Osmo Rauhala - philosopher, scientist, social critic and one of the best-known Finnish contemporary artists - presents a new solo exhibition at the Elga Wimmer PCC Gallery in New York.
System Complexity consists of three video installations in the main exhibition space, as well as paintings in the office area. The opening reception drew a bustling crowd and was followed by a cocktail party hosted by the Consul General of Finland, Osmo Lipponen, and his wife in honor of the Finnish artist.
Rauhala is a pioneer of internationally acclaimed Finnish visual arts. In 1992, he was nominated as Young Artist of the Year in Finland, followed by a phenomenal exhibition at the Tampere Art Museum. Since then, his work has been on display in museums, art galleries and private collections around the world. Today, Rauhala divides his time between New York and Finland. The self-proclaimed "urban nomad" prefers to counterbalance the hustle-bustle of the city by spending time on his family farm in Siuro. "During the summer months in Finland, I engage in organic farming. The contrast between the open, rolling fields of Siuro and Manhattan's erect linear city grid influences my work profoundly," says Rauhala.
Besides being a painter and a video artist, Rauhala is also a great friend of nature. The three installations on display at the gallery - System Complexity, Against the Wind and Book of Life - all relay natural elements and forces with traces of the human environment. His motifs range from a flock of birds to a strand of DNA. "I have wanted to break down the linear order in film or tape, to create a chaos, which after awhile becomes a new form of order, beauty," explains the artist.
The effect is startling and lyrical; the experience meditative. The tension between nature and the projection apparatus creates a multidimensional atmosphere for hovering human spectators. It almost seems as if the gallery itself is being whisked away to the pristine forests of Finland. Indeed, most of Rauhala's work reflects Finnish mythology, wildlife, landscape and light. Growing up in a small Northern village, the artist was surrounded by trees and fields from a young age. Bedtime stories told by his mother were a major creative influence. The little boy treasured her imaginative tales of forest animals and secret nooks that transported him to worlds far from the mundane. Now those worlds are for all the world to see at the Elga Wimmer PCC Gallery until June 18.
Photos: Petri Krook