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Riiko Sakkinen: Animal Show Business
Galerie Forsblom, February 14–March 15, 2020
Opening with the artist in attendance, February 13, 2020, at 5–7 PM


According to an anecdote shared by Riiko Sakkinen, Mickey Mouse once slipped him a crumpled sheet of paper and asked him to smuggle it out of Disneyland. The paper turned out to be a manifesto setting out rights claimed by the Anthropomorphic Animals’ Liberation Front (AALF). Sakkinen has dedicated this exhibition to the activists of the AALF and to all of the world’s unnaturally anthropomorphized fauna.

Western art has been lending human features to animals for centuries. Anthropomorphization of the animal kingdoms is often a tool of social satire or parody. Sakkinen himself has been using animal motifs for years. Many of his works depict animals dressed like humans, either taking a stand on some issue or expressing a political opinion. The spectrum of his character gallery ranges from food industry mascots to cartoon heroes. He often endows his amusing caricatures with repugnant features, such as the Nesquik bunny imbibing his own urine, a drawing found in the MoMA collection.

Sakkinen describes himself as a turborealist artist. He exposes the world exactly as it is. His art depicts ducks dressed in sailor’s shirts and turtles doing martial arts because the visual world around us is full of them. Sakkinen does not portray things he likes or supports, but rather things he deplores and wishes to challenge.


Riiko Sakkinen (b. 1976) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2002. Since then, he has been living and working in Spain. He has exhibited widely around the world, and his work is found in major collections such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki Art Museum, and the Gösta Serlachius Art Foundation.


Sakkinen’s animal-themed works will be on display simultaneously at Galerie Forsblom and the Natural History Museum.


Taxonomy of Anthropomorphic Animals, Natural History Museum, Helsinki, February 13–March 29, 2020