Bye bye Exhibition Laboratory – the gallery’s last spring season examines the current state of printmaking and introduces new projects by master’s students

The galleries of the Academy of Fine Arts host an exciting selection of exhibitions in the spring season. The exhibitions include an examination of the current state of printmaking, projects produced by the master’s students of the Academy, and of course, the exhibition that closes the entire spring season, Kuvan Kevät.

This year, Kuvan Kevät will also see the end of an era as we say goodbye to our gallery space in Merikortteli after six eventful years. In the future, exhibitions will be organised at the new facilities of the University of the Arts Helsinki in Sörnäisten Rantatie, where the teaching of the Academy of Fine Arts also takes place. However, the Project Room will continue its exhibition activities as part of the cluster of art galleries in Kamppi.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to impose a limit to the number of exhibition guests. As we all know, the situation may change on a short notice, so all guests are advised to check the current information regarding the exhibitions on our website, which also includes information about how to enjoy the exhibitions safely.

The final spring season of Exhibition Laboratory: a multitude of materials and methods

What is going on in the field of printmaking at the moment? The first exhibition of the spring season, Taidegrafiikan tapa olla – materiality, collaboration and agency, investigates the essence of printmaking and themes that are perceived as novel, current and fundamental to the entire field. The exhibition runs from 15 January to 7 February, and the 40 participating artists are students and alumni of printmaking. The themes of the exhibition are discussed in more detail in an open symposium, which will be organised on 6 February.

Current themes in contemporary printmaking, a material-driven approach, and collaborative working methods are evident in Devotions upon emergent Occasions, an installation that is based on a book of the same name. The book, which is an investigation of illness and human suffering, was written by poet and clergyman John Donne in 1624. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Donne has re-emerged as a topical figure, whose texts have been used to describe the current situation. The artists collaborating on the installation have reacted to Donne’s journal-like text with pictures, an artists’ book, and an audio work.

Another collaborative work presented in the exhibition, Freedom of the Press, harks back to last spring and to an exhibition that was cancelled on a short notice due to the coronavirus restrictions. In addition, the exhibition makes use of the methods of printmaking in the production of “slow selfies”, and the themes explored in the exhibition are expressed in various ways in the works of individual artists.

In February and March, the Exhibition Laboratory will host two exhibitions, which introduce the viewers to works produced independently by master’s students. The first exhibition opens in February, and it includes art produced by Miia Autio, Einari Hyvönen, Mikko Paakkonen, Jenni Rahkonen, and Anne Roininen. The exhibited works are material-driven, and regardless of whether the work is a painting, a photograph, or a print, the methods used in their production are highly innovative.

The next exhibition opens on 19 March. This exhibition includes works produced by master’s students, and they investigate the renewing character of painting in many ways. We are shown, for example, how a contemporary painting spreads from the canvas and out of the frame to form objects in the gallery space, and how materials of various kinds make their way into the works. The artists participating in the exhibition are Henna Aho, Tuomas Holst, Verna Joki, Maaria Jokimies, and Sakari Vinko.

The last exhibition to be organised at the gallery space in Merikortteli is the highlight of the spring season, Kuvan Kevät, which takes over the galleries of the Academy from 5 May to 30 May. In addition to the Exhibition Laboratory, Project Room, and an extra gallery space reserved for the purposes of the exhibition, the works produced by 46 graduating students can also be spotted in some rather surprising public spaces, up on the rooftop, online, and elsewhere.

Folding prints, transience, and spring light in the Project Room

In addition to Kuvan Kevät, the thesis projects of the graduating master’s students will be presented in the Project Room in Lönnrotinkatu. Each exhibition slot is shared by two or three students, who produce their works independently. A fascinating and varied selection of art is guaranteed! The exhibitions provide fresh new perspectives on more traditional methods of making art.

The spring season opens with Sari Majander’s folding prints and Lauri Tiainen’s oil paintings. When February turns to March, and the days have already grown a little longer, we will examine printmaker Aura Kotkavirta’s works, which investigate otherness, transience, and eternity, as well as works by Emilia Tanner, whose works focus on light. Other artists whose works we will have the opportunity of seeing this spring include Anita Matveinen and Kerttu Saali, and Timo Aho, Sampsa Pirtola and Nora Sederlöf. 

Please make sure that you are healthy when you visit the exhibitions!

Spring is full of wonderful events, and we hope that you could enjoy them all without having to worry. We pay close attention to how the COVID-19 pandemic develops and work according to the government regulations. This means that we will not organise opening events for the exhibitions, and the number of guests attending the exhibitions will also be limited. Please check the most recent information concerning the restrictions and read more about how to visit the exhibitions in a safe and responsible way on our website.

Welcome to the exhibitions!

Exhibition Laboratory
Merimiehenkatu 36, 00150 Helsinki

Project Room
Lönnrotinkatu 35, 00180 Helsinki

Please consult the exhibition website for the opening hours. The exhibition programme is subject to change.

You can learn more about the accessibility of the gallery spaces on our website.