Stig Baumgartner: Assemblies - works on paper
Galerie Forsblom, 11.2.-6.3.2022

Stig Baumgartner's (b. 1969) new exhibition presents works on paper from the past year. The show takes an in-depth look at Baumgartner's process, revealing how his motifs gradually evolve and find new permutations from one work to the next, and how his ideas gradually progress from paper to oil paintings.

The title, Assemblies, refers to the structural elements that underpin both individual pieces and larger series of works, gradually coming together like system-built constructions. The artist describes his new paintings as portraits of space. The series was inspired by his contemplations on the relationship between composition, space, and figure, with some images being reminiscent of architectural floor plans. The new series forms a sequel to his recent work exploring the relationship between geometrically ordered composition and freer brushwork.

When Baumgartner begins painting, he never knows exactly how the finished piece will look. The result is always a surprise, even to the artist. Some of these surprises end up in the trash, while successful ones are kept. The surprise is usually the mood or personality of the finished painting. The surprising thematic element might also be the relationship that emerges between the figure and the ground. As the painting unfolds, Baumgartner might find that an abstract spatial composition slowly begins to resemble a figurative image or a form that he never knew to exist. The theme of spatiality is also echoed in the installation-like hang, which reprises the pictorial theme of the paintings in the larger, physical space occupied by the viewer.

Baumgartner's oeuvre consists mainly of paintings, drawings, and installations. Alongside his artistic practice, he also lectures in drawing and perception at Helsinki's Academy of Fine Arts. He completed a Ph.D. in Fine Arts in 2015. Also known for his many public projects, his most recent public sculpture was unveiled on the campus of Turku University in summer 2020. His work is represented in major Finnish collections including the Saastamoinen Foundation and Helsinki's Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma.