Thursday, 19 June 2014

Gothic Art in Spotlight: sculptor Heli Ryhänen

I know I said I'd present a gloomy artist next time and this might not be that gloomy but I wanted to show you a Finnish artist called Heli Ryhänen because I recently stumbled to a website of an art gallery and was disappointed to notice that her exhibition had ended only few weeks ago. I started to google Ryhänen and found out she has marvelous public works, which might not be that gothic but are a bit disturbing, really funny and witty. The links are to the artists homepage which is in English too.

Ryhänen uses many materials to make her sculptors, including light, which I think is often overlooked. I love it when the artist has completed the statue, installation etc. with light and at the same time with shadows, that make the atmosphere different and sometimes alienated of the rest of the exhibition room.


What I like about this installation is the atmosphere, which is instantly transformed with the name of the work; "Evil Shepherd". Something maleficent is lurking in the face of the big person on the camp fire. I love how the faces of these creatures are so detailed but the feet are turning into almost sketches. They are not as finished and I think that makes the installation even creepier, as if the Evil Shepherd is luring others to dissolve their humanity and their feet are already gone.

Ryhänen uses fabric as a material for the sculptures, which distinguishes her from many other artists. She was recently nominated as the Artist of the Year at the he exhibition I missed. That exhibition was called 'Species of People' and I sure would have loved to see this beauty in real life:


The name of this work is 'Reviiri' which means territory or personal space. In Finnish this word usually refers to animals and their territories and living areas but it is used of humans too. It highlights that delightful idea of a contrast between human and animal, since this flying creature is something between those two. I love how her legs are cute and puffy but her face is Yoda-like old and slightly mean-looking or just sour.

Thanks for reading and once again, back in two weeks with another Gothic Art in Spotlight!


  1. Very intersting art indeed! As a seamstress I can value the use of fabric, even if I would not have thought that the sitting people in the first picture were made of fabric!

    1. I too did not realize they were fabric until I read the description of materials. The artist uses an industrial sewing machine she got as a donation.

  2. Fascinating, I love when artists use other materials! Using fabric is awesome!