The gallery has a new, large, gallery space in central Helsinki that was designed by New York architects, Gluckman Mayner Architects. They hold ten exhibits a year showing major contemporary artists but also emerging artists.
Kaj Forsblom is the founder and director of the gallery and has been working in the art world since the late 1970s. He works with is son, director Frej Forsblom.
One of the “mysterious” parts, to the new art fan, of how galleries work is how they choose the artists they show or represent. It isn’t a mystery when an acknowledged and successful artist is shown but what about a new or emerging artist. How do they catch the attention of a gallery?
“My attention is caught when the work is original and captivating. The art has to be somehow either irritating or very pleasing. Something you want to see more of, something that touches you.” says Kaj Forsblom.
Forsblom says that noticing an artist—irritating or pleasant—is inspiration to see more work, not necessarily leading to certain representation. He wants to familiarize himself with the artist’s process.
“I also want to see where the work is coming from and where it is going. This can take time. Also we discuss artists in the gallery and we have to all be ready to stand behind the artist and his or her work before we take them on,” he says. “We might include the work of some young interesting artist in a group show to get a feel for how their work fits in our space and what it feels like to live with for a period of time.”
“We had seen pieces by Stefan off and on and then saw a big retrospective of his work at the Kueppersmuehle Museum in Duisburg, Germany,” says Forsblom.
Forsblom visited Balkenhol’s studio and wound up booking the artist’s first exhibition in Helsinki. Subsequently they have exhibited Balkenhol’s work regularly.
Why does Balkenhol’s work stand out?
“Stefan's work is incredibly human and touching and speaks about ordinary people. The work is superb bringing out the warmth of his material - wood of different kinds while leaving a magnificent rough texture. Balkenhol is a great draughtsman and that comes through in his works.” says Forsblom.
Balkenhol is, of course, not the only artist being shown by Galerie Forsblom. Others include: Jason Martin, Bernar Venet, Joel Shapiro, Chantal Joffe, and Tony Oursler.
“And two interesting young artists, Secundino Hernandez and Adam Saks. We also have two great Finnish artists HC Berg and Jarmo Mäkilä.” says Forsblom.
Anyone who regularly reads Mapanare.us will recall a few pieces on Hernandez and Oursler.
“Our team at Expo Chicago includes my son Frej Forsblom, who directs the gallery with me. Karl Heinz Horbert, our German associate director as well as Exhibition Coordinator Kiira Miesmaa.” says Forsblom.
If you are visiting Expo Chicago (September 20-23, 2013) be sure to stop by stand 317 and visit Galerie Forsblom.