19 February 21 August 2005
Academician Outi Heiskanen is one of the most important and internationally famous artists in Finland. Apart from her graphic work, Heiskanen is also known for her versatility as a performer, set designer and creative powerhouse of all manner of spontaneous happenings and performances. She is also a member of several independent artists' groups, the Record Singers, the Bellini Academy, and most recently, the Bellini Academy Rehearsal Room.
Outi Heiskanen has received numerous awards and prizes, including the State Award for Visual Art in 1976, the Pro Finlandia Medal in 1996, the Prince Eugen Medal in 1997, honorary doctorate in philosophy at the University of Helsinki in 1996, the Finland Award in 1998, and appointed an Academician in 2004. Outi Heiskanen graduated from the Institute of Applied Arts in 1959 as an art teacher, and taught from 195974. She furthered her studies in the Institute for Applied Arts from 196570 and at the School of the Fine Arts Academy of Finland from 196669, where she studied printmaking under Pentti Kaskipuro. She was herself professor of printmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts from 199295, and its rector from 199495.
Outi Heiskanen's art is essentially figurative. She started out by depicting her family and friends, but gradually her work also came to include animals, as well as animal-human hybrids. A prominent theme in her work is everyday life, often depicted from the perspective of a woman and mother. But people and events from her own private sphere transcend the merely personal and acquire a more universal aspect in Heiskanen's work, even though she avoids the imagery of mainstream Western iconographic tradition in her work. Although she has travelled extensively in Asia and has a special affinity for Tibet, India and Mongolia, she has chosen not to use the archetypal tradition of the religions of these Eastern countries in her art. Instead, she burrows her way deeper into the origins of humanity, to a universal primal intensity that allows her a great deal of latitude in her work. Outi Heiskanen's prints may be physically small, but their themes are big. The bigness assumes monumental dimensions when the works are combined into extensive thematic wholes.
Outi Heiskanen's primary printmaking technique is etching, which she uses to draw the motif. She then augments the etching by aquatint or drypoint where necessary. Heiskanen does not sketch her work. Drawing directly on the plate is her way of apprehending the world and of rendering secret, subconscious thoughts into images. Outi Heiskanen can with good reason be called a pioneer in graphic arts. She often takes impressions of several plates on one sheet, thus creating new works from existing ingredients. Her own term for these prints is kompiisi companion pieces.
33 551 visitors attended the exhibition.