exhibition: ISMO KAJANDER Anartist – Kiasma, Helsinki (FI)

Ismo Kajander (b. 1939) is a Finnish artist, photographer, writer and lecturer whose career spans seven decades. The main focus in this retrospective at the Kiasma contemporary art museum in Helsinki, is on assemblages Kajander makes using everyday ready-made objects. Kajander’s inspiration for the works derives from literature, science and art history.
Years in Paris and a spiritual kinship with Dadaists active in the city in earlier decades are apparent in Kajander’s art. His politically oriented intellectual playfulness and rejection of prevalent norms in art both derive from Dadaism.
The title of the exhibition, Anartist, is a reference to Kajander’s anarchic position outside the mainstream of art.

The exhibition is leading us through many “art mash-ups”, some work with the clearness of the classics and other chaotic ready-made. Some artworks contain references to the life of the artist and require notions about Finnish history to be understood, but most of the show is using an artistic language that might be common to the whole western world.

Ismo Kajander  Exhibition view  Photo: Finnish National Gallery: Petri Virtanen courtesy of Kiasma_ Finnish National Gallery
Ismo Kajander, Exhibition view, Photo: Finnish National Gallery: Petri Virtanen
courtesy of Kiasma_ Finnish National Gallery

 

The most engaging work is the Music Machine (1964), made with the composer Henrik Otto Donner. It’s a non-linear combination of the Duchamp’s Bicycle wheel and John Cage’s compositions that imitates the concept of carillon on a ready-made scale, with a bicycle wheel and a rake. The result is a eerie noise that cames over the exhibition’s rooms.

It’s a non-linear combination of the Duchamp’s Bicycle wheel and John Cage’s compositions

taiteilija: Kajander, Ismo taiteilija: Donner, Henrik Otto Inventaarionro N-1991-31:A-B teosnimi: Musiikkikone haltija: AT ajoitus: 1964 tekniikkateksti: esinekooste ja ääni erikoisluokka: kooste aihe: musiikki ; kone mitat: syvyys 100 cm, leveys 260 cm, korkeus 190 cm Valokuvanro N-00253.211 ajoitus: 25.2.2002 valokuvaaja: Virtanen, Petri valokuvatyyppi: laakadia v/k sisältökuvaus: näyttelyripustuskuva; musiikki ja veistotaide, esineteos (mm. harava, polkupyörän vanne, kello, halko, tuulikello, lintuhäkki) Digikuvanro I0077801 skannaus 2009-03-03 skannaaja: Halkola, Kirsi digiluokitus: skannattu kuva digitointilaite: FlexTight kuvankäsittelyohjelmisto: Photoshop CS4
Ismo Kajander and Henrik Otto Donner, Musiikkikone / Music Machine (1964)
courtesy of Kiasma_ Finnish National Gallery

 

Music comes around as a theme in Guitar and Clarinet (2010) which is the materialization of what we’ve seen in our minds the first time we saw a Picasso.

Guitar and Clarinet 2010
Ismo Kajander Guitar and Clarinet 2010 Photo: Ismo Kajander
courtesy of Kiasma_ Finnish National Gallery

Harsh World (2007) is the most communicative work, its meaning it’s clear and powerful, standing out from the other hard-to-read ready-made compositions.

2009-tyly-maailma
Ismo Kajander, Harsh World (2007) assemblage, 48 x 70 x 27 cm Photo: Ismo Kajander
courtesy of Kiasma_ Finnish National Gallery

Pro tip for the selfie enthusiasts: don’t miss “Pieni spektaakkeli läheisyydestä” by Lauri Astala” from the permanent exhibition.

1985-mg-8532
Lauri Astala (2005) Pieni spektaakkeli läheisyydestä
courtesy of Kiasma _ Finnish National Gallery

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