Karoliina Hellberg (born in 1987 in Finland) will display at CHART a series of new paintings, works on paper and glass sculptures. Her skilled use of colour, versatile painting technique and sensitivity to details are appealing features of her work. The enigmatic nature and narrative tensions of her works lead viewers to the realms of the imagination and memories.
Interiors and buildings with their courtyards are among the main themes of Hellberg’s works. They delineate a recognisable space in them, which is nonetheless in many ways impermanent. The room of a painting can contain several levels of time and be made of a combination of real, remembered and imaginary places. A mirror or painting hung on the wall of a room – a picture within a picture – leads the gaze beyond the boundaries of the visible space. There are hardly any people in the paintings, but the spaces are inhabited, and not by a minimalist. Countless details painted with confidence – indoor plants, wallpaper, furniture, vases, piles of books and artworks – invite viewers to immerse themselves in a story told with the means of painting.
The charged atmosphere of the world created by Hellberg is based on the tension of presence and absence. Her paintings are places where something may just have happened or someone will step into the image when we have moved on from it. The viewer can peek into this world and spend time in its arrested and expectant atmosphere.
Real and imaginary spaces, memories and autobiographical elements are the materials of Hellberg’s rich visual idiom. The works on paper at CHART reveal her interest in Rococo imagery, which appeals to her with its lightness and mischievousness and the charged disturbingly embarrassing mood of its erotic motifs, which can be created, for example, by the expression of a figurine.
Despite their smaller format, Hellberg’s drawings in watercolour and ink are on an equal footing with her paintings, and she produces her works in different media as entities: the viewer can see the same detail in several works. She aims at the lightness characteristic of her drawings also in the brushwork of her larger paintings. Her new paintings of cloud motifs also represent the study of lightness and airiness in terms of their subject matter. For Hellberg, painting itself and the mark of the brush are just as important reasons to paint as the moods and stories in the works.
Karoliina Hellberg graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2015. She has recently held solo exhibitions at the Finnish Institute in St Petersburg (2017), Galerie Anhava (2016) and the HAM Gallery in Helsinki (2016). Her recent group exhibitions include On the Home Front at Galleri Kant in Copenhagen (2018), Unfinished Utopias at Villa Kantola in Kotka (2017) and Tower of Presence at the Finnish Institute in Stockholm. Her works are included, among others, in the collections of the Päivi and Paavo Lipponen Foundation, the Saastamoinen Foundation and HAM Helsinki Art Museum, as well as private collections in Finland, England and Belgium. Karoliina Hellberg has been shortlisted for the Didrichsen Pro Arte award 2019.