EXHIBITION REVIEW | Heidi Lampenius at Helsinki Contemporary – Ethereal and Otherworldly

Artist | Heidi Lampenius (b. 1977) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2011. She paints in acrylics and ink. Her previous solo exhibitions include Galleria Huuto in 2015 and Sinne in 2014. Her works were last seen at Helsinki Contemporary in the Remain in Light group exhibition in 2015.

ExhibitionHEIDI LAMPENIUS Supernatural | Helsinki Contemporary | 25 November – 18 December

Images | Courtesy of Helsinki Contemporary | Photo credits: Jussi Tiainen

Warm tones, washed-off colors and the ethereal presence of life greet the viewer in Heidi Lampenius’ show at Helsinki Contemporary. Just a few minutes spent with the works and they cast an irreversible spell. There is something so welcoming and deeply binding in the imagery she reveals, that it is almost impossible not to be completely drawn by her soft, cloudy and featherlike paintings.

It is not a surprise that Lampenius named her exhibition Supernatural, referring first and foremost to the intuitive process of creating a work when the result is a small miracle even for the artist herself.

Abstract and figurative are blended in such manner that one element can hardly be imagined without the other, despite the fact that in some of the works the figurative elements – hands, skulls, cactuses –  appear to be out of context. This is precisely where the artist’s intuition lays and, I dare say, her brilliance.

What baffles the most in her works are the organic, spiral membranes that are repeated in a variety of lengths and circumvolutions like a versatile leitmotif. The interpretation of which seems so open that it evaporates and slips through one’s fingers like steam leaving the overheated ground in a crisp morning.

These spiral membranes reminded me of translucent jellyfish in water, swimming slowly and gracefully towards the surface of the ocean. Far from being mere abstract, lifeless shapes, they seem inhabited by an otherworldly presence.

Perhaps this is the second supernatural layer of Lampenius’s works – the presence of something that is too spiritual for the naked eye to understand, yet not too high for the heart to feel.

Lampenius reaches the washed-off, vaporous look of her works by splashing a lot of water on the canvases, which end up gathering the strong colors on the back side. Through a lengthy and often very physical artistic process, Lampenius developed her own hand-made, carefully-crafted, magical Instagram filter. And my, how it works!