Saariaho Järvenpää’s first show, California, interprets and looks at California Light and Space at a time when California has become the particle collider and gravitation point of technological, societal and cultural development.
The pieces by Finnish top designers mix art, light and technology in intelligent and fascinating, ever-changing applications. The show prompts the viewer to change per- spective and see how things are rather than how they were.
Curator Jari Saariaho sees the art gallery as a brilliant medium to manifest and cele- brate the enormous cultural change that is currently taking place. It is the most signif- icant change since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. ‘Everything changes. And deserves to change. A similar upheaval took place during the Industrial Revolution. It is art’s purpose to create meanings, show and encapsulate the essential in our time. It is also our gallery’s purpose.’
Sebastian Jansson’s ‘Solveig’ is the eternal light of the Sun in a desert. It is also a tribute to Sebastian’s recently deceased grandmother whose brilliance has been an influence to Sebastian.
Mikko Paakkanen paints light into a dark world with photons in his video piece ‘Liquid Luminance’.
Mari Isopihkala’s ‘Big Sur’ is a study in blue, blue light and its blue shadows. The values reflect in never-ending variaties inside a cube while shadows circle and play in the light of the day.
Iina Vuorivirta’s ‘Optimism/Void’ frames light and shadow. There is no light without shadow.
Järvenpää Saariaho’s ‘...so LA’ is a frozen beam of light that shows the illuminance of Los Angeles in real time. There is no more time, no place, there is only now.
California Light and Space artists wanted us to re-examine how we perceive the world – what is real and what is illusion. Although beauty and the worship of the perfect surface dominate today while the art movement itself plays a minor role its legacy is everything but insignificant. California Light and Space lives strongly in the design and architec- ture of the Californian giants, Steve Jobs and Frank Gehry. They are the offspring of the movement.
The popularity of Minimalism continued to grow at the end of the 1960s. As it reached the Pacific a group of artists based in Los Angeles added a unique Californian twist – the interaction of light and space. A work of art became momentary. Perception became more important than the art object itself. The viewer is part of the piece; the relationship is interactive as the view activates the work.
The artists used both natural light directed at and artificial light included in the objects and architecture. At the same time artists turned to new, see-through, translu- cent and reflective materials such as polyester resin, acrylic glass, fibreglass, laminated glass and different types of plastic. New possibilities for experiencing light and oth- er sight-related perceptions were created by the reflection, filtering and refraction of light. They enabled the capture of the infinite glittering of the oceans and sky tarnished by smog. Swimming pools, surfboards and the shining surface of a car were depicted in art.
The properties of works of art are not simply theirs. What you do affects what you see. What you see affects what you do. Colours, shapes and surfaces change according to the viewer’s position in time and space and continually create new variants. Frank Stella’s phrase ‘What you see is what you see’ turned upside down in Los Angeles at the turn of the 70s. California Light and Space added a question mark.
Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of the American Vogue, has paraphrased Friedrich Nietzsche: ‘The perfect surface is the most difficult.’ California Light and Space per- fected this in the interaction between space, light and the viewer.
Beacon exhibition at the Finnish institute presents a group of the most interesting Finnish designers at the moment; Mikko Laakkonen, Timo Ripatti, MottoWasabi and Sebastian Jansson. The exhibition items include furniture, lighting objects and interior objects, both in production, novelties and prototypes.
Solo exhibition at Design Forum Finland Showroom and at Habitare Ahead.