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Revelation Portraits

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Timo Viherkenttä's portrait revealed at The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Helsinki, Finland, 11 February 2019

Anne Koskinen’s Revelation portrait series

Anne Koskinen (b. 1969 Helsinki) is a multi-disciplinary artist with a keen interest in the unexplainable. Merging traditions of Nordic austerity with aesthetic excess, she employs luxury in small and meaningful ways, such as using real gold in her paintings to embolden light and shadow. Her Revelation portrait series is a nod toward traditions of artistic manifestos, as each piece moves through past, present, and future moments by containing emerging elements.

Revelations are best understood as moments of epiphany in which we gain radical and powerful understanding. They are imbued with a sense of the spiritual, even the magical, and often surprise us with their insight and wisdom. The Revelation portrait series utilizes subjects’ musings on futurity, and challenges viewers to reconsider portraits as representations fixed in time. Here, the familiar—and sometimes staid—trope of portraiture becomes a dynamic, living, and evolving work that promises to reveal that which is not immediately visible or knowable.

The subjects of these portraits are not subjects in any traditional sense. Instead, they are agents of will, depicted in a moment of contemplating approaching possibilities. The epiphany of the Revelation series is the secret text contained within the layers of each portrait— a particular thought or ideal notated at the time of the painting, that will eventually be revealed. In the spirit of a revelation, the paintings change over time, disclosing the hidden text to future viewers.


Dr. Elizabeth Whitney
City University of New York