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Ninni Luhtasaari's art offers a brightly coloured alternative view of humanity at the Studio of Culture House Laikku

Published 30.9.2021 13.47

An exhibition of sculptures and textile art by Ninni Luhtasaari is on display in October at the Studio of Culture House Laikku. The works of Luhtasaari deal with themes concerning the animal in human, primitivity, self-image and self-acceptance through the use of ambiguous figures.

Keraaminen suihkulähde, jonka keskellä lepää selällään ihmistä muistuttava hahmo.

I need a large amount of packaging material for transporting my ceramic works. I recycle the same cushioning material from one gallery and museum to the other. It all has gradually piled up into a mess of bubble wrap, fabrics, kraft paper, newspapers, pieces of blanket and foam. The list used to include packing noodle as well. If I lined the sculpted fountains with the noodles while they were still too wet, the noodles used to cave in on themselves. They looked a little like what melted cheese puffs feel in your mouth.

At the Tampere Art Museum my cushioning materials were packed inside a garbage bag. When I arrived to dismantle my part of the exhibition, the bag was waiting for me in a corner. On it the words “Luhtasaari, love materials" were written (note: this is an untranslatable Finnish play on words with the similar sounding ‘pakkaus’ [package] and ‘rakkaus’ [love]).

As I was working on this exhibition I was also preparing for childbirth and a hasty low key -wedding. Especially as the moment of birth was approaching my feelings swung wildly between extremes. I was both terrified and filled with happiness. I have gathered up the love materials I use for cushioning for this exhibition.

The world view of these works of art is based on primitivity bursting out into the open. I stab at the thin and made-up line drawn between the human and the animal by stripping my expression of any obvious and underlining elements. I’m working on finding out just how deep in the subconscious I can dive with my imagery while still maintaining its gentle and accessible approach.

Dripping fluids is a sign of weakness and therefore frightening. By visualizing the trickling of bodily fluids I take a stand on whose body is allowed to be vulnerable and free from the oppression of the society. The pink colour I use is at the same time both innocent and gross. Comfort is found by the means of art, accidentally and unknowingly. The love for life spreads from one unconsciousness to the other, the same way as mycelium spreads in the forest. This is the undergrowth I’m nurturing.

Ninni Luhtasaari (1987-) manufactures non-abstract ceramic fountains and hand-woven textile art. The Tampere-based artist and musician has held numerous guest, private and group exhibitions throughout Finland. Her work has also been displayed in Berlin and Munich. Kiasma, HAM, Tampere Art Museum and numerous private collectors house the works of Luhtasaari. She’s currently working on a ceramic relief installation for a public school building at the Lamminrahka residential district.

The exhibition has received support from Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

Further information

Karoliina Paappa Tel. 044 481 1775

Text Ninni Luhtasaari, Mika Vaaranmaa. Translation: Mika Vaaranmaa

Photos Ninni Luhtasaari