In March, Helsinki Contemporary has the pleasure of hosting Heidi Lampenius’ solo exhibition Wavelengths. The title refers to the idea that everything we experience has a wavelength. The new works have arisen out of observation of time and place in relation to nature.
In the series of Wavelengths paintings an invisible energy, a wave motion, is traced out on the canvas, made visible in compositions and vibrations of bright colours. Lampenius’ treatment of themes from art history is also continued in this exhibition: now it is the turn of flower still lifes that spring from the theme of nature morte. Saturating, washing and removing the paint, Lampenius weaves her new works into a distinct continuum with her earlier production.
For the last few years, she has worked at Pro Artibus Foundation’s artist’s residence at Villa Snäcksund in Tammisaari. The landscape there made the artist stop to contemplate and sense the environment and its essence anew: through the invisible. Lampenius approaches her subject, on the one hand, by studying and reading maths and physics theories in relation to the environment, time and existence, and, on the other hand, by painting the landscape she knows and experiences. "These paintings thus say something about time and the wavelengths that constitute everything. I am involved with immaterial things here, and yet at the same time nature is very concretely my starting point. As the titles and colour world of the works tell us, this is a question of very simple, down-to-earth things", she says.
Painting is Lampenius’ way of exploring and understanding. She treats the landscape by disrupting traditions, not so much by reproducing recognizable features of the place, as by making visible signs out of invisible reality – out of vibrations, sound and light waves , codes hidden in nature, and the endless mass of concealed information. In her paintings she resonates with the landscape. Invisible energy is, for example, concretized in the incandescent red Vulcano, with its underlying reflection on the Gaussian distribution and the power of the soil. The paintings rendered on unprimed canvases are ethereal, unsteady on the micro and macro level, while at the same time being optically powerful, pulsating embodiments of the energy that surrounds us.
Her art history references have gone over from the earlier skull and hand motifs to flower still lifes, which speak of our attempts to imprison nature. Via familiar subjects and symbols, and repetition of them, something new is released into the painting, something that in its concreteness brings the viewer face to face with abstractions.
Heidi Lampenius (b. 1977) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki in 2011. Her first solo exhibition at Helsinki Contemporary was in 2016. She is currently taking part in the series of painting exhibitions The Touch, which began at the Aine Art Museum in Tornio in autumn 2018, is now at Seinäjoki Art Hall until April 28, 2019, and ends at Sinne in Helsinki in May 2019. Her works have been shown in Sweden, Italy, Singapore and elsewhere, and in the coming summer will be seen at BERG Contemporary in Iceland. Lampenius holds a Pro Artibus Foundation scholarship, and lives and works at Villa Snäcksund until the end of the year.
A special thank you to Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike), Föreningen Konstsamfundet r.f. and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland for supporting the artist’s work.
The Wavelengths exhibition is accompanied by a book on Heidi Lampenius’ artistic production published by Pro Artibus. The book launch and accompanying discussion will be at Helsinki Contemporary at 17:00 on March 13.