Kemi Art Museum

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INFO ABOUT THE ONGOING EXHIBITION                        released 27/2/2019

Visual Artists of Kemi Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Their Hometown

at Kemi Art Museum from 2nd March through 12th May, 2019

Kemi Art Museum is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the 150-year history of the City of Kemi from the beginning of March onward. The exhibition provides a retrospective look at Kemi-affiliated artists and their works of art across three centuries and multiple decades. Among the exhibits and their makers, there are classic, better-known artists, as well as some works by Visual artists of Kemi with their more recently produced ones. Our museum has invited stakeholders of private collections or owners of a single item of art to take part, having painstakingly chosen ultimately pieces that have not earlier been on display to the general audience, apart from a few exceptions.

This exhibition has the same name as a piece by Kemi-resident visual artist and visual-art teacher, Ms. Taina Rönkkö, called Coherence and Cohesion (2018-19). The medium is liquid acrylic ink on intaglio paper. Contingency has played a major part in the genesis of the piece, with colours having spread uncontrollably at first. In spite of this seemingly random birthing process, each colour, form and the whole reflect the conscious choices of the artist.

The word coherence signifies unity, uniformity and a built-in logical rationality. In terms of physics, it means a situation or space where different waves of a single movement overlap and strengthen and fortify each other. American-Israeli sociologist Aaron Antonovsky developed a theory of emotional coherence, according to which the health of an individual is linked up with his or her resources and life-coping ability. Those endowed with a higher level of coherence will recuperate better from incurred tragedies and travails and cope with stress better than those with a lower level of coherence.

When it comes to a work of art, it may be said to be coherent, when it excludes all the irrelevant elements from its scope. Coherence is enhanced by integrity, proportionality and balance, as well as harmony between the constituent parts. Artists strive for a piece whose all constituent parts try to meet the demands of coherence. Moreover, coherence is expected of art exhibitions and exhibition entities. This is reflected in how the hanging of the works of art as well as the spatial area of works of art are managed in relation to available space. Artists, curators of exhibitions and art juries aim with their choices for an as coherent as possible whole; they try to put themselves in the shoes of a casual spectator and choose such works of art that support the balance and harmony of the whole of the exhibition.

What is meant by cohesion is mutual integrity. In physics, cohesion pulls matter together; it defies forces that are trying to break it up. In sociology, cohesion means the ties that bind a group of somehow collective, collegial or communal people. Artists born, raised or resident in Kemi amount to hundreds. Two collective groupings, Ryhmä Kemi (or Group Kemi) and Visual artists of Kemi (reg. assn) have merited even national attention as groupings of pictorial or visual artists. The latter have recently reorganised themselves; the current members partake actively in the activity of the association in bringing their art visibly to the fore in Kemi, as well as its vicinity. It may be said that Visual artists of Kemi are an artist collective of a high cohesion.

One wall at the museum is filled up with architectural and scenic views of landmark buildings and sceneries of the town by such wielders of the brush as Harry Porko, Olavi Korolainen, Henna Takkinen and Anna Alm. Can you identify, placewise, where they are?

Besides, Nummer Acht - Everything is going to be alright, a video installation by the Dutch artist Guido van Der Werve features in the exhibition apart from local talent. The now hotly topical work of art was shot on the ice of the Bay of the Gulf of Bothnia in the year 2007. This video installation is one of the most famous works of art of the artist, and it has been on display at celebrated museums and exhibitions the world over, for instance at the MOMA in New York City. Kemi Art Museum was honoured to join with the ranks of these institutions in acquiring the rights to put the piece on display for the duration of our exhibition.