Raili Tang (b. 1950) has conjured forth an exhibition themed around the emotion of joy. The works in this show were painted last spring and summer as a conscious antidote to the fear and uncertainty that swept the world. Tang escaped the never- ending deluge of bad news by retreating to her studio and spreading joy and warmth on the canvas.
Tang wanted to liberate herself from all restrictions by surrendering herself to the pleasure of painting. She painted her latest works out of the pure joy of painting, and she wanted her exultation to be reflected in their rich, exuberant palette. Even for an artist already known as a brilliant colorist, this new ensemble of works revels in colors of unprecedented intensity, with glowing yellows dancing alongside myriad shades of red and green. Her new paintings are a celebration of color as well as physicality, another striking and typical feature of her work. For Tang, painting has always been a process in which she vigorously engages her whole body.
Tang’s new exhibition exudes an insistent sense of liberation that verges upon outright anarchism. Her style has grown more abstract, her typical round shapes having lost their well-defined outlines and melted into figures with an anthropomorphic presence, the compositions being reminiscent of people embracing and touching each other. Closeness and touch are basic human needs, and their importance is something we barely even notice until we are deprived of them – as we have all recently experienced collectively. Tang declares a message of love and peace with paintings that are more colorful and expressive than ever seen before from this artist.
Tang has exhibited widely both in Finland and internationally. Her work is found in leading Finnish museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Helsinki Art Museum HAM. Tang is the 2015 winner of the Pro Finlandia medal.