Ora-Ora is pleased to present a new solo show by Finnish artist Juri Markkula, to take place in its Tai Kwun gallery in Hong Kong from 28 September to 29 October 2023. The exhibition is titled: Heavens.
The artist will be presenting new works from his Heaven series, wall-mounted sculptures of industrial heft, and overwhelming, ethereal beauty. Each sculpture is titled with a colour. Yet each defies colour categorization, and is illuminated and guided by experience and instinct.
The artist derives inspiration from the Swedish concept of himmel and the Finnish equivalent taivas. Each word holds a dual meaning, referring both to the paradise of an eternal afterlife, as well as the atmosphere and skies above us. This series therefore incarnates a physical and a spiritual realm.
Speaking of Juri Markkula’s new solo show, CEO and co-founder of Ora-Ora Dr. Henrietta Tsui-Leung said: “Juri’s artworks are captivating to the widest audience imaginable. He creates alchemy as much as he creates art. His sculptures have an almost magnetic quality, which first seizes and then takes a firm hold of our imagination.”
The artist creates each unique piece at his studio in Gotland, Sweden, a process which is at the nexus of the industrial and the chemical. However, the results are as much spiritual as physical. The Heaven series turns our gaze upwards to the skies. Luminous, of iridescent hue, Heaven simultaneously absorbs and reflects. It both mirrors and exceeds reality, forming contrasts and alliances of tone and shade which react with guided spontaneity to the co-existing forces of light, mood and perception. Like a diamond, the Heaven series offers carats and facets – surfaces which rise to meet the eye and the soul separately and with intensity.
Juri Markkula is a consistent visitor favourite at Ora-Ora’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, in which he has taken part for several years running. Having unveiled his Heaven series in 2022, his new show, Heavens, presents an innovation in the series. For the first time, the artist creates incisions in his work which serve to reveal the reality beneath the shimmering patina. The visitor is invited to look beyond, to look deep within, and to perceive the industrial innards beneath the impenetrably perfect surface. In so doing, the visitor enters into a new relationship with the artist, with sculpture and with themselves. The impression of solidity is undermined and replaced with a deeper, more substantial and more fulfilling exploration of the series. In so doing, the tension between reality and truth comes to the fore.
In his native Sweden, Juri Markkula plans and executes projects at a large scale, across train stations, museums and outdoor and indoor surfaces. The control of his materials, the planning of resources, the sensitivity to subtle changes of angle, grain and chemical compound require an absolute mastery over the tools at his disposal. In Heavens, for the first time, the artist changes the paradigm. He brings us into his world, beckoning us in as co-conspirators.
The essence of the Heaven series remains. Each artwork could be photographed from multiple angles and be documented again with subtly different results.
Each of the Heaven series has its own personality. Personality traits and myriad external factors collide on surfaces to produce sheens, reflections and shimmering spectacles which are eternally varying, part reality and part mirage. They are as the skies themselves, sucking in attention, continually surprising, unpredictable, mesmerising.
To be in the company of the Heaven series is to begin and set forth on a journey. The pathway is one of variety, of conflicts and complements, a winding channel of the material and immaterial. Heaven is the fulcrum of faith and science: industrial matter as the forged link from the human to the divine. The complementary colours are themselves the rhyming harmonies of a life that we seek and only periodically find. Happy harmonies are pinpricks of light and jubilation, elusive and unpredictable. The Heaven series is the quest to capture that harmony.