Finnish artist questions man's need to create form

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Dogs n' Roses by Maritta Nurmi

Finnish artist Maritta Nurmi will present her new works in a solo exhibition, due to open 6 p.m. at Manzi Art Space in Hanoi on November 1.

The month-long exhibition "Anima" at 14 Phan Huy Ich Street is one of several events organized to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Finland and Vietnam.

Nurmi's work "continually explores the metaphysical and the unknown," says a press release from exhibition organizers Art Vietnam Gallery, Manzi Art Space and the Finnish Embassy.

In her latest works, the exploration delves into the "concrete meaning and essence of form and spirit. "

Trained originally as a biologist, Nurmi uses animal forms in many guises to "question the necessity of man to create form, to suggest a bond between human and nature, and the implications of such a need or desire," the press release says.

While many contemporary artists have "chosen to use animals in their work as the ultimate "˜other', as metaphor, as reflection," Nurmi's works seem to ask whether the apparent human need to have form, boundaries is "a fear of the limitlessness of eternity, a fear of death, a fear of the unknown," according to the release.

Nurmi uses metal leaves extensively in her work "to reflect an otherworldly light, an energy source that emits a kind of limitlessness that rebukes and negates boundaries."

The animal figures in her current work "are formed from pattern, layer upon layer, colliding and combining in a whimsical animated fashion, producing works humorous on one hand and thought provoking on the other."

Dogs n' Roses and Dogs n' Dots are the anchors in this exhibition, the organizers say.

"Unabashedly playful, the colorful patterned surfaces of the dogs with their bright confrontational gaze seem to demand of the viewer a response, a reckoning of this need to conceptualize reality," the release says.

Maritta Nurmi, a visual artist born in Finland in 1953, has been living in Hanoi since 1993.

Her artistic practice includes painting and installation.

Apart from solo exhibitions in Finland, Sweden, Thailand, the US and Vietnam, Nurmi has taken part in over 30 group exhibitions in Finland, Vietnam, Thailand, Macao, France, Germany, Sweden, UK and the US.

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