Nordic Culture Point and the Finnish Painters’ Union launches three year painting project

Nordic Culture Point and the Finnish Painters’ Union launches three-year painting project


Nordic Painting is a three-year collaborative project (2022–2024) between Nordic Culture Point in Helsinki and the Finnish Painters’ Union (TML). Within the framework of Nordic Painting, an exhibition collaboration is carried out each year, together with a third party from another Nordic country. In 2022, it will be Norway and the Association of Norwegian Painters (LNM) will act as partners. This year’s exhibition will be divided into two parts and will take place partly in the Finnish Painters’ Union’s gallery in central Helsinki, and partly in Nordic Culture Point’s historic premises in Suomenlinna (2 November to 20 November 2022).

In January 2022, a joint open call was arranged for the members of the two unions. A total of 106 applications were received. A jury consisting of Randi Thommessen and Maiken Stene from LNM, Alina Mänttäri and Sampo Apajalahti from TML, and Annika Bergvik-Forsander from Nordic Culture Point, selected four artists to participate in the upcoming exhibition.

Among the Norwegian artists, the jury selected Ingrid Toogood and Espen Brændsrød, and among the Finns, Satu Raitiainen and Meri Toivanen were selected to participate in the exhibition.

Nordic Culture Point is one of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ cultural institutions and its purpose is to initiate and support pan-Nordic art and cultural projects, as well as contribute to increased knowledge of Nordic contemporary art and culture both in Finland and in the rest of the Nordic Region. In the project Nordic Painting, Nordic Culture Point acts as a sponsor for the costs of the Nordic guest artists’ participation in the exhibitions.


Participating artists

Ingrid Toogood (born 1976) works across several genres, including painting, sculpture, installation and performance art. Using optical illusions, with the help of shadows and mirrors, she addresses issues such as emptiness and loss. The mirror and the shadow represent unstable forms of reality and offer a way to manipulate our perceptions of space in two and three dimensions. The shadow effect and numerous mirrors create a spurious depth in the image surface. In this way, Toogood takes the basic flatness seriously, whilst it pulls the painting in new directions and dimensions. Depth is no longer an obstacle for flatness. This leaves the painting and the painted sculptures in a position between the two spatial extremes.

Espen Brændsrød (born 1969) is a graduate of Asker Kunstskole (1989–91) and the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Oslo (Institute for Colour, 1991–96). His artistic fields include painting, drawing, and sculpture. The works are often the result of process-oriented practices. Since his debut in LNM’s gallery in 200X, he’s had exhibitions at the Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo, the North Norwegian Artist Center (Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter) in Svolvær, and the Trafo Kunsthall in Asker. He’s a recipient of the Norwegian government’s Guaranteed Income For Artists, and his works have been purchased by several public institutions, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norges Bank.

Satu Rautiainen (born 1982) graduated in 2008 from the department of painting of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. In her artistic work, Rautiainen studies the interface between art, crafts, and industrial design from the point of view of femininity and painting. She paints with aquarelles on paper and with oil colors. Using large-scale aquarelles, she contemplates traditions of painting and painting in modern time. Rautiainen’s paintings can be found in several public art collections, such as those of the Finnish state, Kiasma, EMMA and the Art Museum of Helsinki.

Meri Toivanen (born 1996) is based in Finland and Belgium and is currently finishing her master’s degree in painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Toivanen’s work has been presented in group exhibitions in Belgium. In her body of work, Toivanen explores the borderlines of figuration through the painting process using semi-monochromatic colour and elements of fading, disintegration and diffusion. As her referential inventory, Toivanen uses Finnish film history, playing with the disconnection of these images as fragments of popular culture to allow new insights to emerge.


Ingrid Toogood: Hugs 1-3, 2022, acrylic on canvas and mdf, cutout mirror, 195 cm x 120 cm x 30 cm

Espen Brændsrød: Fieldwork (16 objects), detail , 1. Forest floor, clearing by dead Birch and 2. Close to the Pine Tree, soils, 2 x 34 cm x 24 cm

Satu Rautiainen: Layer Tray, water color and oil color on board, 60 cm x 51 cm, 2022

Meri Toivanen: The Militair Playing Billiards, oil on canvas, 110 cm x 150 cm, 2021