Famous in his country, Matti Kujasalo is probably one of the most well known and appreciated contemporary Finnish artists abroad.
Born in Helsinki in 1946 and initiated into art by his grandmother, a confirmed artist herself, at an early age, he joined the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 1964 and later became its director after teaching in it.
Exploring the world in the late 1960s, he travelled throughout the United States where he first found out the work of Ad Reinhardt and Josef Albers, whose impact would leave a lasting mark on his artistic inspiration.
But Kujasalo's work also finds its roots in Mondrian and in the kinetic art movement (Op art) which grew in those years, and is enhanced in particular by the work of artists such as Bridget Riley and Richard Anuzkiewicz
Since the 1970s, Kujasalo has imposed his abstract and geometric aesthetic on the international artistic scene. Numerous solo exhibitions are devoted to him in European galleries and museums, notably in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary. He also represents Finland at the Venice Biennale and his works join the collections of museums such as the Albertina in Vienna, the Arithmeum in Bonn, the Forum Konkrete Kunst Museum in Erfurt, the Joseph Albers Museum in Bottorp as well as private collections in Finland, Scandinavia, Europe and the United States. Matti Kujasalo, who defines himself as a "systematic constructivist", uses the square as a fundamental element in his research of the pure line, a structural choice that reveals an artistic determination towards radical construction
Combining concrete art and the power of hard-edge painting, Kujasalo elaborates his paintings according to mathematical rules based on the possibilities of division of the square grid, an exploration he shares notably with some of the major representatives of Swiss constructed art.
The realization of his works is so perfect that one could think it is a digital technique. In reality, Matti Kujasalo paints directly on his canvas, using a meticulous technique based on adhesive tapes that overlap along increasingly sophisticated paths as time goes by. Once the tapes have disappeared, the superposition of paint layers gives the painting a mysterious physical presence revealing, beyond its construction system, the existence of a sensitive vibration emanating from the canvas, while the pencil marks that occasionally remain clearly make us aware of the meticulous process of making the work
Over the years, the artist has developed a very particular expressive vocabulary and has created a visual universe that is immediately recognizable, extremely nuanced and always different from one painting to another, based on the formal rules he has developed. His work, which fascinates because it stimulates the observer's intelligence to the highest level and constantly offers him new ways to discover, leaves all its place to magic, surprise and the emergence of aesthetic emotion.
Matti Kujasalo seems to have reached the goal that every artist has in mind: to create a specific pictorial technique, at the service of his own aesthetics. While he had chosen, for several decades, to paint exclusively in black and white, thinking that colours would prevent the internal structure governing his works from being discerned, Kujasalo returns in his new canvases to colour, red, green and orange, which illuminated his first "optical" works with their brightness.
Because they are structurally very complex, these recent paintings lead us to renounce to the" understanding" of the system that governs them and to let go, to let ourselves be invaded by mystery, simply accepting the pleasure that the works give us.The solo exhibition that the gallery denise rené is dedicating to Matti Kujasalo this autumn is therefore conceived as a retrospective of the work of this major figure of Finnish art of recent decades, still relatively unknown in France, which the gallery wishes to make known to a wide public.
This will be his second solo exhibition in Paris, the gallery has also presented him in group exhibitions. This presentation of Matti Kujasalo's work is in line with the permanent commitment of the gallery Denise René since the 1950s for the promotion of constructed and kinetic art.