Jussi Heikkilä & Simo Heikkilä Räppänä – Vent
June 3 - September 18
Alvar Aalto Museum, Alvar Aallon katu 7, Jyväskylä
Jyväskylä Art Museum, Kauppakatu 23, Jyväskylä
Alvar Aalto Museum and Jyväskylä Art Museum celebrate their joint history this summer with “RÄPPÄNÄ – VENT” exhibition. This 50th anniversary show will span both museums with the work of two Jyväskylä brothers: visual artist Jussi Heikkilä and interior architect Simo Heikkilä. The exhibition spread across the two museums consists of furniture, lamps, photographs, artworks, installations, videos and interviews, with retrospective material and new works by both Heikkiläs. Jussi Heikkilä and Simo Heikkilä each represents Finland’s front rank in his own field. The connection between these artists creates a fascinating link between visual art and design.
Jussi Heikkilä (born 1952) is a revisionist of Finnish conceptual art. Through his projects he considers the Earth’s condition of ecological balance, for which birds and the sea function as indicators. Heikkilä’s approach is scientific, consciously ethical, and aesthetic. Through landscapes, observation and unique perceptions, Heikkilä presents a prismatic display of techniques and materials from diverse mark making to found objects and even diamonds. Heikkilä’s art provokes insight in its quiet exuberance.
Simo Heikkilä (born 1943) has pursued an exceptional career as a designer. Apart from designing for the furniture industry, he has also focused on creating unique prototypes in order to test the solidity of structure and to experiment with the possibilities of various materials. Heikkilä is a wood advocate, and is interested in both the aesthetic of solid wood and the ultra-light possibilities of form-pressed constructions.
“Staging an exhibition that combines conceptual art with design is not necessarily all that easy a task. On the other hand, its creators have many things in common – an observant approach to nature, plays on words and metaphors, and a respectful attitude to handicraft and its makers. In an aesthetic sense they also share a certain lightness and airiness of structure,” says exhibition curator Teija Isohauta.
Exhibition is organized by Jyväskylä Art Museum and Alvar Aalto Museum
Exhibition has been supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland and the Asko Foundation.
The exhibition is divided in three narrative concepts: Language and reading, Landscape and Observations. Language and reading concentrates on the topics of Jussi Heikkilä’s interest on books and how to exhibit his studies in artistic way. He has done several libraries – "Mt Everest library" has a shape of the mountain and covers the books about the culture history on Mt Everest. "Nordic light" has a book by Olaus Magnus from 1645 who was one of the first historian and cartography who enlightened the life of Nordic people.
In Simo Heikkilä’s design context this narrative is a story of selves and containers in various needs. It covers also the chair tailored for a very known Finnish novelist (Harri Tapper 1929–2012) and lamps designed for reading. Small letters compares to Simo Heikkilä’s small-scale objects like wooden bowls and radios.
Landscape is related to a summerhouse by the lake Paijänne, the Heikkilä brothers are sharing. The lake and the topography of the place have been acting a catalyst for many art works and designs by both of them including the general attitude toward ecology. Different interpretations of Jussi Heikkilä’s sauna path works are good example approaching the topic. Sauna path in Finland is spiritually similar kind of idea than the road in Zen Buddhism – but in a more concrete level – it is the way to purity. The other way of thinking landscape is represented on the works made out of constellations with bird names.
Simo Heikkilä on the other has used the waterfront rock as a mould to some of his seats. The idea of laying on the surface of the warm rock is very much related to a body and a body is giving a shape to his talks of chaise longue. Sauna is in case ideally sited always by the waterfront. It is separate temple for relaxing and meditation and because of that it needs to follow the certain kind of asceticism also in forms and that is, where Simo Heikkilä is good in.
Observations has been a name for quite many Jussi Heikkilä’s exhibitions as his main attitude as an artist is observer. Simo Heikkilä is more an experiment maker by his character but before experimenting one needs observations: How to sit, who is sitting, how the seat is constructed to be reliable, what is the role of material – what means ergonomic. In this section Simo Heikkilä, who is a known specialist on chair experiments is showing his vision from the early seats to mass production pieces. In abstract level the row of chairs are acting as a seat to observe the birds.
The birds by their look and by their role as bio indicators in our globe are the area of interest by Jussi Heikkilä. He says that what ever he looks he always seems to seek a form of bird. Mainly his attitude is like a researcher who is struggling for animals against human’s nature of destroying the globe but who also sees the humour in his own acts.
- Teija Isohauta, curator
Events (language: Finnish)
Artist talk at the Jyväskylä Art Museum, address: Kauppakatu 23, on Friday June 10th, at 4:30–5:30pm. Free Entrance.
Curator talk at the Alvar Aalto Museum, address: Alvar Aallon katu 7, on Friday September 2nd, at 4:30–5:30pm. Free Entrance.
Curator talk at the Jyväskylä Art Museum, address: Kauppakatu 23, on Friday September 16th, at 4:30–5:30pm. Free Entrance.
Concert at Jyväskylä Art Museum on Sunday, September 18, at 14–15 pm. Performing Heikki Ruokangas Duo. Free Entrance.
Adresses, Opening hours and Fees:
Alvar Aalto Museum Gallery
Alvar Aallon katu 7, Jyväskylä, Finland
Open in June-August Open Tue–Fri 10 am–6 pm, Sat–Sun 11 am–6 pm
Open in Septemper Tue–Sun 11 am–6 pm
Jyväskylä Art Museum
Kauppakatu 23, Jyväskylä, Finland
Open Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm
6 € per museum, but by showing the entrance fee receipt from either one of the two museums, you’ll get into the other one for two euros. Free entrance for children under 18 years. Free entrance on Fridays at Jyväskylä Art Museum and in September at Alvar Aalto Museum.