Same spells and haunted ponds
22 March - 19 May 2024

Joel Slotte‘s work consists primarily of figurative and detailed oil paintings. They combine traditional painting techniques, the traditions of portraiture, and the shared imagery that surrounds us, which draws upon art history, plant and animal symbolism, band shirts, and tattoos.

The motifs are based on shared experiences and conversations with friends, such as sitting around the campfire on a cliff on a cool summer’s night discussing tough questions, nectarine juice running down the arm on the subway heading to a death metal festival, eating greasy falafel at the gates of the cemetery after the art fair’s VIP dinner, breaking into one’s own storage when the keys have gone missing, or a sudden insight in the middle of a swim among water lilies. Slotte frames the images sifted from these experiences into portraits, where the characters are often contradictory and complex.

The ambiguous characters in the paintings may be immersed in their own thoughts and dreams or in the midst of realisation. They may seek refuge in gloomy medieval fantasy worlds, because everyday reality seems much more nightmarish at that moment. The ambiguity is also an invitation for us to experience reality through their eyes for a while.

Joel Slotte (b. 1987, Kokkola) is a visual artist based in Helsinki. He is known for his paintings, which have surrealist influences and draw heavily on art history, mythologies, and subcultures. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2016. Slotte was selected as the Young Artist of the Year 2021 and his works are included in collections at Kiasma, Turku Art Museum, Helsinki Art Museum, and Tampere Art Museum.

The artist’s work has been supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, the Héléne and Walter Grönqvist Foundation, and the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The exhibition is supported by the Finnish Heritage Agency.