Helsinki Contemporary is pleased to present Rauha Mäkilä’s exhibition Ring a Ring o' Roses on 9 – 31 March 2018. Known for her colourful and vivid paintings, Mäkilä is dealing with life from a closer perspective in her new works – themes arise from private moments of the everyday. This exhibition is Mäkilä’s fourth solo presentation in Helsinki Contemporary.
In the painting August (Taro), the child in red pants watches the world from a headstand. Prussian blue colour spreads behind the figure like the universe. Lived moments are interpreted in Mäkilä’s works as straight-forward as children process life’s essential questions in their play. Name of the exhibition Ring a Ring o’ Roses comes from an old English children’s nursery rhyme, which is believed by one impression to have been born during the plague epidemic of the 17th century. The nursery rhyme reminds of children’s ability to naturally process even the harder sides of life.
”Actually, I have always in some ways dealt with my ordinary matters, which I am at that moment experiencing and living, but distancing them farther from myself. As I see photographs which I have taken of my home environment and loved ones, I surely feel as if I am somehow stepping closer”, Mäkilä reflects on the themes of the exhibition.
Hues of pink, mint greens and neon colours of the palette speak to Mäkilä. In her new works, momentariness appears in the light and airy brush strokes. Strong visions guide the painter and breathing paint surfaces emphasise the spontaneity of the moments, while still leaving space for interpretations. The costumes and masks of the characters in the paintings make one wonder about different roles, the need to hide and escape. Characters look straight ahead in their masks, and the layout of the works highlights the close-proximity of the observation – moment and atmosphere of the painting gets under the skin of the viewer. While observing her inner circle of life Mäkilä manages to crystallise something that unites us.
Rauha Mäkilä (b. 1980) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2007, and she is remembered by her popular and youth culture inspired works. She has addressed the reality provided by the media in her works which function as an oasis amid the wretchedness of the news stream. Mäkilä’s works have been presented in Finland and internationally, including the Munch Gallery in New York; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City; EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art; Galleri Thomassen, Göteborg; and Landskrona Museum, both in Sweden. The artist’s works are included in many significant public collections, e.g. Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, the Saastamoinen Foundation and Wihuri Foundation collections. Mäkilä’s other recent projects include 12 Classics project with WSOY Publications, a mural in Jyväskylä for Tikkurila’s Finland 100 project and curating the Young Artists 2015 exhibition in Kunsthalle Helsinki. The artist lives and works in Helsinki.