In 2019, among others, I curated an exhibition called “Marika Maijala | Maria Herreros” (The artists’ names are presented in order they accepted my invitation to participate the exhibition). It was an individual project, where I continued my work and expanded my scope in the promotion of illustration art and the development of its exhibition practices. In 2019, each post of A-Z Journal focussed on a different element behind the new exhibition and the components of the story were presented in alphabetical order on the blog and on Instagram. There wasn’t any traditional introduction available in the exhibition space, but a list, ‘The A-Z of Curator’, to arouse interest and curiosity. More information could be found here at azjournal.fi if wished.
I am pleased to present “Marika Maijala | Maria Herreros,” a two-person exhibition featuring unique and original paper-based works by esteemed contemporary illustrators. An opening party sponsored by AOC51, will be held Wednesday, November 13th from 5:00-9:00, and the works will be on view through December 14, 2019, at Mattsson & Mattsson in the Katajanokka district of Helsinki.
Marika Maijala’s artworks speak to us with a long-lost language of childhood. Her recent works are all somehow related to the observations the illustrator has personally made in Paris in spring 2019. The presentation will include a collection of her rough drawings and playful wax crayon works, which will be presented alongside Maria Herreros’ dazzling original illustrations from the book Paris Sera Toujours Paris (Màximo Huerta | Maria Herreros, 2018. Published by Lunwerg Editores). The reason to combine these two different worlds is that I feel both aspects, personal and commissioned works, are important to help people (including art directors and other clients) to get a sense of illustrators’ abilities and approach. Accompanied by an oddly touching and honest, experimental video ”Artist en résidence”, influenced by silent movies and French New Wave, the exhibition also tracks Maijala’s development as an illustrator. Rather than locating Maijala’s oeuvre in the historical context of her predecessors, the selection (made in close collaboration with the illustrator herself) aims to explore a similar artistic stance and feeling in work of a Spanish contemporary illustrator, Maria Herreros, thus creating a real ’dialogue’ in which the viewer is warmly invited to participate. Both illustrators share the intentional naivism and enthusiasm about “girly” things, which could easily be seen as antithetical to intellectual depth. Yet, their works are thoughtful and disarming in all their sincerity and passion. In addition to presenting the two talented illustrators, the exhibition is an ode to Paris. It will offer a fascinating point of contact with the city of Paris with it’s tremendous cultural and arts scene full of clichés. One aim is to inspire new insights for everyone; those who have never visited the place and for those who already know the city. There are beloved monuments and countless artists in 1920s Montparnasse presented in the exhibition, but also loneliness in the big city.
The exhibition brings together drawings, books, videos, and ceramic pieces. The aesthetics and presentation of the two hand built ceramic vessels by Hanna Malinen play a small but important role in the totality. The playful one-of-a-kind vases have sculptural element and they don’t actually look like vases at first. There’s certain similarity between the ceramic pieces and Marika Maijala’s works, and the elements of surprise and mystery in them.
The planning of the exhibition has been kindly supported by Frame Contemporary Art Finland, with 2019 Travel Grant for Art Experts for Travelling Abroad.
This exhibition is made possible, in part, by Mattsson & Mattsson, Institut français de Finlande, Etana Editions and Ó! Galeria Lisboa.
The exhibition is curated and organized by Veera Pekkinen.
Marika Maijala (s.1974)
Maria Herreros (s.1983, Valencia)
Installation views photographed by Salla Keskinen.
Cover Image: Marika Maijala, Pont au Change (Detail) Uncommissioned / Paper collage, 2019
Images 2 & 3: Maria Herreros, Illustrations from Paris Sera Toujours Paris / Watercolor and graphite on paper, 2018