Kuutti Lavonen Amanda and Lavinia
6 June – 7 September
Jyväskylä Art Museum's summer exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see Kuutti Lavonen's (b. 1960) complete artistic production, especially prints. Lavonen is one of Finland's most famous artists. The most recent works in the exhibition date from May 2014 and the oldest piece dates from 1977. Lavonen's large-scale silk screen series, printed in Atelier Arcay in Paris between 1998 and 2014, is now exhibited for the first time. A vast selection of lithography and intaglio, as well as paintings and drawings, is on display.
Kuutti Lavonen is renown for his masterful use of line and as a talented drawer. For Lavonen, printmaking is an extension of drawing. Although Lavonen is a trained printmaker, he chooses to print his work using professional printers, for example, in Atelier Idem and Atelier Arcay in Paris and Atelje Larsen in Helsingborg in Sweden. Particularly important is Helsinki Litho in Vallila, Helsinki. Lavonen was one of its founding members. In his opinion, he has learned printmaking from the printers themselves and is grateful for the profession.
Exhibition's title, Amanda and Lavinia, brings in focus Kuutti Lavonen's interest in the Mediterranean culture. Ancient mythology, Christian legends, Renaissance and Baroque have established a solid ground for his artistic work but, as art critic Hannu Castrén reminds, in Kuutti Lavonen one recognises the synthesis of a modern artist and European sophistication.
For the exhibition's retrospective part we wish to acknowledge The Didrichsen Art Museum, Parliament of Finland, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art Collection and The Saastamoinen Foundation Art Collection, Helsinki Art Museum, Hämeenlinna Art Museum, Jyväskylä Art Museum, Kuopio Art Museum, Mikkeli Cathedral Parish, The Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Rantakylä Congregation, Oulu Art Museum and Tuusula Art Museum’s Aune Laaksonen Foundation Art Collection, and many individuals who have contributed by lending art to the museum.
Kuutti Lavonen Drawing Years concentrates on the artist's vast print production from over three decades. The book showcases Lavonen's large-scale silk screens printed in Atelier Arcay in Paris between 1998 and 2014. The articles are written by the Art Museum's head curator Jukka Partanen and the artist and art critic Hannu Castrén. Partanen and Castrén have carried out interviews with Kuutti Lavonen and familiarised themselves with written references. In his article From the Garage to Urbino and via Paris to Vallila, Jukka Partanen tells how Lavonen became a printmaker and illustrates his methods as an artist who ”has never been interested in presses and printing blocks,” but rather “represents a more continental European tradition in which a professional printer prints the artist's work.” Hannu Castrén provides background for the artist's, famous for his line, work methods and thinking processes. In his article A Flexible and Stubborn Line, Castrén reminds that in Lavonen one can recognise the synthesis of a modern artist and European sophistication, an artist who is especially inspired by the intensity of Baroque, emphasising feeling, but whose interest in Pop art is visible throughout his career.