Joonas Kota


November 30–December 16, 2018

Excerpts from Dr. Sam Inkinen’s essay “A Dialogue at the Studio, or Observations on Art and the Artist – Postmodern, Metamodern, and the Internet Zeitgeist as Key Themes”(November 2018)


Aurora Reinhard
November 2–18, 2018

Aurora Reinhard is known for her photographs, sculptures and videos often dealing with themes of gender and sexuality, moving between documentary and surreal approaches. For her latest body of work Broken, the artist has sought inspiration in the everlasting myths and art history of Western imagery while contemplating her dual role as the artist’s muse and the heroic creator of art.


Jiri Geller
April 28th – May 21st, 2017

”I want to make art that is at once timeless and topical”

The expression of a Smiley is a broad smile always expressing the same overwhelming enthusiasm. A Smiley face expresses joy, encouragement, approval. It symbolises everything positive, although when simplified, the message functions mostly as an encouraging punctuation mark – as such, it is simultaneously the most pointless and the most meaningful in the world.

The three-dimensional, cast-aluminium sculptures of Jiri Geller’s new series have been inspired by the classic Smiley face. Geller continues to present detailed, expertly-crafted sculptures by offering yet another perspective into his conceptual nihilism. The sculptures’ pattern of events that appears to have halted for a fraction of a second is known from Geller’s previous work, and the latest series of works is no exception; the hyper-finalised forms of the sculptures stretch, empty, bubble, splash, move mechanically, and the smiley face gets an ice-cream cone in the eye.

Smiley usage is global, it is a cross-cultural image whose positive message has lived on in different forms, from cave paintings to today’s smart phones. Geller’s sculptures do not, however, depict the smileys that have evolved into emojis, although their ubiquitous presence has played a part in the birth of the work. In written sources, the first symbol interpretable as a smiley can be found already in the 1600s. From then on, different versions are occasionally observed in different sources, although increasingly from the mid-1900s onwards. The classic yellow Smiley face, made famous by popular culture, is based on a symbol developed in the US in 1963, with the aim of encouraging improved achievement among employees of a life-insurance company. This has become part of the standards of today’s working life; employees are given warnings ever more lightly, if they don’t remember to smile enough.

“Remember to smile, it’s nice to look at a smiley face!”

Geller’s chosen topics often consist of objects or situations based on something that has become iconic. Geller sees Smiley as an example of this. Like balloons, skulls, or escalators, they are not located in time, but are simultaneously both topical and timeless.

Jiri Geller (born 1970, resides and works in Helsinki) is known for his highly detailed sculptures that utilise current phenomena in pop culture. Geller has held several notable solo exhibitions around Finland and the Nordic countries, as well as taken part in numerous exhibitions in international art institutions around the world.


Aurora Reinhard
March 10th – April 2nd, 2017

Aurora Reinhard is known for her photographs, sculptures, and videos that challenge the structures and tensions of society and depict, in particular, the compulsive expressions of gender and womanhood.

In her solo exhibition Venus, Reinhard is once again striking. The exhibition presents nine interpretations of femininity tinted by the porn industry and pin-up picture, as well as a series of miniature sculptures featuring the artist herself as the model. In keeping with her style, Reinhard manages to embed humor and human warmth in her works, once the provocative first impression has faded.

Aurora Reinhard (1975) lives and works in Helsinki, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts department of Time and Space Art, Helsinki in 2003. Reinhard is known for her video, photographic and sculptural work dealing with themes of gender and sexuality, moving between documentary and surreal approaches. Her works are included in numerous Finnish public and private collections and her sculpture Flowers, 2006 has been widely shown in traveling exhibition The Desire for Freedom (2012-14), originating in the German Historical Museum, Berlin. A large selection of her works were shown in Invisible Lady at Amos Anderson Art Museum, Helsinki (2013), her video Boygirl, 2002 was awarded the international Media Art Award by Zentrum Für Kunst und Media ZKM, Karlsruhe.

By David Elliot: Curator, Museum Director

Virtualized Sceneries

Joonas Kota

Joonas Kota
Virtualized Sceneries
Jan 27th – Feb 19th, 2017

Joonas Kota’s first solo exhibition at Zetterberg Gallery – Virtualized Sceneries presents the artist’s latest work through three new work series: Transcendent Diamonds, Broken Forests and Degradable Emoji icons.

Kota’s works examine the ways by which we look at the world. His works creates parallel realities and drifts between the fragility of the captured moment and timelessness. The abstracted forests turn into virtualized sceneries, the delicately layered diamonds reflects fractions of the world around you without revealing its core and the Emoji icons have become faded memories of their virtual existence when taken out of their context.

Kota’s working process often consists of three parts: The symbolic reality, reality in itself and the transcendental. At its best the viewer’s thoughts moves effortlessly between these three dimensions.

Joonas Kota (b.1976) lives and work in Helsinki and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki 2003. Kota’s works have been placed in private and public collections such as the Finnish National Gallery Kiasma and the Helsinki City Art Museum.

Tony Is Back!

Jani Leinonen

Jani Leinonen
Tony Is Back!
December 2nd – 22nd, 2016
Zetterberg Gallery

Tony is Back! presents Jani Leinonen’s first video works consisting of a series of commercial-like videos with Kellogg’s iconic cereal mascot, Tony the Tiger navigating a grown-up world of prostitution, police violence and suicide bombers. The exhibition also explores the structures and power of the commercial world through an exceptional series of Leinonen’s sign works from 2011 – 2015.