Viewing Room Main Site



Marjatta Tapiola: Paintings

Galerie Forsblom 20.8.–19.9.2021

Opening 19.8.2021 at 3-7 PM


Marjatta Tapiola (b. 1951) celebrates corporeality in her latest paintings, which reprise the signature motifs that have become synonymous with her work throughout her career: animal skulls and ancient mythological figures such as the minotaurs and centaurs. Legendary for her superb command of line, Tapiola allows her brush to dance instinctively upon the surface of the canvas, invoking by turns the world of carnal indulgence as well as the more brutal realities of mortal flesh. Some of her new paintings are more abstract than ever before, her spontaneous treatment of the brush transforming representational elements into mere abstract hints of what is portrayed. Tapiola’s effortless dance with the brush is rich in powerful contrasts, invoking stirring interpretations that leave the viewer breathless in their profundity. The content of her paintings swings between extremes, exuding both raw power and well-nigh brutal directness as well as exquisite delicateness and vulnerability.


Tapiola’s palette combines deep reds, oranges, and purples with a spectrum of paler, more neutral hues. Tapiola mixes her own pigments just as Caravaggio and Rembrandt did back in the day, infusing her contemporary paintings with the timeless quality of Classical Antiquity. By choosing tempera as her technique, Tapiola is able to capture the perfect nuances of tone and radiance. By priming her own canvases, she forges a direct physical relationship with each painting and its dimensions.


Tapiola became established in the 1980s as a leading Finnish proponent of neo-expressionism. She received the Pro Finlandia medal in 2004 and the Finnish State Art Prize in 2006. Her work is found in leading Finnish museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Sara Hildén Art Museum. Tapiola is based on her family estate in Sysmä.