela gallery, Tallinn (2016); Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2013–2014) and Kalnciema Quartier gallery, Riga (2012). The exhibition is supported by The Finnish Cultural Foundation.



Work: Inga Meldere
Photo: Jussi Tiainen

Inga Meldere starts her artistic process with research. By diving into stories and art history she finds such an abundance of material that each finished work could be a starting point to a new exhibition. One could say that her paintings are a combination of research both outside and inside the studio. Meldere is also interested in ways of painting and ways of perception, how the mind and reason interact with the senses, the realm of the body.

For this exhbition, Meldere studied the relationship between Henri Matisse and his model and long time muse, Lydia. This functioned as one entry point to the subject of caring. Questions of how we care, what are the power structures lying behind these acts, and what are the tools in acts of caring have been central. Lydia was not just a model, but also a studio assistant and life partner until the end of Matisses’ life. Meldere draws attention to emancipation, gender equality and feminine symbols in our society. Through introducing the visual element of a scarf - a feminine accessory and symbol of social status - she addresses these matters, but also uses the symmetry of the scarf design as a tool for the composition of the painting.

Meldere’s works are combinations of printing and painting. The UV-printing is often a link to the archival material she encounters while researching. The finished work is always a carefully balanced, delicate and refined painting.

Inga Meldere (b. 1979, Kuldiga, Latvia) lives and works in Helsinki. She studied at the University of Latvia and at the Art Academy of Latvia. Meldere was a researcher at Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht 2013-2014. She is currently attending a MA program in Painting at the University of the Arts in Helsinki.
Meldere’s recent solo and duo exhibitions include shows at Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga (2017); SIC, Helsinki (2017); kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga (2016); Temnikova & Kasela gallery, Tallinn (2016). She has participated in various group exhibitions at eg. Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland (2018 -2019); Exhibition hall Arsenals, National Museum of Latvia, Riga (2017); Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zürich (2016–2017). Meldere is represented in the collection of Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, The Collection of Finnish State Art Commission, and private collections such as HANGart (Vienna Austria), bta art (Vienna Insurance Group), Janis Zuzans and Maris Vitols collections. TAIKE and The Finnish Cultural Foundation have supported the exhibition.

 

Helsinki Contemporarylla on ilo päättää vuosi 2019 Mikko Hintzin ja Inga Melderen yhteisnäyttelyyn Hidden matter. Taiteilijat ovat työskennelleet uusien teostensa parissa rinnakkain ja saman näyttelyn nimen alla, mutta luoneet silti kaksi itsenäistä teoskokonaisuutta.

Mikko Hintz työskentelee abstraktin maalauksen parissa. Hänen uudet teoksensa tutkivat muodon, värin ja maalausprosessin välisiä suhteita. Hintz on löytänyt kiinnostavia muotoja surffilaudoista ja purjeista, kilvistä, leijoista sekä muista arkisista objekteista, ja luonut niistä tulkintojensa ääriviivat erikoisvalmisteisiin maalauspohjiin. Jotkin kompositioista vihjaavat teosten muotojen alkuperään, kunkin muodon tunnelma ja luonne ohjaa itse maalausta. Teoksia voi lukea sekä maalattuina objekteina että veistettyinä maalauksina, jotka vaikuttavat ja kommunikoivat vahvasti ympäröivän tilan kanssa.

Hintzin teokset muistuttavat abstraktista ekpressionismista ja värikenttämaalauksesta, muotoillut pinnat luovat teoksille veistosmaisen luonteen. Maalaustapahtuma on neuvottelua maalauksen teon ja teokselle annetun muodon välillä. Hintzin teokset haastavat totutut käsitykset havainnosta ja rohkaisevat  löytämään eri tapoja maalauksen katsomiseksi ja kokemiseksi.

Mikko Hintz (s. 1974 Waiblingen, Saksa) asuu ja työskentelee Helsingissä. Hän on opiskellut Kuvataideakatemiassa Helsingissä sekä Tanskan kuninkaallisessa taideakatemiassa Kööpenhaminassa. Hintzin teoksia sisältyy mm. Kiasman ja HAMin kokoelmiin. Hän on esiintynyt useissa näyttelyissä niin Suomessa kuin muualla Euroopassakin, viimeaikoina mm. Temnikova & Kasela galleryssa Tallinnassa 2016, Kiasmassa Helsingissä 2013-2014 sekä Kalnciema Quartier galleryssa Riiassa 2012. Suomen Kulttuurirahasto on tukenut näyttelyä.


 
Teos: Inga Meldere
Kuva: Jussi Tiainen

Inga Melderen työskentelyprosessi alkaa tutkimuksella. Sukeltaessaan tarinoiden maailmaan ja taidehistoriaan hän löytää sellaisia määriä materiaalia, että jokainen valmis teos voisi toimia lähtökohtana omalle näyttelylleen. Melderen teokset muodostuvat yhdistelmästä työhuoneen ulko- ja sisäpuolella tehtyä tutkimusta, hän on kiinnostunut myös maalaamisen sekä havainnoinnin tavoista – siitä, miten järki ja mieli ovat vuorovaikutuksessa aistien ja kehon maailman kanssa.

Uutta näyttelyä varten Meldere on tutkinut Henri Matissen ja tämän pitkäaikaisen mallin ja muusan Lydian suhdetta. Tutkimus on toiminut yhtenä väylänä hoivan ja huolenpidon aiheeseen. Keskeisiksi ovat nousseet kysymykset hoivaamisen tavoista, hoivan tekojen sisältämistä voimasuhteista sekä käytössämme olevista hoivaamisen välineistä. Lydia ei ollut ainoastaan malli, vaan myös Matissen assistentti ja elämänkumppani taiteilijan elämän loppuun saakka. Meldere kiinnittää huomion emansipaatioon, sukupuolten tasa-arvoon sekä naisellisiksi miellettyihin symboleihin yhteiskunnassamme. Hän käsittelee aiheitaan tuomalla teoksiinsa huivin visuaalisena elementtinä – naisellisen asusteen ja sosiaalisen statuksen symbolin – ja käyttää huivien kuvioiden symmetriaa myös maalaustensa kompositioiden välineinä.

Melderen teokset yhdistelevät maalausta ja UV-painotekniikkaa, johon liittyy usein taiteilijan tutkimuksissaan kohtaamaan arkistomateriaaliin. Valmis teos on aina huolellisen tasapainoinen, herkkä ja hienostunut maalaus.

Inga Meldere (s. 1979 Kuldiga, Latvia) asuu ja työskentelee Helsingissä. Hän on opiskellut Latvian yliopistossa ja Latvian taideakatemiassa, sekä toiminut tutkijana Jan Van Eyck -akatemiassa vuosina 2013-2014. Tällä hetkellä Meldere opiskelee Helsingissä, Taideyliopiston Kuvataideakatemian maalaustaiteen maisteriohjelmassa. Hänen viimeisimmät yksityisnäyttelynsä on nähty Latvian kansallisessa taidemuseossa Riiassa 2017, galleria SICssä Helsingissä 2017, kim? Contemporary Art Centerissä Riiassa 2016 ja Temnikova & Kasela galleryssa Tallinnassa 2016. Meldere on esiintynyt laajasti ryhmänäyttelyissä kansainvälisesti, viimeisimpänä Kiasmassa 2018 -2019, Exhibition hall Arsenalsissa, sekä Barbara Seiler Galleryssa Zürichissä 2016–2017. Melderen teoksia sisältyy Kiasman kokoelmaan ja Valtion taideteostoimikunnan kokoelmaan, sekä yksityisiin kokoelmiin kuten HANGartin (Wien, Itävalta), bta artin (Vienna insurance group) sekä Janis Zuzansin ja Maris Vitolsin kokoelmiin. TAIKE ja Suomen Kulttuurirahasto ovat tukeneet näyttelyä. Taiteilija kiittää Agnese Krivadea yhteistyöstä ja tuesta.

Helsinki Contemporary har glädjen att avsluta året 2019 med Mikko Hintz och Inga Melderes gemensamma utställning Hidden matter. Konstnärerna har arbetat tillsammans med sina nya verk under ett gemensamt utställningsnamn samtidigt som de ändå har skapat två självständiga helheter.

Mikko Hintz arbetar med abstrakt måleri. Hans nya verk studerar relationerna mellan form, färg och själva målarprocessen. Hintz har hittat intressanta former i surfbrädor och segel och i sköldar, drakar och andra vardagliga objekt och låtit dem fungera som konturer för sina tolkningar på specialtillverkade underlag. Vissa kompositioner anspelar på de varierande formernas ursprung, och de enskilda formernas stämning och karaktär styr själva målningen. Verken kan läsas både som målade objekt och som skulpterade målningar som starkt påverkar och kommunicerar med det omgivande rummet.

Hintz verk för tankarna till den abstrakta expressionismen och färgfältsmåleriet, de formade ytorna ger verken en skulptural karaktär. Målandet är en överläggning mellan själva arbetsprocessen och den form verket getts. Hintz verk utmanar våra invanda uppfattningar om perception och lockar oss att söka olika sätt att betrakta och uppleva en målning.

Mikko Hintz (f. 1974 i Waiblingen, Tyskland) bor och är verksam i Helsingfors. Han har studerat vid Bildkonstakademin i Helsingfors och vid Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi i Köpenhamn. Hans verk ingår i bl.a. Kiasmas och HAMs samlingar. Hintz verk har visats på talrika utställningar såväl i Finland som i andra europeiska länder, under senaste tid bl.a. på galleri Temnikova & Kasela i Tallinn 2016, Kiasma i Helsingfors 2013–2014 samt galleri Kalnciema Quartier i Riga 2012. Utställningen har understötts av Suomen Kulttuurirahasto.




Verk: Inga Meldere
Bild: Jussi Tiainen

Inga Meldere inleder sin arbetsprocess med research. Hon dyker ner i berättelsernas värld och konstens historia och hittar så mycket material att varje färdigt verk kunde fungera som utgångspunkt för en egen utställning. Melderes verk bygger på en kombination av reaserch både i och utanför ateljén, hon är också intresserad av olika sätt att måla och varsebli – av hur förnuftet och psyket står i växelverkan med sinnenas och kroppens värld.

Inför den nya utställningen har Meldere studerat förhållandet mellan Henri Matisse och Lydia, hans långvariga modell och musa. Detta kom att bli en kanal som förde Meldere i riktning mot temat vård och omvårdnad. Centrala frågor har då varit omvårdnadens konkreta metoder, styrkeförhållandena i de konkreta vårdhandlingarna samt de redskap vi har för omvårdnad. Lydia var inte enbart en modell utan också Matisses assistent och livskamrat ända till hans död. Meldere fokuserar på emancipation, jämställdhet mellan könen och sådana symboler som i vårt samhälle uppfattas som feminina. Hon behandlar sina motiv genom att introducera scarfen – ett kvinnligt plagg och en social statussymbol – som ett visuellt element i sina verk, och hon använder också symmetrin i scarfarnas bildmönster som ett verktyg i sina kompositioner.

Melderes verk kombinerar måleri och UV-tryckteknik, ofta med kopplingar till arkivmaterial hon stött på i sin research. Det färdiga verket är alltid en omsorgsfullt balanserad, lika känslig som förfinad målning.

Inga Meldere (f. 1979 i Kuldiga, Lettland) bor och är verksam i Helsingfors. Hon har studerat vid Lettlands universitet och Lettlands konstakademi och arbetade 2013–2014 som forskare vid Jan van Eyck Academie i Maastricht. För närvarande studerar hon inom magisterprogrammet för måleri vid Konstuniversitetets Bildkonstakademi i Helsingfors. Senast hade hon separatutställningar på Lettlands nationella konstmuseum i Riga 2017, galleri SIC i Helsingfors 2017, kim? Contemporary Art Center i Riga 2016 och galleri Temnikova & Kasela i Tallinn 2016. Hon har också deltagit i många grupputställningar i olika länder, senast på Kiasma 2018–2019, Arsenalens konsthall i Riga samt Barbara Seiler Gallery i Zürich 2016–2017. Melderes verk ingår i Kiasmas och Statens konstverkskommissions samlingar samt i privata samlingar, däribland HANGarts (Wien), bta arts (Vienna Insurance Group) och Janis Zuzans och Maris Vitols samlingar. Utställningen har understötts av TAIKE och Suomen Kulttuurirahasto. The artist would like to thank Agnese Krivade for her support and collaboration.

 

Artist-Curator Discussion: Inga Meldere & Mikaela Lostedt

Hidden matter
29.11.–22.12.2019
 

Inga Meldere (b. 1979, Kuldiga, Latvia) lives and works in Helsinki. She studied at the University of Latvia and at the Art Academy of Latvia. Meldere was a researcher at Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht 2013-2014. She is currently attending an MA program in Painting at the University of the Arts in Helsinki.

Meldere’s recent solo and duo exhibitions include shows at Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga; SIC, Helsinki; kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga; Temnikova & Kasela gallery, Tallinn. She has participated in various group exhibitions at eg. Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland; Exhibition hall Arsenals, National Museum of Latvia, Riga; Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zürich. Meldere is represented in the collection of Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, The Collection of Finnish State Art Commission.


Mikaela Lostedt: How did you come across the stories of Matisse and his muse Lydia? What was it that caught your attention?

Inga Meldere: The themes I have been working on when starting this project evolve around excerpts of female writers’ poetic diaries, dealing with sexuality and female sensual perception. The idea was to explore the possibilities of relating painting with the style of diary writing and poetic language. For example how Eileen Myles looks on the vibrant New York cityscape of the 80’s trough flowers. Yellow tulips associate with “miserable faces in daily pain & awful air”, “looking too real to be real, so big and sexual-looking in that funny way flowers are, they were like heads poking from another world”. Or the celebrated contemporary poet and critic Maggie Nelson and her lifelong obsession with the colour blue, devoted to the “inextricability of pleasure and pain, and to the question of what role, if any, aesthetic beauty can play in times of great heartache of grief”. A scientific article describes the colour of the universe as “pale turquoise”. Nelson “knew it all along. The heart of the world is blue”, but, as she found out a few months later, the discovery was an error made by a computer glitch. “The real colour of the universe, this new article says, is light beige”.

The preparations for each new project create a starting point that doesn’t necessary have anything to do with painting. I collect perspectives that are, at this stage, still quite vague but they set the mood. Authors such as Kris Craus, Lidia Yuknavich, Sheila Heti, Hélène Cixous, Iran Mersal, Laurie Weeks and Kate Zambreno are some of the names which I came across on this particular journey. One book or author led to another.

I revised my bookshelf and came across an item which I have had in my possession/owned since my student years in the Art academy of Latvia 15 years ago: A book about Lydia Delectorskaya, who was more than a model for Matisse. The two formed a strong bond. She became his model, studio assistant and companion, faithfully serving the artist from 1932 until his death in 1954. She was the exception to the rule: a close companion of more than 20 years with an acknowledged public role in Matisse’s life (even if her name did not always appear in the titles of his drawings of her), Lydia’s Nordic appearance varied from the looks of his usual Mediterranean models.

Bought on a study trip to Moscow, the book is a collection of letters and memories of people who met or collaborated with Lydia. I was intrigued by the life story of a woman who had a big impact on art history. Through the book one could grasp her dedication, sacrifice and unselfishness in her work with the artist – and the enormous loneliness, especially after Matisse’s passing. Working with this story and my paintings, I wanted to emphasise the role of Lydia, to look at her as an equal, as a creator (closely alongside Matisse) of the heritage that we are used to recognise trough the books of art history and museum expositions.

Matisse wrote ”what I dream is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject-matter, an art which could be for every mental worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters, for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from psychical fatigue”. From this viewpoint art would serve as a healer, looking from darkness to the light. I think Lydia, with her presence as a woman, companion, mother and muse, was part of this great “project”.

For this exhibition I invited the Latvian author Agnese Krivade, whose work I deeply admire, to collaborate with me. She got very close to the story of Lydia and Matisse. For her, it took the direction of a poetic manifest. Excerpts from the text she wrote can be found in some of my paintings in the exhibition.

ML: The concept of caring is central for the new works, what are the central aspects of it that you address in your works?

IM: I would say that the central concept for the new works is perception. The mentioned concept of care has to do with finding a story, which is very important for me to start painting. Care is not about the painting, rather it is about the story, as well as the connection between the authors whose works I read. It all leads to the story. When reading  about Matisse and Lydia, the concept of caring was very present for me, it was one of the ways to enter their story. There was a relationship between two people based on respect and care, involving senses.

Of course, we can speculate on that because of what we actually know about them. In those times people where talking less, and there is not much information available. Matisse was dedicated and serving to his art and she was a bright light, like saint Mary burned by the fire of the bright colours, as a martyr for a world that needs to recover its light. One can grasp this with a careful “reading” of the works and letters, notes (wrote to her) by Matisse.

But, tracing back to the concept of care, I came across a text of Aristotle which felt somehow “right” regarding this story. Aristotle distinguished two means of perception: through the mind/reason, considered universal and immaterial, and through the senses, belonging to the realm of the body, thus more familiar, permitting the establishment of relationships with other people – through such activities as care – and enabling our sensory being-in-the-world.

“Both instances reveal four phases of care that trace back to the values outlined by Joan Tronto (political science) and Berenice Fisher (civil rights activist). The first is caring about, or being sensitive to the needs of others; the second is caring for (responsibility), the third, taking care of, involves specific skills (wether we’re providing care to a child, a cronically-ill person, or “saving the world”, while the last phase is the ability to receive care, thereby place oneself in the weaker position within the certain power relation.”

“I was his eye sight and he was the reason for me to live”, L. Delektorskaya

ML: How do you go about when doing research? Is it very planned or more organic?

The beginning for me is usually very organic, it's more following my instincts, or things that catch my attention. If the interest stays with me for a longer time, the organic way grows into very a planned one.

ML: What does the scarf mean to you? Is it just a visual element or are you considering its wider meaning?

IM: I love this accessory, I even have a small collection! Each scarf can tell a story, starting from the composition and what is depicted on it, all the way to the person who is wearing it. A scarf is a very innocent “banner”, a piece of cloth for a manifest, or a statement. At the same time, one can just wear it to become anonymous and disappear in the crowd. I like the compositions of scarves which are usually very symmetrical, elements can repeat themselves in decorative patterns and create new compositions and new meanings.

ML: How do you see the relationship between painting and perception?

IM: It’s about the story, everything starts from there. Each time, to begin with, I set the mood and look for a story.

Painting for me is not just about feelings, there is something that comes from the “outside”. I read a lot and it doesn't necessarily have to do with the painting. In a way, that’s how I structure the process before starting to work on research for the painting. First research and then painting. I use archival material [existing images, (my solution)] as a print. It changes the painting process. Some part of the image is already there when I start to paint. The idea of perception starts there! I look at the print and then I start to paint. These are two different languages, and I have to find a dialogue between them to work, and this is where it becomes interesting for me. I am already adapted to this way of working and it shows the way to what to do next.

For me, the painting process aims to create a resonance, or a vibrance, between the image and painting. A vibrance between public (image, story, being outside the studio) and private (painting, being in the studio with my work). The work is about artistic practices and methods  of painting.

ML: Tell me more about your techniques? How did you start using UV-printing and how do you see it working with painting?

IM: The choice to start using UV print was very pragmatic and well sorted out. I wanted to use printed image as a starting point for my painting, but “classic” methods of transferring image on primed canvas (such as silkscreen or paper collage) didn't really give me the result I wanted. I was also looking for something that is not dissolved with organic solvents while I was using oil colour. I didn't know anything about this technique’s existence before, so I was quite happy to discover it and it really works well for me.

ML: What kind of steps does your working process include?

IM: Research, work with archival materials. I also take a lot of pictures myself (lately I have mostly been working with my own photographs). Work on the computer where I prepare collages, cutouts and layouts for the prints. After the print is ready, starts the most interesting part of the working process – painting. Painting materials, new techniques as well as methods have always been very interesting to me, I also feel quite relaxed to mix them, maybe that’s because I have a background in restoration :)

ML: How do you know a painting is finished?

IM: Maybe there is something like an inner feeling that tells it, although sometimes it can be misleading and after a while, I need to return to the painting.

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