Born in 1974 in Helsinki, painter Jani Hänninen started out as a graffiti-practicing street artist before going on to hone his technique at the prestigious Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Though his paintings are still quite clearly informed by street art today, alongside abstract expressionism, and still have the air of something created quickly and spontaneously on an urban street wall, they are now a much more considered effort – the final product of a long process of painting and re-painting until perfection. Hänninen, the 2010 winner of the William Thuring Grand Prize awarded to mid-career artists by the Finnish Art Society, appropriates themes from various inspirations – the street, television, music and newspapers – and combines them with his natural skill as a painter to create mesmerizing canvasses full color, form, life and chaos.
See Jani Hänninen’s work at Galerie Anhava, Sanomatalo, Mannerheiminaukio 3, Helsinki, Finland, +358 9 669 989
Born in 1952, Jarmo Mäkilä is a 1973 graduate of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and is widely considered one of the key trailblazers of Finnish contemporary visual arts. He received his first solo exhibition in 1970 at the Young Artists Exhibition in Helsinki’s Kunsthalle and has exhibited internationally at galleries in New York City, Los Angeles and Paris. His works are a meeting of fine art, Finnish mythology and personal experience with paintings and sculptures that conjure up a surreal world of rituals and memories in which boyhood innocence comes to end. His significance to Finnish contemporary art saw him awarded the Pro Finlandia medal in 2011, which recognizes esteemed artists and writers and is one of the country’s highest honors.
Suvi Aarnio, who lives and works in Turku, is a graduate of environmental art at the Turku University of Applied Science, and outside of her personal art creation she is active in the production and facilitation of socially oriented public art projects. Her artwork is invested in and inspired by folklore and traditional cultural activities, which she interprets and subverts freely. Displacing them from their original usage and meaning and combining them with her own visual aesthetic, Aarnio creates a series of installation and performance-based art where traditionally ‘feminine’ items become imbued with an alternative significance – for example, pop culture irons are embroidered on materials such as tea towels and patchwork blankets are decorated with and warped by nightmarish imagery.