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Hannu Väisänen: All About Yellow

Galerie Forsblom, March 22– April 20, 2019

Opening with the artist in attendance, March 21, 2019, 5–7PM


Yellow in its myriad nuances has been an enduring source of fascination for Hannu Väisänen (b. 1951) for many years now. The artist is on a journey of discovery across a vast spectrum of yellows, exploring hues that evoke a variety of different emotions. Yellow is often associated with glowing, radiant light, but certain yellows are also quieter and more introverted. Väisänen painted this series of works during the darkest months of winter, and in the absence of light, bright shades of yellow have lit his way: his studio is still packed with unfinished paintings in varied yellows that create the illusion of growing warmth, as if heralding the imminent arrival of spring. Although the title is All About Yellow, the artist does not presume to have unearthed everything there is to discover about this rich color – it is simply impossible to single-handedly capture everything that can be said with yellow. This would be an unattainable challenge.


Before starting to paint, Väisänen produces a large number of sketches in lead pencil. His black-and-white drawings define the form and composition, growing progressively hungrier for colour as they evolve. Drawing has strengthened the artist’s faith in relatively simple forms, allowing color to take center stage. Some of his paintings depict identifiable forms and objects, while others are little more than monochromatic planes. Their abstract nature does not mean they have any less to say, however. For Väisänen, each work is its own adventure.  


Väisänen is known as a multi-talent who works smoothly across various artistic fields: he is a visual artist, writer, set designer, costume designer, director and illustrator, and a curator. Väisänen’s work can be found in prominent public collections, and he has been commissioned to create public works for clients including the Finnish National Opera, Kontula Church and Oulu Cathedral. He is the winner of the 2007 State Prize for visual art and the Finlandia Prize for literature as well as the State prize for literature in 2015. The artist is based in the South of France.