Viggo Wallensköld's (born 1969) works often depict individuals who are physically different or deviant in their essence. The characters are a blend of different ages, genders, historical eras, social classes, and even machines or gravestones. The fictional characters have something familiar to them, but also something extraordinary and peculiar. Above all, in his works Wallensköld demonstrates human understanding and acceptance of experiences of being different and feeling like an outsider. The unique and occasionally mournful figures are treated by the artist with compassion and dignity.
The exhibition brings together over a hundred works by Wallensköld from various collections. They are divided across intertwining themes: science, authorities, play, seasons and holidays and a room of your own. The works’ titles are also related to specific themes. The titles are not unambiguous, instead having multiple layers and offering unexpected perspectives to the viewer. Peaceful composition is also typical of Wallensköld’s art. The artist’s primary techniques include oil painting, acrylic painting and drawing.
Viggo Wallensköld made his artistic breakthrough in 2002 when he won the Ducat Prize of the Finnish Art Society. In 2005, Wallensköld was named Young Artist of the Year. He was recently nominated for the Ars Fennica award and became a popular favourite in the exhibition related to the nomination in 2022.
Viggo Wallensköld is also an author, having written five novels on the fictional mycologist Anatoliy D. Mbdrinov. The unique stories focus on Mbdrinov’s life and research which will revolutionise our knowledge of mushrooms and the human mind. The exhibition also includes excerpts of Wallensköld’s works as an author, accompanied with original illustrations to the novels.
The exhibition has been curated by Christina Bäcksbacka, PhD, whose long-term collaboration with the artist is what led to the exhibition becoming reality. Over two decades, Bäcksbacka has organised nine of Viggo Wallensköld’s exhibitions in her gallery, Taidesalonki Gallery in Helsinki. The genuine friendship between the artist and the gallery keeper is coloured by loyalty, understanding, joy, humour and hilarious banter.
” Viggo’s series of exhibitions at Taidesalonki Gallery are testament to the sheer versatility of his expression, ranging from the colour and precision of his first exhibition to the headstones and monuments, executed in loose and free brush strokes in a series of grey tones, that were seen at Taidesalonki’s 100th anniversary exhibition,” says Christina Bäcksbacka, who knows the artist’s production thoroughly.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a HAM publication on Viggo Wallensköld’s art. In the publication, Christina Bäcksbacka, PhD, writes about her relationship with the artist and Sini Mononen, PhD, explores the themes and fundamental preoccupations of Wallensköld’s oeuvre. The publication is the third part of the publication series based on the Bäcksbacka collection at HAM Helsinki Art Museum.