Susanna Iivanainen

31.1.2024 - 25.2.2024

Poetics of Abandoned

Welcome to the opening of the exhibition on Tuesday 30.1. from 5 to 7 p.m.

In my latest paintings, there are abandoned spaces that nature has slowly reclaimed. Rooms overrun by vegetation or water are, on the one hand, mystical and strangely poetic places, but they also contain a sense of threat. The world’s political situation and the changes brought about by climate change will cause more and more migration and many will have to leave their homes to go to areas with more opportunities to continue living. In my paintings, I imagine the world that is left behind. The people are gone, but there are still traces of life in the rooms and nature decorates them in a new way over time.

On the other hand, spaces taken over by nature also depict the inexorable passage of time. Time passes and consumes both people and matter. Time shapes and changes everything, us people and our environment. One day we will all be trees and bushes again. This thought may seem dark, but the cycle of nature also includes the idea of hope and the continuity of life.

We are part of nature and nature is part of us. This connection is also essential in my paintings dealing with water. I have dealt with the subject of water in my works since the beginning of the 21st century, but the approach to the subject and the technique have also varied. In recent years, I have mostly worked with ink and acrylic-based inks, painting on canvas. Ink and salt seem like natural tools to describe the moving and flowing essence of water. In my works, the underwater environment is not so much a concrete place of action, but rather a state of mind. In my works, water is above all an element of feeling. When talking or describing emotional states, for example in conversations or fiction, expressions related to water are often used. We talk about drowning, drifting, floating, flowing and so on. The flow and depths of the water reflect the levels of the mind.

Susanna Iivanainen is a visual artist living and working in Helsinki. She mostly paints subjects related to people and nature on canvas with acrylic-based inks. Iivanainen has had several solo exhibitions, for example in Galleria Katariina and Pirkko-Liisa Topelius gallery in Helsinki and in galleries in different cities. In group and joint exhibitions, Iivanainen’s work has been exhibited, for example, in the Porvoo Art Hall and the Wäinö Aaltonen Art Museum. The exhibition in Galleria Aarni her first exhibition in Espoo.

Artwork above belongs to the series called Poetics of Abandoned (ink on canvas, 2023, 80 cm x 80 cm)

Susanna Iivanainen, Teos sarjasta Poetics of Abandoned, muste- ja tussimaalaus kankaalle, 2023, 60 cm x 80 cm. Hylätty kaunis suuri-ikkunainen huone, joka on luonnon valtaama. Lehtiä ja kasvustoa tulvii sisään huoneeseen huonekalujen ylle.
Susanna Iivanainen, painting from series called Poetics of Abandoned, ink on canvas, 2023, 80 cm x 60 cm
Susanna Iivanaisen teos sarjasta: Poetics of Abandoned, muste- ja tussimaalaus kankaalle. Hylätty uima-allas, heinittynyt piha.
Susanna Iivanainen, painting from series called Poetics of Abandoned, ink on canvas, 2023, 80 cm x 60 cm

Gallery Aarni (Sello Shopping Centre, 3rd floor, Leppävaarankatu 3–9, 02600 Espoo)

Tue–Fri 11–19, Sat–Sun 12–16, Mon closed

Free entry!