Seeing Hannaleena Heiska‘s work for the first time on a visit to Gothenburg Kunstmuseum, was inspiring and unsettling in equal measure. The giant butterfly or moth-like creature spray-painted directly to the wall was so exhilarating I could barely stay away from it, while the dream- beings, nightmare-canines and delicately wrought faces of her women were belied by their neon colours.
Dreams, curios and horrors..DV
There were dreams, curios and horrors, from teeth-baring monkey-figures, to tiger-headed men and one of my favourites, a beautiful, woman with her mouth stoppered by a butterfly, staring wistfully out at us, wide-eyed under her thatch of hair.
The feeling of an intense, even too-close intimacy continued through the series of uncovered charcoal drawings the artist made of real and possible observatories. Real or not, these were buildings which had weight and sculptural significance. By carving them out of the charcoal-darkened paper, Heiska seemed to refer to the notion of a sculptor finding that one essential form hidden in a stone or block of wood. Only this time the 3D form emerged from the 2D.
A feeling of intense intimacy…DV
There were motions toward Shamanism too, and shapeshifting. Finnish-born Heiska is an artist whose inner vision is rich, modern and mythical all at once. Hannaleena Heiska seems to live between the worlds and is not afraid to report back.
I was entranced.