Selection of artworks from the exhibition

Exhibition views

The Light and the Dark

Maija Helascuo

International exhibition in cooperation with the Finnish-German artspace Toolbox.

Opening: Wed 24 August 2022

Exhibition: 25 Aug-24 Sep 2022

Concert: Hannelore (Catherine Lorent and Tom Früchtl), Thu 25. 08. 2022, 7 pm


Jan Bejšovec , Tom Früchtl, Maija Helasvuo, Alexander Horn, Patrick Huber, Sampsa Indrén, Henrik Jacob, Minna Jatkola, Mika Karhu, Karen Koltermann, Jukka Korkeila, Catherine Lorent, Ute Lindner, Veronika Radulovic, Niina Räty, Ilkka Sariola, Juha Sääski, Veronika Witte, Andreas Wolf.

The exhibition The Light and the Dark presents contemporary art from Finland and Berlin from 24 August to 24 September 2022. Works of different genres such as painting, drawing, sculpture, fabric appliqués and cyanotypes will be on display.

The title of the exhibition has its starting point in an allusion to the different daylight conditions in Finland and Germany – in winter it is much darker in Finland, in summer it is the other way round. Are there also more extreme motifs in Finnish art due to these clearly more extreme light conditions? Is the gloominess of some Finnish art – at least in part – due to the long darkness in winter? Thematically, the title refers to the ambivalence in the works themselves: Many of the pieces in this friendship exhibition between two countries show a tendency towards inner opposition – light and dark; they juxtapose pop culture with serious grievances, they combine the banal with social criticism, abstraction with concretion, they evoke despair and hope.

The works show a broad range of different approaches: Subtle irony and a seemingly casual gesture characterise Henrik Jacob’s socially critical drawings as well as the works made with modeling clay. The ominous-looking dark charcoal drawings by the Finn Mika Karhu combine abstraction with bleakest – also German – history. The Maija Helasvuo’s wooden sculptures show very precise ambivalences. Ilkka Sariola’s drawings are ambiguous images of people who are victims of old white men abusing their power. The latter are also visible in the pictures from a different point of view. Veronika Radulovic’s glass potatoes are beautiful as sculptures; the very poetic work was created many years ago in Vietnam, where the artist lived for a long time. Juha Sääski’s paintings combine social grievances with pop-cultural pastiche to create subtly satirical portraits of our times. Ute Lindner shows frottages of various walls in Berlin, translating haptics into image. In Jan Bejšovec’s hand-embroidered picture, a body oscillates between visibility and abstraction. Jukka Korkeila shows sensitive works on paper that humorously address our view of the mystery of our bodies and sexuality. Alexander Horn’s two landscapes tell us of darkness. The fish portrait Head by the Finnish artist Niina Räty is a fish head on a constructivist-looking background. Patrick Huber’s pastel looks like a landscape from another planet. Tom Früchtl creates his hyper-realistic images by painting directly over surfaces of found objects. Veronika Witte’s sculpture Figur 1 looks like the model of a dark amorphous being that lives between evolution and fantasy. Andreas Wolf shows a large non-representational painting that oscillates between clarity and disorder. Karen Koltermann paints over inkjet prints of the interiors of scrapped ships, one of her recurring themes. Catherine Lorent’s baroque-anarchic neo-pop mixed-media works have a special intensity. With Tom Früchtl, she will give a concert of her project Hannelore on 25 August at 7 pm.

The exhibition takes place on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Finnish-German project space Toolbox in Berlin and is a return-exhibition to the Särkyvää | Zerbrechlich (‘fragile’ in Finnish and German) organised by Toolbox, currently on display in Riihimäki (FI), with works by Berlin and Finnish artists in an old glass factory.

Toolbox is an art space in the Soldiner Kiez in Berlin that has been presenting a diverse exhibition programme in Berlin since 2012, with a focus on contemporary Finnish art. Since 2017, Berlin artists have been participating in exhibitions organised by Toolbox in Finland. The project space is a member of Kolonie Wedding, an association of around 30 art project spaces in the Soldiner neighbourhood in Berlin-Wedding. On the last Friday of every month, the project spaces jointly open their doors to visitors.

Artwork: Maija Helasvuo
Roots on Your Paths (detail), 2013
Wood, 65 x 65 x 58 cm