Spring 2022 at Helsinki Contemporary

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Helsinki Contemporary’s spring 2022 exhibitions deal with the body, materiality and the passage of time. Things previously unseen are interleaved with references to the history of painting, both being present simultaneously. The spring will bring much-anticipated solo exhibitions from artists represented by the gallery: Eeva-Riitta Eerola, Aki Turunen, Ville Löppönen, Anna Retulainen and Tuomas A. Laitinen. On top of that, in February, intensely coloured paintings by the Danish artist John Kørner will fill the gallery space.

Eeva-Riitta Eerola 7.–30.1.

John Kørner 4.–27.2.

Aki Turunen 4.–27.3.

Ville Löppönen 1.4.–30.4.

Anna Retulainen 6.–29.5.

Tuomas A. Laitinen 3.6.–3.7.


Helsinki Contemporary’s spring season opens with Eeva-Riitta Eerola’s solo exhibition Locus. Corporeality, experientiality and the human being in relation to the space are some of the show’s main themes. The fragments of the human body, such as hands and eyes, that recur in the paintings can also be seen as references to authorship and perception. The new series of works has been influenced by a visit to the Museum of San Marco in Florence and by Fra Angelico’s frescos seen there. In her works Eerola deals with delicate shifts between image and place. In paintings made on unprimed canvas spatiality is also examined through stratification and transparency. The method is thematically linked to the fresco technique. The choices of base fabric, linen and cotton, also allow various painterly acts, making the structure and materiality of the painting visible. 
Eeva-Riitta Eerola (b. 1980, Siilinjärvi) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2010 and also studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris. She has exhibited in several group and solo exhibitions in Finland and abroad, e.g. at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen, in 2015 and Gallery Jaus, Los Angeles, in 2014. Eerola's latest solo show, The Shape of Thing to Come, was seen at Helsinki Contemporary in autumn 2019. Her work is represented in a number of Finnish public collections, including Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Saastamoinen Foundation, Sara Hildén Art Museum, and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. In 2016, Eerola worked on the internationally prestigious ISCP (International Studio & Curatorial Program) residence program in New York. Besides that, she has collaborated with the video artist Jenni Toikka, their latest joint project being a site-specific exhibition at Maison Louis Carré, France, in autumn 2019. In 2021, Eerola’s works were shown in Art Center Purnu’s PINTA (surface) summer exhibition and in a gallery hanging in Artek Helsinki’s shop. Thanks go to Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike), the Finnish Institute in Rome, and Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation for supporting Eerola’s work.


One of the leading figures in Danish contemporary art, John Kørner, will be showing his impressive works constructed out of fine layers of paint in a solo exhibition at Helsinki Contemporary in February, right after his Intercontinental Super Fruits exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. In all its diversity and intense use of colour this eminent artist’s repertoire includes painting, sculpture and graphic art. In Kørner’s works beauty and making a statement meet, both on two-dimensional painting surfaces and in three-dimensional installations. The perception of art, the collective aesthetic experience and the potential of painting to communicate are at the centre of Kørner’s oeuvre. The Helsinki Contemporary exhibition continues and extends this journey into and within painting and, along with that, also the painting’s physical and mental dimensions. The journey or route taken is visible on the works’ picture surface, in the abstract forms, the brushstrokes and their orientation.
John Kørner (b. 1967) lives and works in Copenhagen. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and has participated in exhibitions since the mid-1990s, e.g. at: Kunsthal Charlottenborg and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; Museum Belvédère, The Netherlands; ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Aarhus, Denmark; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Art Basel, Switzerland. His works have been part of group exhibitions at e.g. Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj. He is a recipient of the prestigious Carnegie Art Award – third prize in 2008 and a scholarship in 2000. Kørner’s works are represented in collections including the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Arken Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Denmark, Tate Gallery and The Saatchi Collection. His most recent solo exhibitions in Finland were at Helsinki Contemporary, Helsinki (2018) and EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo (2018). Kørner’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, John Kørner: Intercontinental Super Fruits, is at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit until 9 January 2022. His works are also currently on view in Work it Out, a group exhibition at Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Denmark, until 16 January 2022.


Aki Turunen made his debut at Helsinki Contemporary in October 2020, and now it is time for his first solo exhibition occupying the whole space, The Dragon Tamer. Turunen’s painting process is often set in motion by curiosity and necessity. In his working he makes use of imagery from the unconscious and intuition, while at the same time drawing on history and tradition. Turunen is a deeply material-conscious artist, his production reflecting a constant search for the essence of painting. As an artist he typically masters and develops different methods. In addition to concrete paint, the passage of time and the history of painting as materials are also prominent in The Dragon Tamer, which is based on imagery from medieval manuscripts. The backbone of the exhibition is eight tempera paintings on wood, but the theme is spread out across the gallery space in other forms of painting.
Aki Turunen (b. 1983) lives and works in Helsinki. He graduated with an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki in 2011. He also studied painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Turunen's works have been exhibited in private and group exhibitions in Finland, e.g. in Helsinki Contemporary’s Gonzaga Yellow exhibition, at Gallery Forum Box and Kluuvi Gallery, and in Denmark at the Martin Asbæk Gallery. He participated in the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition in 2011. His works are in collections including Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Saastamoinen Foundation and the State Art Commission.


Ville Löppönen’s exhibition Five Space Helmets After Les Demoiselles d’Avignon carries on the artist’s journey of exploration out of darkness towards the nature of light. Pablo Picasso’s famous Les Demoiselles d'Avignon from 1907 is the starting point and serves as the background for the series of works shown here. The works concretely situate light in the present time and moment, via questions about the feminine, gender and quantum reality. Löppönen’s expression goes from figurative towards the abstract, and even the organic. In addition to interpretations of light, painting is a place where he deals with the movement, the metamorphosis, caused by the challenges of the time that are prompting social upheaval. Painting builds, arranges and creates the new. 
Ville Löppönen (b. 1980, Savonlinna) graduated with an MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2007 and with a Master’s in Orthodox Theology in 2018. His works have been shown widely in Finland and abroad, including North America and Australia. Löppönen’s work is represented in public collections, including Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Oulu Art Museum, Turku Art Museum and The Niemistö Collection, and in numerous private collections in Finland and abroad. 



Tuomas A. Laitinen works with video, sound, glass and microbiological processes. The basis for this exhibition is his background research on symbiotic life forms and situations. Industrial structures originally intended for environmental protection create the ground for Laitinen’s solo exhibition, while the XR (extended reality) work gives the exhibition as a whole an alternative level. On approaching it, the shape-shifting videowork combines with a sound-installation created using ultrasound speakers to form a resonating ecosystem in the gallery space. A series of new organic glass sculptures also take their place as part of the whole.
Tuomas A. Laitinen (b. 1976, Riihimäki, lives and works in Helsinki) composes situations and installations that inquire into the porous interconnectedness of language, body, and matter within morphing ecosystems. Laitinen´s works have been shown in the 21st Biennale of Sydney, 7th Bucharest Biennale, Screen City Biennale 2019 (Stavanger), Vdrome (online screening), Gallery SADE Los Angeles, Amado Art Space (Seoul), Moving Image (New York), A Tale of a Tub (Rotterdam), Art Sonje Center (Seoul), Helsinki Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, and MOCA Shanghai. Laitinen was awarded The Fine Arts Academy of Finland Prize in 2014. In 2021, his works were shown in the Helsinki Biennial and he received the prestigious AVEK Award. Laitinen’s solo exhibition The Boneless One is at New York’s Yeh Art Gallery until 11.12.2021.