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Indepth Arts News:

"Mari Rantanen: Much of All at Once"
2007-04-14 until 2007-05-06
Kunsthalle Helsinki
Helsinki, , FI Finland

Mari Rantanen's (b. 1956) exhibition in the Kunsthalle in April is the most extensive review of Rantanen's work seen in Finland to date. The Kunsthalle will present Rantanen's paintings from the past fifteen years, with a special focus on new work created in the 2000s and currently on show for the first time in Finland. The exhibition promises visual fireworks from today's most prestigious Finnish colourist. Throughout last winter and spring, Mari Rantanen painted new works for the Kunsthalle show. The paintings are quite large and were made especially with a view to putting them on show in the Kunsthalle. Rantanen's works evince and evoke the artist's passion for architecture and man-made landscapes, but also for strong colours and visual cultures. The relationship between painting and architecture is important for Rantanen – the paintings are almost like installations the viewer can "enter into". Rantanen says that she paints her own states of emotion and experience – the works are pictures of how places, towns, buildings or situations feel like. "I want to make life visible, also that part of it which is invisible – to create places for emotions."

Among the works seen for the first time in the Kunsthalle is Unbearable Lightness of Being (2004), an eight-part series of paintings born of the experience of the light and immateriality of the Taj Mahal. The work attracted a great deal of attention and thrilled the Swedish press at the exhibition in Millesgården, Stockholm in 2005 – the Göteborg Museum of Art snapped up the work for its collections. The inspiration behind the Dream on dreamer (2003–2007) includes a map of the underground, urban living and dream places in a city.

Mari Rantanen (b. 1956) is one of the best-known Finnish artists internationally. In addition to the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, she also studied at the Pratt Institute in New York in the early 1980s. She was nominated the Young Finnish Artist of the Year in 1989. For the last 20 years Mari Rantanen has lived and worked in New York and Stockholm. In 1996–2006 she also worked as professor at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm. Mari Rantanen's paintings and prints have been exhibited extensively in Europe, the United States and Japan. Her works are found in all major collections in Finland and in Scandinavia and also in many public places, municipalities, parishes, and cultural institutions. The Finnish Government commissioned a mosaic for the Turku Provincial Prison in 2006, and her installation entitled Under resans gång has been exhibited on the underground stations in Stockholm (in Gärdet in 2006 and in Zinkensdamm up to 2008).

The exhibition is curated by the Director of the Kunsthalle Maija Koskinen together with the artist.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Like Publishing will publish a book presenting Mari Rantanen's work from her very first show up to today. Essays in the book are written by Marja-Terttu Kivirinta and Timo Valjakka. Mari Rantanen: Maalauksia - Paintings 1986–2007. Code of Colour, Place for Emotions – Värin koodi, tunteen paikka, hardcover, 120 pages, 4-colour, in Finnish and English, ISBN 978-952-471-956-8.

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