Elverket Tue 11–17, Wed 11–20, Thu–Sun 11–17 | Sinne Tue–Sun 12–17

Timo Viialainen: Seakey (and then I picked up my…)

In his Seakey (and then I picked up my…) exhibition Timo Viialainen works with energy and the power of attraction. The exhibition consists of four sculptural works in which he makes use of metal, electromagnetism, sound, and movement, creating a hypnotic interplay that attracts and captures the viewer’s attention.

Viialainen’s artistic work is conceptual and strongly rooted in the performative. He seeks out tools and methods that can serve as a base for creating unmediated encounters and experiences. He is interested in the realm that lies beyond the definitions and meanings that dictate our experience of reality. As a result, sound and its affective properties have become key elements in his art. Sound has the ability to penetrate and reach into the listener’s emotional register unimpeded. Besides, sound can have a stimulating effect and take us over the threshold into a more trance-like, open, meditative state, where ego, self-image and reflection are silenced. Movement and sound can thus become a key that unlocks new, wordless experiences and impressions.

Viialainen’s working process often begins with a found object or artifact, which then sets off ideas and a chain of events. The works in Seakey (and then I picked up my…) are all linked to the sea in some way. They include components found on beaches in Norway and Finland. Some of these articles have been in his possession for several years before becoming active parts of artworks. The sculptures here are predominantly made of metal, but closer inspection reveals smaller elements in other materials, such as stone, sea salt, baking soda, lithium carbonate, and ocean plastic. Lithium carbonate may not be the exhibition’s most high-profile material, but it has had a crucial conceptual function in the working process. A large part of the exhibition is built around ideas about this alkaline element. Lithium has properties that are employed in the battery industry, which make a lot of today’s wireless-technology-based experience culture possible. When working on Seakey, Viialainen has also put the focus on colours and their formation by using various patination processes. The colours reinforce the sculptural quality of his sculptures and tie form, movement and sound together.

The oscillating motion of an energy wave serves as the protagonist of the exhibition, taking on different guises in different works, materials and frequencies. In the large kinetic piece, Pendulum, this takes the visible form of slow, hypnotic pendulum swings. Being electromagnetically powered, the motion is silent. Viialainen stresses that silence is equally important for everything else in the exhibition. When the concave mirror on the pendulum rhythmically returns with its distorted reflection, its silence becomes palpably unreal and magical. In Seagrinder, the frequency of the motion is made visible via standing waves in sea salt, but also audible in the vibrations of the metal and the leaping dance of the stones. Viialainen’s working process has interfaces with learning and knowledge, not to mention our ceaseless attempts to reshape nature and the planet according to our own needs and dreams. But he goes on to delve deeper below the surface, making contact with the inanimate world, in a more timeless dimension, where the laws of nature prevail and all questions cease.

Markus Åström

Timo Viialainen

Timo Viialainen (b. 1981) lives and works in Helsinki. He graduated with an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 2021. Viialainen has also studied music technology at the Sibelius Academy’s Open University, and theatre at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Seakey (and then I picked up my…) is his third solo exhibition, the previous two being at Oksasenkatu 11 and Project Room. He has participated in collective exhibitions at Galerie Anhava, Vantaa Art Museum Artsi, Third Space Gallery, to name a few. He has a long catalogue of performances and sound art performances, most of them internationally, including, at: Atelier NŌUA (Bodø, Norway); New Performance Turku Biennale (Turku, Finland); International Art Festival INTERAKCJE (Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland); Performance Festival Malamut (Ostrava Czech Republic); Festival Internacional de Performance, Espacio Mutante (Guanajuato, Mexico); Palestine Performance Symposium, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre (Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine); Sofia Underground – International Performance Art Festival (Sofia, Bulgaria); and Asiatopia Performance Art Festival (Bangkok, Thailand). Viialainen’s works are in the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation and Kiasma collections.


The exhibition has been supported by: 
Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Uudenmaan rahasto), Finnish Cultural Foundation

The artist would like to thank:
HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme, Air Kjerringoy, Galleria Huuto, Seppo Muukka, Teräskolmio, Saimaan Käyttöteräs, Nokone Oy, Ali Yikin Glass Art Studio, Aleksi Martikainen, Tatu Laurila, Adéla Konečná, Gregoire Rousseau

Current exhibitions

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Tue 11–17
Wed 11–20
Thu–Sun 11–17
Mon closed


Opening hours
Tue–Sun 12–17
Mon closed