Subconscious Documentation
Finnish visual artists: A look at the new exhibition at the Trygve Lie Gallery, Norwegian Church in New York City.
A large crowd had gathered for the opening of “Subconscious Documentation,” an exciting look at what Finnish visual artists are up to today. The exhibition, which was co-curated by Tarja Silverman and Elfi von Kantzow Alvin, features paintings and collages by artist Mikko Kallio and photographs by Jaakko Heikkilä.
“For over 30 years, the American Scandinavian Society has tried to promote Scandinavian arts,” said von Kantzow Alvin. “And it is always a joy to find new interesting minds. And these are artists I really believe in—you will for sure hear from them in the future. Both are extraordinarily good.”
Kallio, born in Espoo, Finland, currently lives in New York City. He mentions the Indian artist Nek Chad Saini (famous for the building the Rock Garden of Chandigarh) and the architect Le Corbusier as role models. In his collages, Kallio combines three-dimensional materials, and there’s a golden glow over most of them, with creatures reminiscent of Mardi Gras or perhaps even more so, the Mexican Day of the Dead art. What might these figures represent? Something forgotten in us? Eerily they move across Kallio’s canvases, with their tribal faces.
Meanwhile, Jaakko Heikkilä’s photographs are soft breezes from Venice. But you and I wouldn’t know that. Heikkilä captures neither gondolas nor the Basilica di San Marco, nor any other famous landmarks. If they can be glanced at, it can be only through what is the very essence of Venice: the water. Venice has of course long held a position as inspiration for artists: Both Sergei Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky wanted to, and were eventually, buried here. What drew Heikkilä to the place?
“The luxury of it! I’ve done a lot of documentary work, and I’ve done it everywhere: Armenia, Serbia.… But this is what I do when I’m alone, without any other people. I walk around Venice with a glass of wine, you know, and I capture what I see as the evening sun hits the water.”
Perhaps these photographs are even more Venice than the postcard images we have of city. This is our dream of Venice, floating like silk, soft and elusive.
Elfi von Kantzow Alvin and Tarja Silverman always keep a keen eye on the best of the best when it comes to Scandinavian art, and this show certainly is no exception. It is on view through March 15.

For more information, see:|Trygve Lie Gallery]
Mikko Kallio
Photographer Jaakko Heikkilä