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Full House - The Kouri Collection and Minimalist Adventures in America Opens
Robert Morris, Untitled (Brown Felt), 1973, felt, dimensions variable, Photo: Petri Virtanen.

HELSINKI.- Full House – The Kouri Collection and Minimalist Adventures in America presents artworks from the giants of Minimalism. Occupying two floors in Kiasma, the show traces paths spawned by minimalism from the late 1960s to the present. The works are made from an eclectic range of materials, including aspirin, milk, marble and light.

The ideas for minimalism first emerged among a generation of young artists in New York in the early 1960s. Artists such as Donald Judd, Robert Morris and Dan Flavin shared an aspiration to find an objective style of expression. They wanted to avoid self-expression by using repeating geometric forms and industrial ready-made materials.

According to minimalists, art did not need to represent or imitate any reality external to itself. The essence lay in the materials, form, structure and scale of the work itself. Central to minimalism was the placement of artworks in space and how they transform that space and our notions of it. Minimalism can in fact be seen as having radically altered our ways of looking at and experiencing art.

Younger artists today are aware of minimalism, while also playing with its classics. Externally, their works may adhere to precisely the same, stringently geometrical forms as minimalist works, yet the content is new, shifting the focus toward subjective emotions, opinions and standpoints. They also play with materials: industrial steel and wood panel have in the hands of the younger generation been replaced with the most varied of substances, from liquorice to aspirin.

Artists in the Full House exhibition stress the importance of the spectator. The key concept is the placement of the work in space, and how viewers perceive themselves in the space altered thereby. James Turrell uses immaterial light to create illusions. Another artist who explores the potential of light and space is Olafur Eliasson, whose art revolves around the viewer’s subjective perceptions. The piece by Felix Gonzalez-Torres consists of countless liquorice candies set out on the floor in a rectangle. Viewers are free to take one of the candies with them.

The artists in the exhibition are: Ricci Albenda, Francis Alÿs, Walter De Maria, Olafur Eliasson, Dan Flavin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Koo Jeong-A, Donald Judd, Jannis Kounellis, Wolfgang Laib, Richard Long, Robert Longo, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Roman Opalka, John Pilson, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Frank Stella, and James Turrell.

The exhibition comprises 27 works of art, 13 of which are on loan from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The works on display include 13 pieces from the Kouri Collection in Kiasma and one from Dr Pentti Kouri’s current collection of contemporary art. The Full House exhibition was compiled by a team of curators, including Leevi Haapala, Arja Miller and Marja Sakari.

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