Maija Helasvuo Wasteland Dreams


My exhibition deals with indifference and how civilization is knowingly shut down. And with protecting oneself and struggling against these phenomena. Works on display are from 2015–2018. As materials, in addition to different types of wood, I work with ceramics and glass.

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Conflicts that arise from our environment come together in Maija Helasvuo’s sculptures. In the work Wasteland dreams (2016–2018), brain-like structures are placed onto hand-sculpted wooden pallets. It reminds us of the consequences of branding, trading and objectifying in our society: forgetting loneliness and fragility and demeaning human experience. A dialogue where different meanings cluster is born.

This dialogue is an asset in expression. It enables the use of different visual elements in the same context. This opens expressive depth in Helasvuo’s art. Through different combinations of meaning it focuses its gaze in the problematics of the same content. The theme at hand gains depth through intersecting meanings. Inspiring emotional tensions are born. Emotions that are meaningful when it comes to knowledge. To us, they express our relationship to what surrounds us. Emotions are signals of the balance between the individual and the surrounding being shaken. The need to restore this balance transforms the emotion into logical thinking and into interest towards things and objects that could help in reestablishing the balance.

Emotions are not autonomous experiences. Instead they always require something outside oneself to connect with. All experiences have common denominators even if the experiences were very different in content and in detail. All experiences are dialogue between the person and some part of the outside world. In Helasvuo’s art, there is courage to bring forth those life-supporting and life-threatening structures under which we live our lives.

The opposite of certainty of expression is the openness of expression and the courage to face the presence of uncertainty and the state of disruption caused by it. In this state, emotional meanings are not structures that can be obtained through form, conceptual constructions, but instead they are penetrating tensions between life and existence and subconscious and conscious clusters of meaning.

Mika Karhu
PhD, visual artist

Maija Helasvuo (born 1968) has a pioneering take on traditional wood sculpting. She is both an academically trained artist and craftswoman. Her multifaceted works draw inspiration from the everyday life while her themes are often abstract. She constructs her sculptures using mainly wood together with glass, bronze and ceramics. Helasvuo has held many solo and group exhibitions in Finland and abroad since 1990. In addition to artistic work, she has taught, curated and worked in many positions in different art organizations. Helasvuo lives and works in Hyvinkää, Finland.

Maija Helasvuo would like to thank: Lasismi, Riihimäki. PäivinÖin, Hyvinkää. Anna-Stiina Korhonen, Helsinki.
(translation Salla Fornaro)

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