• Milla Toivanen: Apinan taivas
  • Apinan taivas I, 175x100 cm, öljy kankaalle (kuva: Mikko Erholz)
  • Itsevalaiseva, 126x81 cm, 2016, öljy kankaalle (kuva: Mikko Erholz)
  • Järki ja tunteet, 175x175 cm, 2015, öljy kankaalle (kuva: Mikko Erholz)
  • Laskeva aurinko, 175x100 cm, 2015, öljy kankaalle (kuva: Mikko Erholz)

Milla Toivanen

This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven

Jätkä 2 25.5.-12.6.2016

Milla Toivanen
This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven
25.5. – 12.6.2016
Galleria Huuto Jätkäsaari, Jätkä 2

A little girl stands in her stiff dress with two maids of honor kneeling down by her sides as if the whole world was focused on her. The girl is serious, confused by her own position. A little monkey is sitting on her head.

The key painting of Milla Toivanen’s (b. 1972) This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven exhibition, Sense and Sensibility, shows a lot about our time, yet at the same time it is timeless. It does not comment on anything, it is a reflection. Its role model is obvious, Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656). Milla Toivanen’s works form a natural part of the long tradition of painting. She has previously painted mothers and children inspired by medieval saint statues. Her works, however, have nothing to do with religion, but rather a deeply human experience.

Milla Toivanen is known for her almost meditative painting style characterized by a minimal pallet and thin, translucent layers of paint. Now Toivanen wants to free herself from the limitations of her disciplined method: she has surrendered herself to the themes being led by intuition, trusting her emotions and on the other hand experience. She has also left room for chance. The free and relaxed painting style with lots of color and vivid painted surfaces shows a new side of the skillful painter. There is also a touch of humor in her works, for example in the title pieces This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven 1 and 2.

Even her new works include themes that she has worked on for a long time – thought-provoking and memorable monkey figures as well as children and angels. In Highly Sensitive 1 and 2 the appearance of the big monkeys is touching. Intense focus on one limited theme reveals something hidden about it. In the painting The Hall of the Accused, the subtle white spots of paint create a feeling of a film or glass between us and the chimpanzee. This small effect brings up big questions. It also returns to the question of who is watching who.

Potbellied children and angel figures are a recurring theme in Toivanen’s paintings. In the pair of paintings The Rising Sun and The Setting Sun hopefulness and light are followed by the opposing force, darkness that threatens to cover everything. Hope and despair walk hand in hand, like they often do in Toivanen’s works. In some of the paintings the figures are barely recognizable: the girls, gorillas and angles are simplified into a pure shape and rhythm like in Relic, Cave and Pride and Prejudice. The Wall may be between people, but it is alive. The physicality of the artist’s work, the vividness of oil paint and the movement are still present even in the works hanging in the gallery.

Kirsikka Saari, Screenwriter

Milla Toivanen, milla.toivanen@gmail.com, 041-45 944 28