Rauha Mäkilä: Momo


Helsinki-based artist Rauha Mäkilä (b. 1980) explores her own life through art. The paintings are candid yet magical snapshots of everyday life, family and the artist’s close circle of friends. They convey an intimate feeling between the artist and her themes – a lived life and its many flavours, conflicting emotions and intertwining phases. Most of Mäkilä’s paintings depict people: the close-up portraits and milieu portraits record fleeting glimpses of transitory moments.

Recurring themes in Mäkilä’s paintings are the artist’s identity and the art world. She shows herself and women artists (such as Tamara de Lempicka) at work, creating images. The characters in the paintings are active subjects. The works are suffused by emancipatory power – images we still do not have enough of.

The subjects or situations in the works are like moments captured by a camera or memory, which are then lovingly and lingeringly painted in the studio. Contemporary music and popular culture are used as a background mood and a source of inspiration. Art, art museums and the art world are present as a spatial framework, an essential aspect of life. Likewise, cats – our companions – also receive the significance they deserve by being the subject of a painting.

Mäkilä’s palette is refreshingly bright and her compositions self-assured. Mäkilä mainly uses rich acrylic paints but occasionally also earthier oil colours. The colour surfaces in her paintings are a combination of boldly painted flat colour fields, thick contours that define spatial volumes, drips, and brushstrokes. The main subject of the canvases, usually a person, is painted more delicately, and the details contain more translucent textures.

The second-floor gallery at Ars Nova presents a broad selection of the artist’s oeuvre. Paintings on display are from 2013–2023. The show at Aboa Vetus Ars Nova is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the museum. Mäkilä graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2007. She has held many solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions in Finland and internationally.

The exhibition is supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Anni and S. Pajarinen Fund), the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, and the Finnish Heritage Agency. We would like to thank the lenders of the artworks and the Helsinki Contemporary gallery for their cooperation.


More information

Niina Tanskanen

040 585 4499