until 24.10. | #3169ARTatBerlin | PSM Gallery presents since 21st September 2021 the exhibition Running Up That Hill by the artist Emma Jääskeläinen. It is Emma Jääskeläinen’s first exhibition in Germany.
Born in Finland in 1988, the sculptor continues with her new marble sculptures and textile works what she started in 2020 in her first solo museum presentation at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki.
Emma Jääskeläinen avoids monumentality in her sculpture. Massiveness lies in the physical nature of the works and in their materials. Even the smallest everyday objects become meaningful in the heavy mass of the sculptures.
mass of the sculptures become meaningful, while the big questions of life are clothed in gentle humor. The works are references to very concrete things like domestic chores and found objects, as well as family members, memories, and embodied experiences.
Often a sense of the personal connects the individual elements. Never too serious, typically spiced with humor. The first thing Jääskeläinen carved in stone was a Po-like balloon sculpture.
The works are woven together as parts of a story, a bouquet of anecdotes and fragments that nevertheless have no beginning or end and contain countless secondary traces. Although text is an essential part of Jääskeläinen’s work – sketching often involves writing song lyrics – it seems difficult, even unnecessary, to put the final meaning of the works into words. The sculptures cannot be categorized; a logical order is not a priority. Rather, Jääskeläinen’s means is her intuition. There is always room for coincidence.
In her works, the subjects often take on forms that resemble body parts. The physical body is central not only as a form, but also as an instrument – of thinking and experiencing as well as of physical forming. For Jääskeläinen, sculpture and sculpture are one. An often repeated form is the human hand. The hand is a tool. A limb that grasps a pen, plays an instrument, performs everyday tasks, carries, cares, works, that gets worn and tired while working, and that aches from repeating the same routine.
Jääskeläinen is interested in the body’s vulnerability to the outside world: the cramps or pains that come from sculpting are concrete for an artist. Dependence on the body and an understanding of its vulnerability and susceptibility guide work in various conditions: chlorine absorbed into the skin from a swimming pool, skin wrinkled by water, air conditioning, heat, flu. There is a fine line between protection and threat. Different chemicals protect, but also harm at the same time. The awareness of the continuous threat to the exposed body, heightened by the pandemic, is a reality for all.
In her previous works, Jääskeläinen focused on the visible part of the body, its surface. In her new works, she digs beneath the surface: into the brain. The brain, carved out of stone, lies relaxed on the floor. A sculpture can also be a body resting in a hammock, swaying and receiving the gaze of the audience. The sculptures shyly seek contact outside themselves.
Emma Jääskeläinen has worked with different types of stone. In her latest works she uses the green Lappia marble. A new type of stone always means a new way of sculpting. Sensitivity to the material is shown through a gentle approach, getting to know the properties of the material. Work is negotiating and responding to each other – collaboration. Sometimes the stone resists, sometimes it willingly accepts the chisel and more gently bends into the shape suggested to it; just like cutting cheese, as Jääskeläinen once explained the process of sculpting.
Her combination of materials includes a certain serenity and lightness. Sometimes she adds light, fragile, delicate materials to the sculptures, creates multi-layers. These add-
ons are materials, collected on travels, or readymades, bought in supermarkets, such as shells, earplugs, chilies, chewing gum or caps from fast-food chains. Jääskeläinen chooses stones that evoke strong impressions and content. Marble from Norway reminded her of a fat sausage. In her new works, Jääskeläinen uses sheep’s wool, aluminum and found objects as materials in addition to stone. Textiles and wool are to Jääskeläinen like any other malleable material. Felting turns wool into a solid mass, and in combination with stone into a dense and thick felt shelter for the hard but also brittle surface of the stone. The focus is on the parallelism of the materials, not their opposing natures. A stone can be soft like wool or feel rough like the coarse surface of stone.
Opening: Friday, 17th September, 2021, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Exhibition Dates: Tuesday, 21st September – Sunday, 24th October, 2021to the gallery
Caption: Emma Jääskeläinen Cloud Number Nine (Detail), 2021 Hermelin marble, metal 45 x 75 x 96 cm
Exhibition Emma Jääskeläinen – PSM Gallery | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin