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The 2020 Maire Gullichsen Prize has been awarded to Pekka Sassi, an artist known for his wide-ranging, experimental work with video art and installations. The prize is worth 7 000 euros.

Pekka Sassi (b. 1969) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 2000. “Sassi is a versatile artist, who has been making art in an avant-garde spirit for twenty years. Experimental moving images and sound form the core of his art. Sassi has an ability to condense his observations into unadorned fragments that contain multifaceted layers which hint at different meanings and times,” the Maire Gullichsen Prize Committee says in its statement.

In recent years, Sassi´s video installations have concentrated on the dialogue between colour, light and sound. The starting point has been the meticulous shapes of constructivist art, and these monochrome surfaces have since created room for an increasingly abstract expression and for an intuitively variable use of colour.

“The outlines of the shimmeringly hazy colour surfaces elude precision, with barely perceptible transitions slowly following one after another, becoming a dreamlike fog of colour. The light fuses with the colour and creates a visual poetry that defies definition, together with the ethereal quality of the soundscape. Especially in his latest video installation at Galleria Heino in Helsinki during spring 2020, Sassi succeeded in creating a magical weave full of the enchantment of light, colour and sound,” is how the Prize Committee describes Pekka Sassi’s art that touches us in a comprehensive, multisensory manner. This artwork, Moving Colours, will also be shown at the Porvoo Triennial in June-August 2021.

Pekka Sassi’s works have been shown at several museums and galleries, and on festival programmes in Finland and abroad. One of several prizes he has received was for Best Film at the 2010 European Media Art Festival in Germany. Sassi’s video works and installations are in the collections of the Finnish State Art Deposit Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, and Helsinki Art Museum.

Links to Pekka Sassi’s works:
Artist Statement (2017)
Galleria Heino
Video clips (including Moving Colours)

Maire Gullichsen’s 80th Anniversary Fund
 was founded in 1988, to commemorate the 80th birthday of Maire Gullichsen (1907-1990), the prominent patron of the arts, and is administered by the Alvar Aalto Foundation. In 2020 it was decided to postpone the award of the Prize for a year due to the pandemic. The members of the Maire Gullichsen Prize Committee in 2020 were: Alvar Gullichsen (Chair), Johanna Gullichsen, Kirsi Gullichsen, Leena Kuumola, Silja Rantanen and Tommi Lindh (secretary).

Further information:
Chair of Prize Committee Alvar Gullichsen
Tel. +358 400 605 650

CEO, Alvar Aalto Foundation Tommi Lindh
Tel. +358 44 562 1625

Artist Pekka Sassi
Tel. +358 44 258 0892

Press photos:
Alvar Aalto Foundation
Communications Manager Mirkka Vidgrén


Pekka Sassi. Photo Elena Näsänen.



Photos of the artworks:

Still Colours 2
120 x 120 cm

Still Colours 5
120 x 120 cm

Still Colours 6
120 x 120 cm