Group Hug (2023) 
Jade Kallio Elina Nissinen Aleksi Martikainen Man Yau  
Project Room Gallery 07.01 –22.01.2022

Group Hug is an exhibition featuring works by four artists and friends: Jade Kallio, Elina Nissinen, Aleksi Martikainen, and Man Yau. The Project Room gallery baths in an odd light: a space simultaneously dim like a basement yet bright like a laundromat, glowing into the night streets. Cables linger across the walls and gray floors that reflect the flame of an electric candle, a video projection with a frozen pool on fire, and the sparks of skylight on chairs made of mirrors. Do the hum and the whir sound from within these walls or does it rise from the strange wells, flowing into the space from somewhere below? There is a scent of pine tree and detergent in the air. At the back, in a pitch dark room, four bodies dance on a screen in silence to an asynchronous beat.

Group Hug is a space and situation fragile and washy, streamy and still, present and ghostly. It is an echo from one pandemic evening spent in a common laundry room among new friends reflecting on closeness, distance, privacy, and solitude. The different approaches by the participating artists stretch the themes of the exhibition from friendship and vulnerability to experiences of social insecurities, (gender) identities, relationships as capitalist commodity, and water as the shapeshifting body of emotional matter(s). The stories are conveyed in moving images and soap, cast aluminum, raw timber, ceramics, and in mirror glass.

Description by Elina Nissinen

Photography: Emma Sarpaniemi