Jani Leinonen ‘The School of Disobedience’ at Kunst Zurich 2013
Jani Leinonen (b. 1978, Finland) is an artist and activist who has had enough of a world where recycling Coke cans, giving a couple of euros for charity, or buying a Fazer chocolate bar where 5 cents goes to third world starving children is enough to make us feel good.
Leinonen's anti-establishment art brought him international notoriety when in 2010 he abducted a life-size statute of Ronald McDonald from a McDonald's fast food joint in Helsinki in broad daylight, and held it hostage demanding answers about the quality of their food and work ethics. He later decapitated the statue which was filmed and went viral online.
The work of Leinonen draws you in with its strong colors and seemingly happy messages, but has, when looking deeper, always a twist that questions the system, messages of every day advertising, of convenience, and complacency. Over the last 5 years Jani's career has grown to an international audience making him today a relevant artist for his generation such as great master's Warhol, Jasper Johns or Indiana and the following generation's Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons.
Galerie Gmurzynska is pleased to announce a special solo presentation of Jani Leinonen at Kunst Zurich 2013, through November 3, 2013. The booth is a special installation consisting of major monumental paintings and sculptures in a custom wallpaper environment. The works forms part of Leinonen’s newest series of works, ‘The School of Disobedience’.
"The space is a collision point of classes. The tacky popular crash into harmonious luxury when hundreds of commercial mascots from Tony the Tiger to Nesquik Bunny form classical ornaments on the walls of the booth."-Jani Leinonen
In "Time" (2013), the large scale sculpture uses elements from credit cards and advertising symbols, to appropriate them and change the wording, to make an assemblage with a new meaning and message.
In Rich (2013) his subversive use of "happy cereal boxes" which Leinonen overpaints with new messages and meanings, he plays with the viewer's perception, letting them first see the familiar and non-threatening, then often awakens the viewer with uncomfortable truths.
Jani Leinonen is one of the most exciting voices of contemporary art to emerge since the turn of the century. He has been included in many of the most important exhibitions of the past decade, harkening a renewal of the pop art aesthetic for a new generation; including: the Biennale di Venezia (2009); ‘I Love Aldi’, Wilhelm Hack Museum (2011), ‘Populism’, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma, Helsinki.
Kunst Zurich 2013
31 October - 3 November, 2013
VIP Preview: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
ABB Hall 550, Ricarda-Hurch-Strasse, 8050, Zurich