Nina Roos. Regarding the Point of Restraint
6 April – 16 June 2019
Nina Roos (born in Porvoo in 1956) is among the most accomplished artists in the Nordic region. She represented Finland at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and has had two substantial retrospectives to date, at Kiasma in Helsinki in 2001 and at Malmö Konsthall in 2003. Roos was Professor of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 2001–04 and has been External Tutor at the Malmö Art Academy since 1995. She won the Carnegie Art Award in 2003, one of many prizes she has received.
Her chosen mode of expression is painting, as a pictorial language that enables both authors and viewers to develop their intellectual and emotional faculties. “The important thing for me, from the beginning, was trying to define what a painted image is. Not to illustrate a story or an object“.
For a painter with Roos’s reflective and investigative inclinations, every new work or series of works starts from the very beginning and is forced to find its own paths. The painted image, for her, is neither a ready-made concept nor an ideally finalised form of articulation but rather a highly deliberate process of producing immediacy and presenting it to the viewer. It is as if her paintings were always “on the way to the image”.
This exhibition contains a handful of new and recent series of painted images. Risk and Crimson (notes) (both 2018–19) are united by the reddish-grey overall tone, by the experimental telescoping of painted surface into painted space, and by the recurrent use of twigs or thin branches as visual cues. “It is as if body and space were mixed up and compressed into something both indeterminate and fearsome.”
Regarding the Point of Restraint (2017), consists of six paintings are built into a pavilion, whose walls are in turn painted three distinct colours. In addition to the purpose-built pavilion (which may be described as an architectural painting), Roos has had some walls in the gallery painted a bluish grey, as if a ”body of colour” had been inserted into the architectural space, transforming it into a colour sculpture. Similar themes are developed in several series of drawings and watercolours (2013–15), now shown for the first time in an institutional setting.
Not Yet Said, Not Yet Done (2008) is a series of paintings inspired by collective spiritual exercises during a trip to Udmurtia (a republic within the Russian Federation) in 2007. “In retrospect I can define them as four visualizations of an interdependent inside and outside. The four paintings undermine the viewer’s position in relation to what is being viewed.”
‘Regarding the Point of Restraint’ is an exhibition conceived both as a visual treatise on the painted image and as a demonstration of the power that painting has to transform built space and the space of thought. To be able to do these things, painting must both be about something and be something. Roos demonstrates that this is still possible in today’s reality, which is increasingly difficult for the individual to decipher and understand.
The quotes are from Nina Roos’s studio conversation with curator Anders Kreuger in the exhibition catalogue.
Image: Nina Roos, Risk (in confrontation), 2018–19, oil on canvas. Photo credit: Jussi Tiainen
Please download the exhibition catalogue here
Curator: Anders Kreuger