Past, 30 Jan—8 Mar 2015

What you see does not exist for others

California Light and Space artists wanted us to re-examine how we perceive the world – what is real and what is illusion. Although beauty and the worship of the perfect surface dominate today while the art movement itself plays a minor role its legacy is everything but insignificant. California Light and Space lives strongly in the design and architecture of the Californian giants, Steve Jobs and Frank Gehry. They are the offspring of the movement. 

The popularity of Minimalism continued to grow at the end of the 1960s. As it reached the Pacific a group of artists based in Los Angeles added a unique Californian twist – the interaction of light and space. A work of art became momentary. Perception  became more important than the art object itself. The viewer is part of the piece; the relationship is interactive as the view activates the work.

The artists used both natural light directed at and artificial light included in the objects and architecture. At the same time artists turned to new, see-through, translucent and reflective materials such as polyester resin, Plexiglas (VAI acrylic glass?), fibreglass, laminated glass and different types of plastic. New possibilities for experiencing light and other sight-related perceptions were created by the reflection, filtering and refraction of light. They enabled the capture of the infinite glittering of the oceans and sky tarnished by smog. Swimming pools, surfboards and the shining surface of a car were depicted in art.

The properties of works of art are not simply theirs. What you do affects what you see. What you see affects what you do. Colours, shapes and surfaces change according to the viewer's position in time and space and continually create new variants. Frank Stella's phrase ”What you see is what you see” turned upside down in Los Angeles at the turn of the 70s. California Light and Space added a question mark.

Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of the American Vogue, has paraphrased Friedrich Nietzsche: ”The perfect surface is the most difficult.” California Light and Space perfected this in the interaction between space, light and the viewer. 

About the Show

Our first show, California, interprets and looks at California Light and Space at a time when California has become the particle collider and gravitation point of technological, societal and cultural development. 

The pieces by Finnish top designers mix art, light and technology in intelligent and fascinating, ever-changing applications. The show prompts the viewer to change perspective and see how things are rather than how they were.

About the Works in the Show

Sebastian Jansson's ”Solveig” is the eternal light of the Sun in a desert. It is also a tribute to Sebastian's recently deceased grandmother whose brilliance has been an influence to Sebastian. 

Mikko Paakkanen paints light into a dark world with photons in his video piece ”Liquid Luminance.” 

Mari Isopihkala's ”Big Sur” is a study in blue, blue light and its blue shadows. The values reflect in never-ending variaties inside a cube while shadows circle and play in the light of the day.

Iina Vuorivirta's ”Optimism/Void” frames light and shadow. There is no light without shadow.

Järvenpää Saariaho's ” LA” is a frozen beam of light that shows the illuminance of Los Angeles in real time. There is no more time, no place, there is only now.


Mari Isopahkala
”Big Sur”
Acrylic glass – Edition 5

Iina Vuorivirta

Sebastian Jansson
Glass, acrylic glass, wood – Edition 3

Järvenpää Saariaho
” LA”
Acrylic tube, diffusion filter, led string, steel bar, steel wire,  computer-controlled dimmer software 

Mikko Paakkanen
”Liquid Luminance”
Video 30 mins – Edition 10