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27 Apr 2012

Kunsthalle Taidehalli Helsinki: Pirjetta Brander: Les Fleurs du mal

Pirjetta Brander, Les Fleurs du Mal, 2012.
Installation, mixed media: stained glass, lights, programming, 250 x 300 x 400 cm.
Photo: Harri Larjosto.

Pirjetta Brander: Les Fleurs du mal
Kunsthalle Taidehalli Helsinki


Vernissage 27 April 2012 at 6 pm.
Open to public from 28 April until 3 June 2012.
Open Tue, Thu, Fri 11am–6pm, Wed 11am–8pm, Sat-Sun 11am–5pm.

Sanna Kangasluoma
+358 404514772

Nervanderinkatu 3
00100 Helsinki

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Watercolours and animations, an entire village, a greenhouse and other installations.

Evil is present in the work of Pirjetta Brander in a million guises, sometimes colourful and inviting, sometimes repulsive and oppressive.

Kunsthalle Helsinki presents an impressive exhibition of work by Pirjetta Brander, including installations, animations and watercolours from the past nine years. Most of the works are new or produced and hitherto exhibited only abroad.

The mainstay of the exhibition comprises four large installations, the first of which, Panic Room, is now presented in the same gallery in the Kunsthalle where it was seen in 2003. The sculpture gallery hosts Village, a work completed in France in 2008 and inspired by The Adversary, a novel by Emmanuel Carrère, along with Giant from 2010. The large new piece Les Fleurs du Mal (2012) is an installation in the shape of a stained glass greenhouse. The show also includes five 'living pictures' or animations as well as several large watercolours.

The festive mood in Pirjetta Brander's works can turn suddenly into terrifying uncertainty. The dark side of life, emotional turmoil, anxiety, cruelty and horror are all present in her work in a very matter-of-fact way. Yet, strangely, the abundance of pictures and colours can just as well seem to express joy, life, recklessness and beauty. The combination of gloomy and oppressive themes with a humoristically childish and cartoonish style creates a tension that is typical to Brander's work.

The plant and animal metaphors in Brander's latest works present a less turbulent vision of the world. Yet they, too, present nature as simultaneously enticing and dangerous. The animation Aquarium (2011) is based on 18th-century scientific drawings made for the Natural History Museum in London. The protagonists of Flora (2012) are exotic plants painted by the artist in Oaxaca, Mexico. The works can also be seen as ironic juxtapositions of plants and animals with human life – a balancing act between revulsion and pleasure.

The exhibition has received support from ProAV Saarikko and Lönnberg Print & Promo.

SEE ALSO The Aquarium video:


Opening night on 27 April at 18.00, performance by burlesque star Bettie Blackheart

Artist talk on Sunday, 29 April, at 15.00

Family and workshop day, Saturday, 12 May, from 13.00 to 16.00

Max meets UMO concert on Saturday, 19 May, at 15.00

Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School drawing night on Friday, 25 May, at 18.00

Special guided performance of the show by Leila Halkeama on Saturday, 26 May, at 15.00

During the exhibition period Kunsthalle Kiosque presents a range of merchandise related to the themes of Brander's work, including a Lintu (Bird) colouring book for children, tableware, pillows, balloons, books, DVDs and postcards. The exhibition catalogue, with essays by Valérie Labayle and Harri Mäcklin, is available as an e-book at

Pirjetta Brander (b. 1970) is a visual artist who lives and works in Helsinki. Brander has studied art in Stockholm at the Konstskolan Basis 1990–1991, at the Department of Art at Tampere Polytechnic 1991–1994, and at the Tampere School of Art and Media 1998–2001. Her debut exhibition was at the Mältinranta Art Centre in Tampere in 1995.

Brander has presented her work in dozens of solo and group exhibitions, film festivals and other art events in Finland and abroad.

Brander also designs stage sets and costumes. She was invited to serve in 2012 as chief editor of the ½ magazine published by the Rajataide Association in Tampere.