Kari Cavén (born 1954) is an artist known and liked by all: the man who brought Arte Povera to Finland, smoothed the creased brow of Finnish art and made us see things and think in new ways. Cavén’s art not only touches upon Arte Povera but also gently on Fluxus, constructivism and surrealism, creating from them his inimitable Cavénism – sometimes funny and sometimes thoughtful but always surprising and of clear form. Kari Cavén’s works combine in interesting ways the purity of the modern with the complexity of post-everything.
Kari Cavén likes to work with recycled materials and everyday objects. He shapes and combines them in surprising ways so that cheap bowls can turn into a solemn and grand piece of sculpture, a table top becomes an abstract plane of colour, a glass washing board an elegantly lyrical constructivist painting, or the parts of a toy train set become a modular piece of sculpture crystallising a cry on behalf of everything that we do not want to lose or against everything that we cannot stand.
Kari Cavén has held some fifty solo exhibitions and participated in almost a hundred joint exhibitions in Finland, the Nordic countries, Central Europe and beyond Europe. He has represented Finland in the Venice and Sao Paulo biennales and his works are included in private collections and almost all major public collections in Finland and many Nordic ones, including Modern Museet in Stockholm, the Malmö Art Museum and the Gothenburg Art Museum.
Kari Cavén has also been invited to make over ten public works of art in Finland, Sweden and Norway.
In recent years, Kari Cavén has, among other things, held a solo exhibition at Östfold Kunstsenter in Fredrikstad, Norway, made a large public work of sculpture for the entrance of the enlarged HAM Helsinki Art Museum and curated the Purnu Art Centre exhibition last summer together with Tiina Cavén.