Pleasure is a retrospective joint exhibition by Jukka Korkeila (b. 1968), Elina Merenmies (b. 1967) and Anna Retulainen (b. 1969). Showcasing the careers of these powerful artists from the early 1990s to the present, it also includes older paintings, selected by the artists from the collections of HAM and the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation, that explore the dynamic between the tradition of fine art and contemporary art. The show consists of about a hundred works, the latest of them produced specifically for this exhibition.

“Nobody really knows how the creative process works: sometimes it skulks in the shadows, sometimes it walks in the sun and burns the soles of your feet like hot asphalt.” – Jukka Korkeila

Anna Retulainen, Elina Merenmies and Jukka Korkeila © Maija Toivanen / HAM

The title of the exhibition alludes to the pleasure experienced by the artist and the viewer alike when interacting with a canvas. Providing a welcome respite from the ever-present overflow of digital images, the show gives the audience an opportunity to engage unhurriedly with the variety of contemporary painting.

“But how will my caterpillar become a butterfly, and will it become one at all? I can’t answer that: it’s directly linked to creation and remains unexplainable.” – Elina Merenmies

For the three featured artists, painting is a way of being in contact with the world around them, and the works on show contain a great deal of tacit knowledge resulting from such sustained interaction. For Jukka Korkeila, painting is an integral part of the processing of joy, sorrow and the fundamental issues of life. Elina Merenmies bases her pictures on her perception of reality and the emotions it awakens. Painted with traditional techniques, the pictures create a vivid world of their own. Anna Retulainen sees painting as an inseparable part of life. Her pictures are attempts to recreate memories of past events and places she has visited in the past.

“When I paint or draw, my experience becomes reality. Otherwise they are only private memories.” – Anna Retulainen

An eponymous exhibition is on show at Serlachius Museum Gösta in Mänttä which features works selected by the three artists from the collection of the Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation to accompany their own paintings. The exhibition and publication project are produced by Helsinki Art Museum and Serlachius Museums in collaboration.

The exhibition also features a book that sheds light on its themes, published by Parvs Publishing Ltd., and a short documentary by Marianne Zilliacus based on interviews with the artists. The exhibition curator is Mika Hannula.