Ola Kolehmainen at the Senda Gallery in Barcelona

The renowned Gallery Senda de Barcelona presents “Sketches of Spain”, the third solo exhibition by the Finnish artist Ola Kolehmainen, who uses architecture as a starting point and inspiration to create abstract compositions influenced by minimalism in large format photographs.

The exhibition is part of a project developed by the gallery that seeks to place the city of Barcelona and Spain in an international setting, showing how each photographer records the local architecture. “Sketches of Spain” brings together a selection of images that Kolehmainen captured during 10 years of constant visits to the country and reflects not only the artist’s particular vision of works by architects like Ricardo Bofill, Mies Van Der Rohe or Emilio Ambasz; but also how artists and architects influence each other.

For the artist, Mies Van Der Rohe was fundamental from the beginning of his career, and his Pavilion for the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona in 1929 is a constant source of inspiration that led him to develop a new way of thinking and presenting his work. The series “Arquetypes” is the result of a particular look at the building, this time on a smaller scale compared to the usual sizes of his works. The photographs, almost in miniature, reflect a different Pavilion, where the small details predominate, surprising to see the beauty in something that perhaps passed us unnoticed. It also plays with reflections from the mirror of water and light, inviting the viewer to abstract and experiment.

The piece “House of Spiritual Retreat” is based on the concept house of the Argentine architect and industrial designer Emilio Ambasz, designed in 1975 and built to the north of the city of Seville. In the photography, Kolehmainen manages to capture the influence of Arab architecture and the fundamental styles of the East found inside the building. The buildings

of Ricardo Bofill as the Walden 7 and the Red Wall are also protagonists of the work of Kolehmainen. In “Walden 7” and “Red Staircase 2”, respectively, the artist manages to capture an entire world in specific areas of the building, playing with lights, shadows and repetition for a harmonica and geometric aesthetic.

The photographs of Kolehmainen are the result of an exhaustive study of the light and the plans and of an incessant exploitation of the light, both natural and artificial, already present in the building. It is about knowing the construction and the relationship that arises between its lights, shadows and reflections, to create images where the abstraction releases the building. The artist uses architecture as the raw material of his purely abstract work to soon transform it.

Sketches of Spain
Running until March 18.
Senda Gallery, Calle Trafalgar, 32. Barcelona, Spain.

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