Juha Rouhikoski: Why did I choose the work?

I didn’t basically choose the work but the artist, Katariina Souri, who in recent years has become an interesting artist in the field of visual arts. An artist whose shoulders bear the weight of the past, whose works are loved by many, but which are rarely shown by art institutions. 

The time seemed ripe to invite her to take on a project where she could use her painting technique and rich use of colour to create a large-scale projection work for a light art event. This is the first time that still projection of this scale with analogue projectors will be carried out in Finland.

The artist’s theme was a combination of art and science, which is the main theme of the Lux Helsinki 2024 event. The theme initially took the artist’s associations with nature and alchemy. 

Rich and colourful paintings depicting the relationship between man and nature began to emerge. The impact was familiar to Souri, although she had to change her painting style, thinking that she would not make oil paintings, but blank canvasses from which the final work would be formed with the help of light.

As a curator, I didn’t like the themes of all the works, but it was a bigger whole that shouldn’t be judged by individual images. The characters in the works were not intended to be compared or equated with each other. They were mental landscapes of the artist, images that make up the work as a whole and the world created by the artist.

The characters in the imagery, which reference indigenous people, brought tension to the whole, and this was discussed with a curator colleague. My own mistake in the curation process was that at that point in the project I did not see the need to ask for the help of an expert on minorities. I regret and apologise for this mistake.

If an image seems in the slightest to touch on sensitive issues, it will in all likelihood do so.

At the same time, however, we must remember that it is impossible to create art that won’t ultimately offend anyone. Intentional and conscious insults are different things, and as far as I’m aware, the artist Souri has not intended to offend with her work.

There has clearly been a great need to discuss this subject and I hope this has been informative for everyone. I would like to think that the ensuing discussion will help all parties to understand at least a little each other’s views and positions and help us to find an amicable way to live and experience art and the world together.

With respect to everyone,
Juha Rouhikoski
Artistic Director
Lux Helsinki