Antti Laitinen

Stockholm, 14.11–22.12  2013

Galleri Andersson/Sandström proudly presents Finnish artist Antti Laitinen’s first solo exhibition in Sweden. Based on experiences of nature, the exhibition asks questions about our own physical and mental limitations. The artist recently attracted attention for his participation in this year’s Venice Biennale, where he represents Finland. Several of the works will be displayed at Galleri Andersson/Sandström.

Antti Laitinen’s uncompromising work often attracts attention because of the way he constantly takes on the seemingly impossible. He has built his own island (It’s my Island, 2007) and sailed from Finland to Estonia in a self-made bark boat (Bark Boat, 2010). With nature as a starting point, he challenges stereotypes – the romantic notion of nature and masculinity – by exposing himself and his art to the forces of nature, often with an uncertain outcome.

In “Forest Square”, 2013, the artist fells and clears a forest area of 10×10 meters. The components are transported to temporary premises where the parts are systematically sorted and cleaned. On an indoor area the same size as the forest square, a deconstructed forest is constructed with all the pieces laid out in a sort of color chart – a task that occupied the artist for five months. “Lake Deconstruction” shows the artist cutting out blocks of ice from a lake during winter and then rebuilding it on the shore. The two pieces summarize Laitinen’s way of working: with an ever-present almost surreal sense of humor, he challenges both his physical and mental restraints. Laitinen’s approach has much in common with traditions of experimental performance art. He skillfully presents his often extreme nature experiences, verging on the absurd, in different media. The exhibition at Galleri Andersson/Sandström displays photography, film and sculpture.

Those who visited the Venice Biennale will recognize the work “Tree Reconstruction”. In this work, Laitinen felled and chopped a number of birch trees. With the help of hammer and nail he then reconstructed them outside the Finnish pavilion, the result reminding the viewer of a sort of Frankenstein’s monster tree. In Stockholm, the tree has moved into the gallery space and taken possession of it.

Antti Laitinen (b. 1975) lives and works in Somerniemi, Finland. 2004 he received his MFA at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, and has had an international career since then. He represents Finland in the Finnish Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. A selection of exhibitions includes GEM, Museum of Contemporary Art (group), The Hague and Waino Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku (Group) and Nettie Horn Gallery, London (solo). Works can be found in the collections of Kiasma, the Helsinki Museum of Art and Saatchi Gallery.