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Born 1986 | Lives and works in Helsinki



Toni Elg’s oil paintings draw influences from the history of painting, art theory, music, and everyday life. The title of his new exhibition is borrowed from a song by the American country singer Marty Robbins. The song romanticizes the life of a lonely cowboy whose days are filled with the same repetitive routine from morning to night. The title can thus be interpreted as an allegorical invocation of the artist’s lonely routine in his studio. Elg’s formalist paintings take shape through months of patient, layer-by-layer labors. Rather than conveying narrative content or real-world associations, his paintings take their cue from purely visual sources, and are best experienced as encounters with color, form, line and composition.


Music and Elg’s background as a DJ have influenced the visual style of his paintings. Befitting the deejaying genre, Elg has also designed gig posters and record covers. His art is additionally informed by another chapter of his personal history – before becoming a visual artist, Elg studied architecture and worked in an architectural office. His abstract landscapes play upon the chaos-versus-order dichotomy familiar from architectural theory. His non-representative compositional elements are sometimes orderly and cleanly defined, while at other times they sprawl wildly across the canvas with logic-defying abandon.


Toni Elg studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, as well as at Helsinki’s Free Art School, the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts under Daniel Richter and in the architecture faculty at Aalto University. Elg’s work is represented in collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the State Art Deposit Collection.


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