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Meet Anu Kauhaniemi our SHIFT mentoring artist

What kind of thoughts has the SHIFT mentoring program raised in you concerning your own artistic practice? The process of my painting practise hasn’t changed but I have got more ideas and learned how to present my work and myself as well. I’ve learned that the artist can effect one’s own career by making initiatives and being open for new connections and opportunities.

What concrete benefits/help do you feel you have received from the SHIFT mentoring program so far? When I started in SHIFT mentoring program I had just returned to work after my parental leave and felt solitude at my studio. The SHIFT has been rewarding experience as I’ve had the much needed support and have been able to discuss with Finnish Art Agency´s team, fellow artists and SHIFT´s lecturers. I’ve learned more about the importance of social media and got great advices for writing my own artist statements as well.

What is the most surprising fact you have learned during the mentoring program?
The most awakening fact has been that the artist could and should be a very active operator by her- or himself. The SHIFT has encouraged me to be more active and contact people courageously.

Your exhibition called “Carousel” was on display at G12 Kuopio during the summer 2017. Why are you inspired by old carousels?
My painting practise is very intuitive and it can take a while to turn my ideas into a painting. It´s been two years since I fell in love with old carousels in Paris. The decorativeness, the stable rotating and the music started to fascinate me: there were something magical and timeless about them. In my paintings the carousels might appear as dark and sombre objects. The fairy-talish feeling can seem oppressive as the carousels are rotating yet there are no children on them.

I paint the interiors of the carousels with strong light- and shadow formations: the rhythm of colours creates the painting´s ambiance. At the moment I´m working on large scale works for a new paint serie.

In your paintings you are representing light, shadows and people in urban architectural spaces and usually the viewer is presented as an observer. Why are you interested in people, interiors and the spaces between people?

I am seeing myself as an observer who experiences the world from the outside. The themes of my works have always been very urban. I like to walk through a city, watch and photograph exciting places and locations. The different kind of interiors and inhabitants create stories as well. I have studied architecture, so my interest for spaces is showing in my paintings as well. Architecture can either increase the intimacy or create lightness and spaciousness to a painting. In my paintings people are presented solo or far apart and that detail creates meanings by itself.

All images: Anu Kauhaniemi