Malmitalo Gallery presents the exhibition LUONNOS 7 by Janne Erkkilä 4–27 May, 2023. Welcome to the exhibition opening on Wednesday, 3 May 5–7 pm!  

Kuva Janne Erkkilän teoksesta

Image: Janne Erkkilä – Tihentyminen, tempera and natural pigments on canvas, 2022, 50×80 cm 


Janne Erkkilä: LUONNOS 7, paintings with natural colours  

The works of Janne Erkkilä’s Luonnos series are experimental interpretations of nature that invite you to take a closer look at them, as well as nature. Looking from a distance, the small details merge into a toned mass, but looking closer, they reveal their individual features and shades. The works describe the momentary microscapes of living nature and the tendencies of organisms towards growth, regeneration, spread, competition, communication and networking.  

The name of the exhibition, Luonnos, is a word play in Finnish meaning both ”a sketch” and ”in nature” as it’s written in southern dialect. In addition to the sketch-like experimental working process it also refers to being in nature and the perpetual change observed there, where organisms adapt to the conditions through trial and error. This can be seen as a continuous cosmic sketching process. The series of works has been in a few exhibitions of the same name with varying configurations, adapting to the galleries and new works having replaced old ones, just as in nature the new replaces the old and life adapts to the available ecological niches.  

The paintings are made with plants and mushrooms collected from nature and leftovers from the home kitchen. Some of the works are painted on cotton paper directly with vegetable and mushroom broths and mushroom spores, and some with lake pigments made from the broth, which have been precipitated with alum and soda, dried, ground, mixed with egg yolk and white, and painted like tempera on cotton paper or linen canvas that has been primed with gesso made from eggshell powder and glue boiled from bones.  

Working with natural colors is an experiment to overlap the artist’s nature hobbies and art practice and to increase the degree of material self-sufficiency and eco-friendliness in artistic practice. With pandemics, wars, strikes, consequences of climate change and black swans, the world keeps slipping into situations where the complex subcontracting chains and unbroken supply of paints cannot be relied upon with complete confidence. Nature, however, produces mushrooms and plants from which a wide range of fascinating shades can be created to be used when needed. Even under normal circumstances, natural pigments are a good addition to color palettes because of their distinctive earthy spectrum.  

The following plants and mushrooms have been used in the works: tansy, meadowsweet, nettle, dandelion, rhubarb, bog bilberry, heather, alder buckthorn, bird cherry, bilberry, lingonberry, birch, rowan, common reed, cow parsley, star-tipped cup lichen, lily of the valley, blue-pod lupine, red elderberry, winter cress, beetroot, ostrich fern, black bean, onion, red onion, blood red webcap, red-gilled webcap, red-banded cortinarius, sarcodon, shaggy ink-cap, cep, velvet bolete and bovine bolete.  

Janne Erkkilä (b. 1986) is a master of arts, visual artist and member of The Finnish Painters’ Union, who has organized solo exhibitions around Finland since 2013 and participated in dozens of group exhibitions since 2006 in four countries on two continents. Some of his works are abstract dives into experiences that avoid verbalization, while others are partly expressive manifestations of nature experiences, humans’ relationship with nature, and the overlap of the built and organic environment. Previously, he has painted with acrylics, combining precise brushwork and splashing techniques. Later, his range of techniques has diversified with natural colors and recycled materials. The thematic framework of his production is built around nondualism, metamodernism and transrealism.  

Janne Erkkilä’s work has been supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland and The Finnish Cultural Foundation.