In the Dear Believer exhibition we step straight into everyday situations, events and stories from Niina Lehtonen Braun’s life. Her collages and drawings are observant, analytical text-and-image studies with the human individual at their centre. She leaves her home and goes out into the surrounding district, the city, and into nature. Family-album photographs, pictures and clippings from daily papers and printed media provide the viewer with a familiar setting. Her subtle observations open up and reveal the people in the pictures. At times, it feels very much like stepping inside people’s heads and sharing everything they feel and do. As a whole this is an absurd, yet highly acute image of the human individual as a living being. We are here, we don’t know why, we simply cope and keep going. And there is something off-kilter and endearing about the somewhat helpless situation that is life itself.
Lehtonen Braun’s own life is also at the very core of what she creates. She gets her inspiration from her relationships with friends, relatives and neighbours, music and poems, as well as from events she has seen or experienced herself. For her, art is a way of communicating with people. Despite the fact that the pictures can have a dark undertone, her works are imbued with a positive presence and warmth. She deals with subjects that affect her entire emotional register and everything that is a part of life.
Amid the superabundance of information and stimulation in the urban milieu we can easily miss the finer details and the narratives that it contains. Through her pictures Niina Lehtonen Braun succeeds in creating a space where we stop and listen to the disparate voices that together generate the clatter and din that surround us every day.
Niina Lehtonen Braun, 1975, has lived and worked in Berlin since 2000, the year she graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. She has had several solo exhibitions, and contributed to numerous curated exhibitions around Germany and internationally. Along with Mirka Raito and Tellervo Kalleinen she is one of the active, founding members of the JOKAklubi performance group, and has contributed to several film festivals and screenings in Europe. Her most recent solo exhibition in Helsinki was in 2010. Until August 31 she is also showing in the exhibition Berlin. The Historical Layers of Paintings at the Gallen-Kallela Museum in Espoo.
The exhibition has been made possible with support from:
Alfred Kordelin Foundation
Arts Promotion Centre Finland