Born 1957 I Lives and works in Nokia, Finland and New York
Osmo Rauhala’s new solo exhibition, Form of Silences, shows his latest works. His artistic working process is inspired by an interest in people’s capacity and possibilities for understanding the reality around them, especially nature.
The key means by which the modern individual comprehends the world is language, but is it enough for a full understanding of our reality? That question is central to Rauhala’s artistic working process. In pondering it he makes frequent use of a dialogue between natural forms and human-created signs. Through art Rauhala attempts to investigate the connections between animal figures, such as rays and deer, and linguistic images, and also the riddle of life. His minimalist, concrete pieces made up of symbols painted on monochrome backgrounds take us deep into the mutual relationship between humanity, science and nature. Whether they be paintings, installations or videoworks, Rauhala’s artworks bring us face to face with fundamental issues. Water and the creatures that live in it constitute the subject of this new exhibition.
The underwater world can be seen as a metaphor for our subconscious, as a place that frequently remains invisible to us. It is quiet there, sounds and light are refracted in a different way, and our movements are slow, like in a dream. Rauhala’s series of works want to remind us that, nevertheless, water is a decisive factor in human survival. Water has become our rubbish dump, a rug under which we try to sweep our waste. But there is no such place on Earth, and everything we cast into the environment comes back to us sooner or later. The seas also hide a possibility. They can sequester carbon and produce food. Water’s chaotic motion can help us understand the concept of order in a new way. Life adapted to water is often quite beautiful, and beauty is one of the forms of order. Learning the language concealed within it can help us understand nature better and give us tools for our own survival.
Rauhala is known for his ground-breaking work on the Finnish art scene. Since the end of the 1980s, he has lived and worked for part of the year in New York, where he completed his Master’s studies in Fine Art in 1990. He has held more than 60 solo exhibitions, 18 of them in art museums in Europe and North and South America. Alongside his successful career as an international artist, Rauhala is deeply involved in environmental issues, and an organic farm in Finland has kept him rooted in his homeland. Rauhala received the Young Artist of the Year Award in 1992 and the Finland Prize in 2009. He was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2017. Coinciding with his Makasiini Contemporary exhibition, in winter-spring 2021-2022, Rauhala has a solo exhibition at the Aboa Vetus Ars Nova art museum in Turku.