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Galerie Anhava, Helsinki, Finland, 7 – 31 August 2014

Anne Koskinen (born 1969) continues her works of sculpting ”back yard” stones. Her starting point is the Southwest Finnish landscape, with boulders transported by the ice sheet of the last glaciation, Bronze Age cairns and geological shore formations of stones – the artist’s everyday environment. It is here that she looks for her materials, aiming at the sources of image-making by using natural stone instead of man-made materials.

In the works of this exhibition, Koskinen is particularly drawn to a question that is both an everyday consideration and an endless source of wonderment for an artist making images by hand. How does material become an image? What is the connection between an abstract, invisible concept and a visible, concrete and sensory image? Koskinen proceeds from the basic process of making images. She looks for differences between the image and the not-yet-an-image, seeking the point where the factual becomes a picture and helps it gain form.

Koskinen makes her works herself, from start to finish, for she wants to bear witness to each stage of creating the picture and to influence it. Pristine natural stone contains the still-possible, the uncertain and the not-yet-finished. The works of sculpture are made through negation. In order to reinforce the beginnings of an image in natural stone, the artist removes stone, which on the other hand is the sine qua non of the whole sculpture. What remains untouched alludes to what lies beyond making an image. Just as there are no areas in a drawing that do not have meaning even if they are “empty”, there are no parts in these works that lack meaning.

Solo, the title of the exhibition, refers to loneliness: doing things alone, solitude, being rejected.

The Findling pieces

The German word Findling means both a foundling child and a boulder transported glacially during the last Ice Age. The main narrative theme of these sculptures of natural stone depicting children is the experience of being abandoned. On the one hand, the works can be seen as monuments to children unaware of their roots, while on the other hand they are reminder of a practice that continues even at present – of abandoning unwanted children, often girls, leaving them to be found, or to die. The pieces were named after their day of completion, just as it is customary to give foundlings names according to the day when they were found.

Dictators and girls with pigtails

Works of dictators and girls with pigtails represent opposite aspects of the same thing. The dictators wear their recognizable peaked caps: Hitler, Stalin, Chaplin. The figure itself is almost without features, but crude and hard. He has lusted for power to make decisions on his own, and he has received it, but who could be lonelier than a dictator? The pigtails of the girl were cut so violently that it was not done by the girl herself. In a dictatorship, people without power can be forced to behave, dress and even comb their hair in the same manner. Nonetheless, everyone is an individual – a person – when they are alone.

Anne Koskinen recently won the art competition for the VTT Centre for Nuclear Safety with her sculpture installation The Nuclear Physicist’s Apple and she has been invited to participate in the exhibition Nach der Natur, Strategien der Natur in der Zeitgenössischen Bildhauerei (After Nature, Strategies of Nature in Contemporary Sculpture), which will open in September at Gerhard-Marcks-Haus in Bremen. The other artists of the exhibition include Louise Bourgeois, Berlinde de Bruyckere and Ernesto Neto.

Further information: Galerie Anhava

Thanks to: National Council for Visual Arts, Alfred Kordelin Foundation

Collections: Saastamoinen Foundation Art Collection, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland, Wihuri Foundation, Rovaniemi Art Museum, Rovaniemi, Finland, Kuopio Art Museum, Kuopio, Finland, Finnish Art Society, Helsinki, Finland, Turku Art Museum, Lars Göran Johnsson’s donation, Turku, Finland, private collections