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Artists' Association MUU » Ilona Niemi – BAT BROWS AND TROUT POUTS
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MUU Gallery
Open: Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16
Lönnrotinkatu 33, 00180 Helsinki, Finland


Ilona Niemi, Fit Bird, 2017


In 1988, Ilona Niemi’s childhood friend disappeared without a trace, adding a sinister tone to her happy childhood memories. Now cruelty and gentleness go together in Niemi’s artwork, in which she blurs traditional opposites such as childhood and adulthood, nature and artifice.


OPENING Thursday 3rd August, 5pm — 7pm
Featuring also Kallio Brewery’s pop up bar!

Ilona Niemi’s work centers around beauty and femininity, and she explores the relationship between human and nature. As an artist, she is especially interested in the human yearning for an artificially beautified self- image, expressed through filtered selfies and plastic surgery. Such an urge follows us all the way to death, culminating in mortuary make up.

Niemi rummages through fashion magazines, her garden, old biology books and poetry, mixing a visual cocktail of disparate images.The results resemble plastic surgery gone grotesquely wrong, and break clichés with the help of humour. Niemi’s methods are both sensitive and brutal – she paints with a gentle touch and destroys the results with a saw or scissors, creating through the process of destruction.The resulting collages and paintings fill the gallery in an organic way, like weeds growing in a garden.

Niemi completed her artistic training in the UK and USA, graduating as an MFA from SIUC in 2007. Her works have been shown in various venues internationally, such as in the National Portrait Gallery (London), Turku Art Museum (FIN), Gescheidle Gallery (Chicago) and Mad Art Gallery (St. Louis). Her awards include the Royal Scottish Academy Painting Prize and the Maclaine & Watters medal. In addition to her artistic practice, Niemi has published poetry and written reviews for Art Papers, an art magazine published in Atlanta (USA).

During the opening night, Kallio Brewery will be setting up a pop-up bar in the gallery. Come and taste their very limited edition Art Beer with Ilona Niemi’s artwork on the label!

Ilona Niemi and MUU Gallery also provide activity in the gallery on Taiteiden Yö –event Thursday 24.8.2017 from 4pm – 9pm in the form of Pop Up Portraits! The artist will be making quick collages from the guests. Come and get a collaged portrait of yourself as an animal!