Galleri Bo Bjerggaard: Trial and Error

The artist Tommi Toija’s small sculptures of strange, annoying, little men stand out at the exhibition of a broad variety of Finnish contemporary painters, which all try to express deeper human emotions

Tommi Toija: Boy and the Tree, 2008
Tommi Toija: Boy and the Tree, 2008

One of them is pulling his tongue out to mock me, another is standing in a little lake of urine, another is hiding his face scared in his hands and a fourth is just starring out in front of him with his big sad eyes. They are all unique yet similar, the small and awkward sculptures of the Finnish artist Tommi Toija.

All the sculptures are about 32 cm high, the painting on all of them is uneven and imperfect, they have big heads, big black round eyes, short legs and long arms and resemble a kid, but you see that the figure’s emotions and anarchistic attitude is not just kid like, but wise, mean and disappointed like someone older and experienced. Maybe, someone like your self.

Opposed to the grand sculpture

The artist Toija’s sculptures interact with their audience by making it reflect and make up their own stories about the little figures. And furthermore they make the spectator laugh by watching her own very human and often stupid behavior reflected. The sculptures remind the spectator of the little, idiotic, not very fancy and immature person there also is inside of her – hidden behind all the dreams, expectations and modern pressure of having the perfect, well designed life.

In that sense, these sculptures are like a free breath of air, and give the audience other alternative pictures of human behavior and emotions than what the commercials, movies and magazines show. Allows us to be imperfect right here in the wonderful gallery space in the correct art area of Copenhagen.

Toija made his first sculpture in 2003. It was called “Pikkupelkuri”, “Little Coward” and was a comment to the grandiose sculpture art, and that became the beginning of a series of stupid miniature painted clay figures.

Something threatening

The painter Anna Tuori’s brown, grey, black and pink scaled oils of undefined landscapes and faceless women show a certain girlishness, but at the same time it seems to be the artist aim to look for something disturbing underneath. Something many great artists have explored in subtler and more interesting ways.

Anna Tuori: Not about Starlings, 2010
Anna Tuori: Not about Starlings, 2010.

Unfortunately, Tuoris paintings resemble the design in which she is inspired too much, and there is not really any dangerous ambiguity in them in any way. But they are quite beautiful.

New Bad-painting

The exhibition at Galleri Bo Bjergaard, which remarkably and liberating is presenting under the theme and title “Trial & Error”, shows another strategy in Finnish contemporary painting in the work of Janne Räisänen. He is inspired by the Bad painting tradition such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel, just as these artists, he juxtaposes high and pop culture, good and bad taste.

Janne Räisänen: Your Sex Life Complications Are Not My Fascinations, 2009
Janne Räisänen: Your Sex Life Complications Are Not My Fascinations, 2009

But the paintings are unfortunately not really that strong, and there is never actually anything at stake in them. The best are their titles, because they are simply funny and surprising: Your Sex Life Complications Are Not My Fascination e.g.

Photographic sceneries

The last exhibitor at Bo Bjerggaard’s is Maiju Salmenkivi. Her playful paintings show dreamlike sceneries from every day situations such as an Autocarneval, A Hochey game, or a Saturday Dance in the suburbs, or even far away from the suburbs on the countryside.

Maiju Salmenkivi: Autocarneval, 2009-2010. All Photos Courtesy of Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
Maiju Salmenkivi: Autocarneval, 2009-2010. All Photos Courtesy of Galleri Bo Bjerggaard

Some of the sceneries resemble photographic situations, trying to capture an event, trying to capture time, and the artist‘s interest in experimenting with colors, techniques and compositions are fascinating in a delicate way, which draws you gently to the pictures.