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IKITOMU Summer of Art 2019: Pawel Althamer @ HAM Helsinki

[Video voiceover transcript]

Pawel Althamer at HAM Helsinki

We first took serious notice of Pawel Althamer a few Venice biennials ago, where he had made stunning sculptures based on true Venetian faces. They were vividly brought into our minds as the corresponding plastic molding greeted the visitor right at the lower door.

Althamer is in many ways a significant and amazingly interdimensional artist. If at times you should grow tired of the international biennial art produced by art professionalists, artists like Althamer are the perfect antidote. He seems genuinely both enthusiastic about art over and over again, and also to see it as some kind of holistic interface to interact with the world. It takes a particularly cynical art lover to think that his long-term projects with, for example, children and the marginalized would be something other than a sincere desire to use and share an artistic approach while at the same time learning about its mechanisms.

A wide variety of works by Althamer is exposed at the HAM exhibition, along with documentation of works. Art seems to travel with Althamer like a force field floating around him. You can sense this multidimensional force field sprawling in different parts of life in the exhibition.

The counterweight to the multi-directional documentation of artistic work is the astounding and exquisite white room that has sought to exclude everything else. If you want to experience the work, you must dress in white overalls and blend in with the large white blur of the work. The experience is cleansing in our visually distressing time - if you can surrender to it. And if you can't, I think the mild annoyance of forced inclusion is fine with the artist, too.

The many branches in Althamer's art are definitely worth a visit. The exhibition continues HAM's recent international first-class offering. There's still time to experience Althamer until September 8th.

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