Mika Karhu: An emotional scenario
24 Jan – 9 Mar 2014

Mika Karhu is known for his large-scale black-and-white drawings in ink and coal. In them everything doesn’t seem to be quite alright - shadowy faces and lurking figures are watching us from these dark works, depicting frightening, intimidating characters. Haunting gazes challenge us to confront their discomforting strangeness, but also our own way of encountering other people. Would we change our path in order not to have to meet our fellow citizens or would we imagine them being invisible? Karhu won’t let us off the hook too easily when asking: what kind of a world has created these shadow dwellers – as a reflection of the world itself?

Karhu’s art draws from a collective reality, where social indispositions, inequality and different starting points in life control over human destinies. An emotional scenario consists of artworks from 2013.  The exhibition showcases ink and coal drawings, pigment prints and a video in which the future society holds many threats. Insecurity becomes something shared, and the agitated aspiration to make the society safe paradoxically increases the amount of societal fears.

Karhu’s imagery makes us aware of our society’s conventions and cognitive mechanisms, thus revealing their inner structural violence. Karhu shows us how a vague threat may become a powerful instrument affecting the lives of ordinary people. Will helping the disadvantaged soon risk our way of life and our sense of security? In the end, whom should we protect ourselves from?

Mika Karhu (born 1969) holds a PhD in Fine Arts and is a visual artist and a curator working at the Aalto University as a postdoctoral researcher. He studies art as a form of self-awareness and as a way of expressing ones social experiences. His doctoral thesis, which was presented in the autumn of 2013, dealt with the same issues.


Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2019