Jussi Niva: Mime
Galerie Forsblom 12.2.–6.3.2016
Opening with the artist in attendance, 11.2.2015, 17.00–19.00
Mime is a series of works by Jussi Niva (b. 1966) consisting of irregularly shaped paintings and three-dimensional wall pieces that resemble origami. Shooting off in crisscrossing directions, the painted surfaces depict sudden shifts in direction, plications, fault-lines, splits and fissures. Being flat yet plastic, the surfaces engage the viewer in the process of assigning their spatial identity. There are no identifiable figures, but a temporal glitch in this space-formation process adds a surprising dimension to the sense of motion: For a fleeting moment, the works appear to stand frozen in their tracks, and then suddenly shoot off and expand in all directions.
The title of the series refers to mimesis – the imitation of nature – an ideal that is both deconstructed and reiterated by Niva’s abstract portrayal of movement. Mimesis can also be interpreted as a form of intuitive and corporeal identification with elements of nature. Niva’s works are all about corporeal experientiality, which is heightened by the sensual intensity of his color palette. Accented by splashes of bright hues, his earthy tans look less like paint than tactile surfaces such as make-up, skin, wood or cardboard – surfaces that ultimately have a will of their own.
Born in Pello, Northern Finland, Niva is among the first Finnish artists to exhibit at Kassel’s Documenta, where he appeared in 1992. He participated in the Venice Biennale in 1993. Niva’s works are found in major Finnish museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Espoo Museum of Modern Art EMMA as well as numerous private collections internationally. He is known for his large public works depicting movement and urban architecture. Niva lives and works in Helsinki and Berlin.