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RETROSPECTIVE Huhtamo | Rovaniemi Art Museum


poster by Kari Piippo

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April 4 to June 1 20033
Lapinkävijäntiee44
96100 ROVANIEMI, Finland

The sculptor Kari Huhtamo celebrates his 60th birthday with two exhibitions. January 7–26, 2003, Galleria Sculptor displays about a dozen of his works under the title ABSOLUTE Huhtamo, and the other show, RETROSPECTIVE Huhtamo, will be seen at the Rovaniemi Art Museum, April 4–June 1, 2003. Galleria Sculptor exhibits Huhtamo’s latest works, constructions of stainless steel. There’s also one sculpture from the late Sixties, building a bridge towards the more organic productions of his youth. In connection to this work, an extensive photo collage features different experiments based on designs and fantasies of those times.

Born in Rovaniemi November 1st, 1943, Kari Huhtamo studied first at the Central School for Industrial Design in the years 1961–3, then at the Finnish Art Academy School in 1963–4. He soon proceeded from obsolescent figurative sculpting towards experiments – characterised by surrealistic and pop art tendencies – with various materials, and the former figurative forms gave place to free constructions. In the year 1967, Huhtamo created his first polished and shiny steel construction, but you may still perceive a crowing rooster in the silhouette of that work. With the use of steel, Huhtamo’s art concentrated on geometrical constructions and ready-made industrial materials. In the spirit of constructivism, he begun to compose his works from plates, bars, square-formed pipes and wires. The sculptor’s and artisan’s atelier gave way to machine shop halls, and the sculptor himself evolved to a designer, comparable to an architect employing many skilled workers.

Since early Seventies, Kari Huhtamo has been especially known for his big public works, in which the elegance of polished stainless steel is at its best. He has constructed dozens of sculptures, reliefs, installations, and free-hanging mobiles for fronts and entrance halls of public buildings. As energetic and interested on new technical possibilities as always, Huhtamo continues to be efficaciously productive in this area. He has begun the construction of a big public sculpture that has formerly been on display as a computer designed virtual model.

The perception of a three-dimensional sculpture is always an event connected to time and space: the work takes its form according to the movements of the observer – or the mobile’s own movements. Huhtamo’s steel constructions are heavy works of art, but because of their shiny or painted textures and apertures cut in the planes they give the delusion of an almost immaterial weightlessness. Curves and movements are typical for the works; their shapes often turn to illusions – transforming and fluctuating reflections and mirror images, lights and shadows. Huhtamo’s steel constructions are surveyable objects; there’s no need actual need to touch them. With their accurate and impeccably finished forms, they often create an air of an aristocratic distance and untouchability, but sometimes even steel seems to emit humane and intimate sensations.

The ABSOLUTE Huhtamo exhibition guides its spectators into Kari Huhtamo’s art which – in spite of seemingly simple solutions – is multidimensional and multiform. Such topics as the nature, the coming of spring and the glittering sunshine, melting snows and purling brooks, budding leaves or fluttering birds can be discussed within a commonly understood frame of reference – but even for such phenomena Huhtamo seems to give his own absolute forms.

In due course, even this exhibition will be displayed on the artist’s homepages: http://www.Huhtamo.com.

Juha Ilvas
Art historian, Järvenpää

 

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