Essi Kuokkanen

Essi Kuokkanen

Essi Kuokkanen’s paintings speak of sensitivity, introspection and sympathy. They give form to unspoken yet vivid thoughts and feelings that hover on the borderline of sleep. Beneath the sometimes humorous surface lies solemnity and depth. Everything is connected, boundaries between species become fluid, the inanimate becomes alive and living creatures break apart. Kuokkanen is interested in the physicality of emotion – how events in the mind create a physical reaction in the body. The figures in her paintings and drawings are like reservoirs filled with feeling, occasionally spilling, oozing or overflowing uncontrollably. Hands sweat, eyes water and shame has a slimy feel to it.

Determined, mischievous and sensitive, Kuokkanen’s shrewd brush investigates and illustrates the contradictions, hypocrisies and distortions of our world. Instead of cynicism or condemnation, there is compassion and gentleness in Kuokkanen’s gaze. The actions of the figures in her works often stem from good intentions, ultimately (and perhaps accidentally) causing chaos

Essi Kuokkanen lives and works in Helsinki. Kuokkanen has shown her work in several solo and group exhibitions. Kuokkanen has work in numerous major collections, including those of the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, the Finnish State Art Commission, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Saastamoinen Foundation, as well as in many private collections in Finland and the Nordic countries. In 2019 Kuokkanen received the Finnish Art Society’s Ducat Prize.





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Featured artwork

Big DumDumEssi Kuokkanen, Big DumDum, oil on canvas, 179 cm x 116 cm ,2021. Photo: Eetu Huhtala.

Stick CollectorsEssi Kuokkanen, Stick Collectors, oil on canvas, 200 cm x 140 cm ,2021. Photo: Eetu Huhtala.

Flower WagonEssi Kuokkanen, Flower Wagon, oil on canvas, 100 cm x 116 cm ,2022. Photo: Jussi Tiainen.

For You I Will Give My EverythingEssi Kuokkanen, For You I Will Give My Everything, oil on canvas, 168 cm x 140 cm ,2022. Photo: Eetu Huhtala.

Going Through ChangesEssi Kuokkanen, Going Through Changes, oil on canvas, 135 cm x 99 cm ,2022. Photo: Eetu Huhtala.

Swirl of InsecuritiesEssi Kuokkanen, Swirl of Insecurities, oil on canvas, 81 cm x 81 cm ,2022. Photo: Eetu Huhtala.

ShitheadEssi Kuokkanen, Shithead, oil on canvas, 63 cm x 53 cm ,2022. Photo: Eetu Huhtala.

Shapeshifter DreamingEssi Kuokkanen, Shapeshifter Dreaming, Installation view, Galerie Anhava, 2022. Photo: Jussi Tiainen.

Shapeshifter DreamingEssi Kuokkanen, Shapeshifter Dreaming, Installation view, Galerie Anhava, 2022. Photo: Jussi Tiainen.

Curriculum Vitae

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