8 Feb – 19 May 2019

Inspired by the imageries of popular culture, Hannaleena Heiska’s works often revolve around the potential of science and the mysteries of life and existence. This exhibition consists of paintings, drawings and film footage. The earliest works are from 2007, the most recent from 2018. This is the first exhibition of this scale of Heiska’s work in Finland.

Heiska’s practice is characterised by process and seriality. Her motifs and themes arise intuitively from the process and are often linked to the artist’s own life. A constant flow of images and information from Instagram, music videos, films and articles at her studio provides a starting point for her work. The demanding alla prima technique that Heiska uses – finishing a picture without allowing the paint to dry between layers – gives a softness and lightness to the canvases.

Heiska is fascinated by the mysteriousness, mythic elements and clichés of heavy metal. Masks, tattoos and romanticised death-related motifs are an essential aspect of the visuality of the music genre. With their blend of human and animal features, the creatures in Heiska’s works are literally Not of This World (2007–2009) as the title suggests, but the humanised animals are also associated with animal rights and ethics.

Heiska’s most recent works explore the mystery of life and death and the possibility of simultaneous universes. In the series All Those Moments Will Be Lost In Time, Like Tears In Rain (2012–2013) android Rachael from the movie Blade Runner lends its face to topical contemplation of existentiality, while the series Shadows and Stardust (2015–2017) with its images of observatories from around the world explores our existence from the perspective of the Earth. Heiska has chosen her medium quite deliberately: charcoal is made of carbon, a crucial element in the cycle of life that is present wherever there is life and organic compounds. The charcoal and pastel drawings in the Camouflage series (2018–2019) investigate anti-surveillance makeup and hairstyles. While enabling protective merging with the surroundings, such disguises also allow the creation of new or temporary identities.

Hannaleena Heiska (b. 1973, Oulu) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. She works with paintings, films and installations but in recent years, she has also added performance art to her repertoire. In 2011 she was one of the candidates for the Ars Fennica prize. In addition to Turku Art Museum, she has work in other major art collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Gothenburg Art Museum and the Saastamoinen Foundation Collection.

This exhibition is supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (TAIKE) and Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.


Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2020