artist / participant



press release

Established in 2018, Kiasma Commission by Kordelin is a new Finnish concept for promoting and producing contemporary art. The second artist in the series is Alma Heikkilä. Her new work will be presented in Kiasma in March 2019.

“Alma Heikkilä uses painting to address topical issues. Her subtle pictures charm us initially with their aesthetic elegance and masterful technique, their subject matter opening up perspectives on issues that touch us all. Following that initial impact, however, they begin to speak about environmental concerns and the necessity of coexistence of human and nonhuman nature. In her works and in the texts she publishes in conjunction with them, Heikkilä examines critically the economic logic of continuous growth and the consequences for biological diversity of the exploitation of natural resources”, Kiasma director Leevi Haapala says about the grounds for choosing Heikkilä.

Alma Heikkilä works primarily with subjects that lie beyond human sensory perception, such as microscopic organisms like bacteria, fungi, as well as the biosphere and climate change. In addition to painting, Heikkilä’s medium include photography, video and installation. In her large-format paintings and multi-material installations, Heikkilä seeks to find means to go beyond the obvious culturally evolved anthropocentric comprehension.

Fascinated by the non-human life and symbiotic co-existence of human with other species, her practice focuses on looking for ways to experience the other life forms. She aspires to understand microorganisms and phenomena that can also have a symbiotic or interdependent relationship with her own body, such as gut bacteria. Her artistic practice is one way to approach multispecies world.

Working in an age of environmental crises, climate change and mass extinction, Heikkilä reaches out new and alternative ways to work, think and act. Critical examination of artistic practice and its potentials, structures and methods are an integral part of her practice. She recognises and acknowledges the influence of her work on ecosystems.

For the show at Kiasma Heikkilä will create a painting installation to be exhibited in Studio K. The commissioned work will continue the topics and themes she has been working on in recent years. The works exhibited are depictions of the various processes of the multispecies companionship. The project is curated by Satu Oksanen.

Alma Heikkilä (b. 1984) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2009. Solo exhibitions include Casco Art Institute (Utrecht, Netherlands, 2018), Gallery Ama (Helsinki, Finland, 2017 and 2013) and EMMA (Espoo, Finland, 2015). She has participated in group exhibitions at Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm, Sweden, 2018), Norrköpings Konstmuseum (Sweden, 2018) and Gwangju Biennale (South Korea, 2016). Alma Heikkilä’s work was last on show at Kiasma as part of the collection exhibition in 2014. Her work is held in numerous public as well as private collections in Finland.

In 2014 she was awarded the Ducat Prize of the Finnish Art Society. Heikkilä is a founding member of the multidisciplinary Mustarinda collective—a group of artists and researchers whose goal is to promote the ecological rebuilding of society, the diversity of culture and nature, and the connection between art and science.

Kiasma Commission by Kordelin Centring on the production of one project every year, the concept aims to provide international exposure for one selected Finnish artist. The project is funded by the Alfred Kordelin Foundation. Kiasma invited Krist Gruijthuijsen, director of KW Berlin, to join Kiasma’s selection team to share its vision of the selected candidates.

Exhibition is ready for touring in autumn 2019.

Touring enquiries: curator Satu Oksanen