Tuula Lehtinen – The Archeology of Beauty
This exhibition presents the extensive and wide-ranging artistic career of the Tampere artist Tuula Lehtinen from the 1980s to the present decade. It presents paintings, prints, mosaic works, ceramic sculptures and installations. In addition to her earlier oeuvre, there will be new works and reinterpretations of previous works, themes and subjects. The exhibition will present a broad chronological span covering Tuula Lehtinen’s development from a printmaking artist into a painter and a creator of public works.
Lehtinen’s art deals with eternal questions of philosophy and history concerning beauty and its deep significance for humankind in all ages. She approaches the thematics of beauty from the tradition of art, using nostalgic subjects such as of flower still lifes, landscapes, decorative porcelain objects, curtains, lace and pictures of the queens of history. She brings her interpretations to the field of contemporary art in an individual way that challenges the taboos of art. Lehtinen’s art shows that, whatever the age, beauty speaks to and touches people, and that they have an innate need to experience it.
For Lehtinen, the continuation and renewal of the tradition of art and handicrafts is important. She uses a variety of materials in her works, from paper to porcelain. The techniques used by Lehtinen – painting in oils, the various procedures of printmaking, porcelain painting, padding, embroidery, ceramic casting and mosaics – all bring their own dimensions to the content of her works.
Tuula Lehtinen has been actively engaged in and promoted the fine arts in Finland for the past four decades. She has served as a professor of printmaking at the National Academy of Arts in Bergen, Norway, and she has written a number of textbooks on this subject. She has held numerous solo exhibitions both in Finland and abroad. Lehtinen has also made several public mosaic works: for example, at sites in her home town like Tampere Swimming Centre (2006–07), the Small Palace in the Finlayson area (2009), the district of Vuores (2011) and the Rantaväylä tunnel (2016). Her most recent public work is a mosaic produced in 2022 for the Serlachius Museums’ Art Sauna in Mänttä-Vilppula. Lehtinen is also known for being the founder of Himmelblau, the most important printmaking studio in Finland and the Frei Zimmer consultancy for the coordination of public art.