Arto Korhonen,
Paintings 2017
31.5. - 18.6.2017

Arto Korhonen: Maalauksia 2017

Arto Korhonen
Paintings 2017
Galleria Huuto Uudenmaankatu

My exhibition features two and three-dimensional watercolor paintings.
The exhibition is based on the two great challenges in my life and dealing with them.

My first challenge was my father, Aarne Ilmari. He was born in July 1917 in the Grand Duchy of Finland. Finland declared independence later that year. My father would have his 100th birthday this summer. During the war he served in the anti-aircraft defense unit in Taivaskallio, Helsinki. During one attack, a fragment from a shell that hit the bunker caused a serious injury to his right arm. His arm was amputated between his wrist and elbow. I believe that this had a strong impact on my childhood home.

My father suffered from mental health issues and was violent. By the time I was in seventh grade, the situation at home had become so chaotic that every day I was scared to go home after school. Not knowing if my mother was still alive caused anxiety and depression. I was ashamed of the situation at home. When I moved to a new school, I no longer wanted to get to know the other kids and I stopped communicating. I became an outcast.

At the same time I was tackling another challenge, my own sexual awakening. My interest in the same sex was confusing. We lived in the countryside and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about these things. The confusion caused by my personal situation triggered panic attacks. They were another thing that was not talked about back then. I was afraid that I was going crazy. All this naturally had a major impact on my performance at school. I had to abandon my long-time dream of an art-oriented upper secondary school. The thought of starting military service also caused distress.

For a long time I had planned to visit Taivaskallio where my father was wounded. I was only able to go there last summer (2016). Once there, I realized how the soldiers had been like on a plate up there with the horizon opening in every direction. They were in tough conditions defending the city center from bombings. Beforehand I didn’t believe that visiting the site would have an impact on me, but it did help me understand my father’s behavior.

Later I found a surprising link between my own growing pains and my father’s experiences, as Touko Laaksonen (Tom of Finland) also served in the anti-aircraft defense unit in Helsinki. I combine these events and coincidences in my works. They are based on my own photographs and the Military Museum’s photograph archive material from Taivaskallio as well as past and present peace movement events and symbols.

In addition to the personal cleansing process, the works also pay homage to all those individuals from sexual minorities who have not always had the right to be themselves but who still did their share in fighting for this country’s independence.

Arto Korhonen (b. 1963 Rantasalmi, lives in Helsinki)
Korhonen graduated from the Lahti Institute of Fine Arts in 1989. His works have been displayed at many exhibitions, including solo exhibitions at the Turku Art Museum’s Studio, Nordic Watercolor Museum, Kluuvi Gallery, Ama Gallery, Muu Gallery and Forum Box. His works are included in the national art collection as well as in the collections of the Sara Hildén Art Museum, Kiasma, Amos Anderson Art Museum, Wihuri Foundation and many other art museums and foundations.

The exhibition has been supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Further information:
Arto Korhonen
Tel. +358 45 131 9043
Email: art(a)artokorhonen.com