Erwin Laiho’s conceptual sculpting revolves around the interconnected ascent of materials from natural minerals to consumer and digital technology. Laiho explores the complex ontological relationship between matter, time, and the development of the universe. By transfiguring functional, digital devices, he strips them “of their pristine state of consumerist desire and physical autonomy in order to reveal an immanent vitality of the raw materials.”
Extra Terrestrial creates an idea of celestial bodies, life forms, and phenomena originating from our terrestrial environment. The sheer volume of hardware in the exhibition bluntly characterises the dominance of digital technology and the global internet infrastructures by raising concerns about their impacts. Laiho considers technology something fundamentally human. A part of our being. We create the world and our agencies with minerals. For the artist this is the main denominator ruling out the binary logic of both the human-nature and nature-technology dichotomies, as they for him are not elemental enough.
Working in the veins of Arte Povera and Mono-Ha, Laiho’s objective is not to obliterate the essence of the objects. Just the contrary. Ideally for him “what’s left are incredibly refined mineral materials with a palpable potential and an unobstructed honesty to them – much like their predecessors under our feet and in the night skies.” Whereas Laiho’s sculptural elements may have been built to serve only for a short second before the next hot design, the viewer of the artworks is placed on the deeper timeline of geology.
While the sculptures challenge the conventional ways we perceive our devices and subvert our spatial expectations, they engage in a very direct dialogue with the history and traditions of the medium of sculpture itself. The works feature existing, geometric elements that play with symmetry, balance, tension and the fundamental qualities that underlie the physical world.
Extra Terrestrial invites us to reflect on the profound ways in which silicon-based life forms shape our world and our relationship with it, challenging us to acknowledge how humanity exists in technology.
A bullet shot with a gun through an object is a mischievous target for interpretations. The act of shooting is so real, so violent, and so destructive in itself, that during these dark days, it is hard to see itas a symbol of anything else than the harsh reality we are witnessing. As we speak, bullets are piercing living bodies, destroying things and causing life-lasting traumas to people who remain alive in conflict zones near and far. The closer the bullet holes come to our home the more they shake our feeling of security.
Jani Leinonen’s new exhibition LOVE brings bullet holes really close, to the clean white space of Zetterberg Gallery in the center of Helsinki. All the artworks are pierced with real bullets – leaving a cracking hole in the glass and the art underneath. In the exhibition, the bullets have broken hearts and Coco Chanel No 5 perfume packages, and they have made cracks on otherwise soft birch wood panels. The bullet holes are the remnants of a deadly duel between two of the world’s most famous commercial mascots, and two recurring characters in Leinonen’s artistic oeuvre; fast food mascot Ronald McDonald and Kellogg’s Tony Tiger.
In Leinonen’s works the act of shooting is violence in itself but simultaneously a symbol of violence. According to philosopher Slavoj Žižek there are at least three forms of violence: subjective (crime, terror), objective (racism, hate-speech, discrimination), and systemic (the catastrophic effects of economic and political systems). Often one form of violence blunts our ability to see the others, raising complicated questions. These are the three levels of violence that Leinonen’s artworks play with.
Jani Leinonen has created a giant Christmas calendar for the Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. The installation consisting of 24 pieces of art – one for each day until Christmas is an extravagant and cheerful interpretation of a traditional advent calendar.
“I’m thrilled to be exhibiting at the Dolder Grand for the second time this year. I have associated the excitement of the run-up to Christmas with Advent calendars since my childhood and hope that my art conveys this sense of joyful anticipation to guests at the Dolder Grand”, Leinonen explains.
Jani Leinonen and the Dolder Grand have been collaborating since 2009, and he regularly exhibits his works at the hotel. For his last exhibition at Easter, Leinonen created an oversized egg from fresh flowers.
Jani Leinonen, Jiri Geller and Aurora Reinhard are well represented in the exhibition Morning Coffee on the Roof of a Town, showcasing a selection of works from the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation’s contemporary art collection in Mänttä, Finland from 5.11.2022—16.4.2023.
The foundation began to collect contemporary art in the early 2010s, and to date, the collection consists of more than 500 works, of which approximately 60 are on display in the current exhibition.
Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation was established in 1933 and comprises today more than 10 000 artworks of Finnish art classics, old European paintings, and contemporary art. The collection is one of the grandest private art collections in the Nordics.
Do we often interpret objects that look visually impressive as superficial?
How much can we miss out on if, despite being aware of this possibility, we are not always able to look and explore things more closely – while maintaining the curiosity and open-mindedness typical to the human species?
Why has the disposable cardboard coffee mug, that millions of people carry with them every day turned into a forever-lasting black granite sculpture ten times its size? Is the work with glitter and rainbows bruised? What might we experience when we notice a sculpture that resembles pink cotton candy, which, upon closer inspection, speaks of cannibalism? And what if an artwork offers a solution to the pursuit of eternal youth?
The exhibition Superficial reflects upon the phenomena of individual interpretation of aesthetics through the works by Jiri Geller, Riikka Hyvönen, Mari Keto, Joonas Kota, Jani Leinonen, and Aurora Reinhard.
Jani Leinonen has been invited to create this years Easter egg at the prestigeous Dolder Grand in Zurich, Switzerland. The installation decorated with more than 12,000 carnations will be on display in the Steinhalle from 13 April for approximately 1 week. The Easter egg bears the artist’s unmistakable signature and portrays his interpretation of Easter. The egg is accompanied by the “Seeds in Their Pockets” installation – consisting of seven dried flowed that Jani Leinonen collected in war zones across the world, and which convey a message that is really important to him.
Jani Leinonen’s relationship with The Dolder Grand dates back to 2009 and the artist’s works have been exhibited as part of the permanent collection since. Currently there are six works by Leinonen on display.